From Magnus Eze, Enugu

President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has said the Alaigbo Stabilisation Fund which has been abandoned for over two years would be revisited by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in its meeting next week.

Chief Iwuanyanwu, who disclosed this during the state of Igbo nation interview he granted on zoom, also said the Sam Ohuabunwa-led Ohanaeze Ndigbo Council of Business Leaders would mobilise businessmen and women of Igbo origin across the world to join in the development of the region. He said Igbo traders across the country would be mainstreamed into the activities of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Several contributors at the President General’s conversation with the Igbo at home and in the Diaspora, harped on the need to build critical infrastructure and provide security in the region. They insisted that the Aku Ruo Ulo (Think-home) philosophy being promoted by Ohanaeze and other Igbo groups, would not be fruitful unless there was a stabilisation fund for infrastructure development.  

“The NEC of Ohanaeze will meet next week, and I am going to call for the document on Igbo Stabilisation Fund. This issue has been discussed today, and I am going to fast-track it. I know as a businessman that I have some issues, especially with the ownership and all that, and I have asked questions, but this time around, we must do something,” Iwuanyanwu assured.

The Igbo had floated a stabilisation fund to boost infrastructural development in their region.

A steering committee was set up by the South East Governors’ Forum and Ohanaeze Ndigbo in July 2020, to chart a new course for the socio-economic development of Igbo land.  

Consequently, two special purpose vehicles, Alaigbo Investment Company (AIC), and Ndigbo Development Foundation (NDF), were incorporated.

A statement by the Chairman, Alaigbo Stabilisation Fund-Technical Implementation Committee, Professor Osita Ogbu, and Secretary, Nnanna Ude, on February 22, 2022, disclosed that the Committee was poised to raise an initial N5 billion. They said N3.5 billion would be for the AIC and N1.5 billion for the NDF.

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According to the committee, the body of eminent Igbo sons and daughters in business, academia, arts, and leading Igbo organisations from different disciplines, at home and in the Diaspora, through its interventions, will address the dearth of infrastructure, especially regional, physical, and social infrastructure, including rail, ports, energy, roads, technology, world class health and educational institutions.

They said the absence of competitive productive activities, youth unemployment, insecurity, degradation of the environment, culture and values, would be of priority to them.

Therefore, they have sent a clarion call to all Igbo to rise and invest in the Fund, at least, to show that they care for their homeland.  

According to them, “Inequality, and actions without common purpose are ravaging the land, undermining mutuality, solidarity, security, cohesiveness, and innovation that once made the Igbo heartland one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

“A proud, hardworking, and confident people were left despondent, dependent on the state, in perpetual cry of marginalisation and exclusion with very restive youths in tow.

ASF’s task was to create platforms or vehicles, rooted in our culture and values, for addressing these challenges, tapping into the entrepreneurial and philanthropic spirits of Ndigbo built on excellence, meritocracy, common history, and humanity, Igwe bu Ike, Onye Aghana Nwanne Ya, Ako na Uche, Igbambo, Aku Ruo Uno and Oganiru.  The first vehicle, Alaigbo Investment Company (AIC), a not-for-profit organisation, will focus on the land to restore the competitiveness of our land by building and operating world class infrastructure and investing in key employment generating industries and sectors, taking intelligent risks.

“The second vehicle, Ndigbo Development Foundation (NDF), a not-for-profit institution, will focus on the people, restoring the dignity of our people through social reconstruction, programmes and projects that eradicate poverty, improve the educational standards of our youth and that of the future generation, improving health, wellbeing and longevity, as well as addressing environmental degradation, insecurity, erosion of cultural and social values, and rebuilding/reinvigorating Igbo institutions, such as the Igbo apprenticeship system.

“The two organisations are owned by Ndigbo and will be governed in the best of traditions by a broad-based council. It would also be run professionally based on international standards. It shall pool resources from Ndigbo, international organisations and friends of Ndigbo, but shall focus investments in Alaigbo and on Ndigbo,” the Fund’s technical implementation committee had said.