Governor Ikpeazu spoke during a two-day meeting of the elders and management committee of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly held in Umuahia.
“Our greatest problem in the country today is lack of respect. I have read the history books, the goals and ideals of our founding fathers, Tafawa Balewa, Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe. They were people who loved this country. You can take everything away from them but you cannot take away their commitment for a united Nigeria. They had mutual respect and regard for one another but can we answer in affirmative today that we can attract as much respect from our Northern part of Nigeria as our fore fathers enjoyed? It is because we don’t trust ourselves, it is because we don’t respect ourselves sufficiently that’s why we emphasize centripetal forces rather than centrifugal forces that should crystallize within and drive this nation forward.
“history could at least teach every generation three things. The first one is how not to do things . As far as I am concerned, the National war museum here in Umuahia should remind us how not to pursue our national interest. It should also teach us the way forward. What it means also is if there were things about us which we demonstrated during the period of our trials, they should be part of what we need to use as our weapon to drive our interest going forward.”
“For me, politics should be an enabler to drive these agenda. Because if you set the agenda, set the toll on the ones Nigeria will look at us with a little more respect than they are looking at us now.
Governor Ikpeazu, called on leaders of Southern Nigeria on the need to focus on agriculture, industry and trade and Commerce, as the way forward to a better economy.
“I think what we need to drive this country, if that be the case, we must focus on agriculture, we must focus on industry, we must focus on trade and Commerce. These are some of the things for which we are known in the southern part of this country.”
Speaking further on the issue of marginalization in Nigeria, Governor Ikpeazu said: “We have what it takes in terms of resources to bring back Nigeria to a point where it can be counted as a growing country among other nations. But, if Nigeria continues to treat with disdain the people of Southern part of Nigeria or any other part of Nigeria for that matter, than we are dissipating the unity that would have been part of what we need as an asset to drive our agenda.”