This is contained in a statement issued by the council at the end of the inaugural meeting of the Ohanez Council of Business Leaders in Abuja on Saturday.

The Chairman of the Council, Maj. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, who read the statement, said the meeting reflected on the past, reviewed current circumstances and looked into the future of Nigerians of Igbo descent.

“We have decided today that we are no longer going to depend on the government, we are going to take our destiny into our own hands by ensuring that the Igbo land is industrialized.

“We have done studies that have shown that in all areas, if we work very hard without relying on the government, because we know that we have no one in power at the moment, we can develop our place.

“We decided to focus on education because it is really the mainstay of our development,” Ivanianwu said.

He recalled that in 1960, the region had reached great heights in the fields of education, industry and trade.

This, he said, was made possible through education, adding that the eastern region introduced functional education at that time which contributed to the development of the region.

“And we think we will repeat that, as educational standards have fallen, we are determined today to change the narrative.

“We are setting up an education committee that will look at education in Igbo country in the past, as it is today and what we want in the future.

“The committee will give suggestions within a month.

“It is likely that when the committee comes out with its report, we will establish a southeastern university that will specialize in medicine, engineering, science and technology and skills acquisition.

“Since skill acquisition is so important today, our employees can learn entrepreneurial skills,” Ivanyanwu said.

He said the Igbos portray the story of a people of the past who “by the grace of God overcame many obstacles and held a high position in Nigeria until 1960 when the country gained independence.”

Sadly, the ensuing tragic events culminating in a civil war caused heavy loss to the Igbos where many lives and property were lost including opportunities, he said.

He said that at the end of the war, the Igbos emerged from the rubble with next to nothing to reach the point of relevance in Nigerian society despite their hardworking nature.

“We need to count our blessings, name them one by one, and thank God for His mercy,” the Ohanez Council of Elders president said.

According to Iwuanyanwu, noting that political power plays a major role in development and self-realization in third world countries such as Nigeria, Igbos said, however, that they are the greatest contributors to the economy of the Nigeria.

He said that despite the limitations, the Igbo people sought their hardworking and resourceful nature to succeed in most states of the Union.

He said that apart from establishing the Southeastern University, the council would also focus on agriculture, industrial development, which would include the manufacture of cement, tiles, textiles and ceramics.

He said special attention would also be given to generating electricity for the region using the abundant coal in the region as a source of electricity supply.

He noted that although the projects were capital intensive, they were achievable with the commitment of every Ohanez member and other stakeholders.

“We will have enough funds to finance these projects with commitment and financial and ethical support”

“Those who are well settled can pay more and their contribution will be accepted. The members of the Council of Business Leaders will agree on the registration fee,” he said.

Iwuanyanwu especially thanked the governors of the region for their contribution in advancing the course of the Igbo Race (NAN).

Edited by Maureen Ozinaka/Nysom Feigon Dore