Christopher Oji 

It was a joyful season in Umunede, Ika North Local Government Area of Delta State, recently.

Hundreds of indigenes and visitors gathered in the community to celebrate an illustrious son, Mr. Obiazikwo Egbede, who came from Germany to set up a hospitality business in the town.

The people of Umunede came out in large numbers with drums, gongs and other musical instruments to celebrate the businessman.

The event, the inauguration of the C4 Palace Hotels, was graced by people from all walks of life, including politicians, policemen, military personnel and other dignitaries. The king of Umunede, Agadagidi Ezeagwu Ezenwali, House of Representatives member, Tony Emeka Elekeokwuri, Commander, South-West, Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), CSP Philip Reininwa, and a host of others were in attendance.

At the event, Egbede said: “I am so glad that my dream to create employment for my people has finally materialised. Since I left for Germany, I have been planning and looking forward to the day I would give back to my community. Today is my happiest day on earth, as I have finally achieved my dream of creating jobs for my people.

“When I told some of my friends about my plans to invest in hospitality business in my town, they tried to discourage me, saying that I would be investing wrongly in a locality where I would not make reasonable profit. I told those who were discouraging me not to bother about too much profit, as one must develop one’s town. I swore to them that the first foundation I would lay must be in the land of my birth.

“Umunede is not  a local place; it is a transit and melting point for travellers. I could have built a house, but I chose to build a hotel for two reasons. First, I want to create employment for my people. I knew that I was not going to run the hotel, as I must employ people. If it is 20 indigenes that I employ, it is a good beginning, as the employees would feed many people.

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“When I started building the hotel, it was from the town that I bought materials, got labourers and food vendors. All these boosted the economy of Umunede.

“I also wanted to give back to the society that made me. I discovered that there were not enough hotels in Umunede, as I used to see stranded travellers sleeping in their vehicles. When I interviewed some of them, they told me that there was no hotel accommodation. Some of them who did not drive at night or who were scared of attacks by hoodlums would need a place to rest till the following morning to proceed on their journey. I felt that it would be nice giving succour to stranded motorists, passengers and visitors.

“I would like to advise my people in the Diaspora to come home and invest. People should not fix their money in the bank. Instead, they should invest, and create employment so as to empower their people. Umunede is secure. It can now compete favourably with any city.”

Elekeokwuri commended Egbede for setting up the hospitality business in Umunede. He said: “I am highly elated that a son of the soil came down all the way from Germany to invest here. I am an advocate of investment. We have many people from other places in Umunede. To show how hospitable we are, most of them are answering Umunede names.

“For our son to deem it fit to build a hotel here makes me happy. I sincerely thank the king for providing an enabling environment for us to thrive. The security network in this town is superb. It is not out of place that you would have considered the security of Umunede before you decided to invest. I want to invite people, especially our people in Diaspora, to come home and invest. Our son, who came from Germany to invest here, has not made a mistake. Let other people emulate him and invest in our land.

“We have concluded plans to build a textile mill here, and that will be done this year.”

The royal father, Agadagidi Ezeagwu, who is also a known hotelier in the town, said he wanted more of his subjects in the Diaspora to invest at home so as to create employment for indigenes. His words: “I bless Egbede for this singular act of remembering the land of his birth. Umunede is a fertile land for business, especially hospitality business, because we have a lot of travellers passing through our town, which is on the expressway. The security network in Umunede is perfect. We have our children in the security agencies, including CSP Philip Reininwa, who give us advice on security. So, people should not be afraid of kidnapping and armed robbery. I want to also call on visitors not to entertain any fear while lodging in hotels in Umunede. Our local vigilance group, which is formidable, works round the clock with the police.”