Former Chairman of Ikeja Hotels Plc, Dr Goodie Ibru has said that the South-south geo-political zone comprising six oil-producing states can influence Nigeria politically if its people work in unity across the federation.
The region is believed to have over six million of its people residing in Lagos State alone,
Ibru therefore called on the South-south people that chose Lagos as their residence to work together and take advantage of numerous empowerment and investment opportunities in the state to better their lives and families.
At the inaugural general assembly of CREDAB Peoples Association held recently at the Airport Hotel, Lagos. Ibru expressed satisfaction at the creation of the movement of the South-south people.
CREDAB, an acronym of of the South-south six states of Cross Rivers, Rivers, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa. It is a socio-cultural organisation that aims at uniting all the people of the South-south that live in Lagos.
The assembly, mainly convened to foster robust cultural relations among its members, was attended by the National Leader of Labour Party, Prof. Pat Utomi; Senior Pastor, Trinity Church, Pastor Ituah Igodalo; Lagos Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube; and CREDAB National Coordinator, Chief Lucky Oyakhere, among others.
Ibru, who recently turned 80, urged the south-south people living in Lagos to take advantage of their numbers, currently standing above six millions, to benefit their lives, families and businesses.
He observed that the South-south states “are all oil producing states. There are nine oil-producing states in the country. The others are Ondo, Abia and Imo States.
“If we partner with other oil producing states, we can make up 25 percent of Nigeria. That also means that we are politically relevant. Consequently, we can determine the political future of this country to a large extent if we are united”. he said.
The former President of Nigeria Stock Exchange further said that Lagos “is very strategic, the fifth largest economy in Africa, although some say it is the third. Lagos is bigger than many member-states of the African Union”.
He, therefore, observed: “Lagos is a place to be in because it has a wonderful economy and the development is enormous. In the South-south, we have a lot of commonalities.
“We are endowed with natural resources, common culture and common heritage. It is only natural that we get together and forge ahead. I am pleased we are able to get together at last. We can leverage our number, which is over six million, to benefit from opportunities.
“If we want to raise money today to help members of the South-south in Lagos and we get a contribution of N1, 000 from each member, we will have N6 billion. That will empower our people in Lagos State. That is significant”, Ibru said.
On his part, Egube revealed that the association was created about two years ago to give people of the South-south a platform to have a voice as well as gain empowerment opportunities abound.
Egube, who is the Chairman of CREDAB Board of Trustees, said the executives of the association have sought a partnership with Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to log in over 150 registered members of the association for free in the Lagos Health Insurance scheme.
“We are glad to announce to us that because of the importance to the health systems and healthcare to our people. CREDAB has partnered with LASHMA on ILERA EKO to offer free healthcare insurance to over 150 registered members.
He, therefore, urged members of the association “to tap into many of the programmes provided by the Lagos State Government like the LAGRIDE; empowerment schemes in the Ministries of Wealth Creation and Employment, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation and, as well, in Agriculture.”
Also at the assembly were Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs Yetunde Arobieke; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Olatokunbo Emokpae; and Director, Poverty Alleviation Department, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
They attended the assembly to enlighten over 800 members of CREDAB at the inaugural assembly on the numerous benefits of the state government empowerment initiatives.