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Nnewi proudly developed without Government intervention, Igwe Orizu declares @ 60th Ofala

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His Royal Majesty, Igwe Kenneth Orizu III

The Igwe of Nnewi, HRH Igwe Dr. K.O.N. Orizu III, has extolled the giant strides of the town, saying that it proudly developed without Government intervention.

Igwe Orizu made the remarks in his speech delivered on Thursday, the 28th day of December 2023, to mark the celebration of his 98th birthday and 60th Ofala Festival.

Orizu noted that the event marked a milestone in the history of the town and called on the residents to be happy in their highway of struggle and devotion to Nnewi cause.

He said, amongst other things:

“Today marks a milestone in the history of this great town. Today is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.

“Today is a day of thanksgiving to God Almighty for Nnewi. Today is our happiest hour in the highway of struggle and devotion to Nnewi cause.

“Today is our Diamond Jubilee celebration of our 60th year as the Igwe of Nnewi. Please stand and clap to God for today.

“We will say without equivocation that we did not arrive at this stage of Nnewi alone.

“We are here today because of the labours of our Heroes past and the cooperation of all Nnewi people.

“We know our past Heroes, but being that we are celebrating Nnewi for sixty years, we must mention a few of our Heroes and give honour to whom honour is due.”

The industrial town’s monarch, then, recounted the efforts and struggles of the immediate past Obi of Uruagu, D.G.U. Obi, and the current Obi of Uruagu, Nnamdi Obi, Obi Z.B.O. Okafor, Obi Umudim and Obi I.H.O. Onyekaba, the Obi of Nnewichi, to stand Nnewi on the pedestal of development.

He pointed out: “When we think back from the beginning of 1963 when we took the mantle as lgwe of Nnewi, we remember…

“These were the fathers of the present Obis of the three quarters of Nnewi. We worked with them all the years.”

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He also went down memory lane to recall the achievements of  other Nnewi great men, including Chief M.C.K. Ajuluchukwu, Dr A.A Nwafor-Orizu, Chief D.E Ulasi, Dr Dozie lkedife, Chief L.N.E Nsoedo, Chief A.E Ilodibe, Chief P.J.O Ilechukwu, Chief C.O Obienu, Sir L.P. Ojukwu, Chief Emma Izundu, Chief J.N.O Okoli, Chief Z. C. Obi, Chief Ben Nwosu, General Momah, et Al who stamped Nnewi on the hallway of remarkable success.

“The Nnewi we met in 1963 was at best a hub of a few hawkers at the present post office area with one petrol station.

“There was only one tarred road from Onitsha to Owerri. There were four secondary schools. Under our watch, Nnewi developed to its present day with majority of the roads paved and tarred by philanthropic Nnewi businessmen.

“The Government only came in later. We are proud to state that the Agbo Edo market is a product of community development extraordinary as it was established without Government
intervention.”

According to him, he encouraged Nnewi sons and daughters to establish industries in Nnewi and negotiated the building of houses and infrastructure in the newly established Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital.

He also emphasized that the establishment of the Teaching Hospital at Nnewi was a collective effort of Nnewi people, with him donating land for the establishment of the present College of Medicine at Okofia Otolo Nnewi.

The Federal Government, afterwards, developed the new Teaching Hospital at Akamili Umudim.

He further paid a glowing tribute to ndi Nnewi who worked tirelessly to see to the establishment of Hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories in the premises.

“We now have a private MRI laboratory at Nnewi thereby stopping our people and patients from travelling to Enugu to use MRI facilities.

“There are Government clinics at every nook and cranny of the town. Indeed Nnewi is now a centre of excellence in medicare, not only for Nnewi but for all neighbouring states and towns.

“Nnewi could not have been what it is today without the input of our industrialists, businessmen and traders.

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“The Nnewi industrialists manufactured batteries, motor spare parts, brake pads, vegetable oil and other products related to motor and motorcycle spare parts.

“At the end of the Nigerian civil war, Nnewi market was the centre for motor spare parts. Today, the motorcycle market at Nnewi is one of the largest in the country,” the Igwe boasted.

He also recalled how Dr Okonjo Iweala, the then Coordinating Minister of the Economy, mentioning the foremost industrialists in Nigeria, counted Innoson, Cletus Ibeto and Chicason among the first five in Nigeria!

“Is it not true that Innoson vehicle industry is the largest of its type in the south-east and one of the largest in Nigeria?” he asked rhetorically.

“It is at Nnewi and owned by an Nnewi person. Conclusively, Nnewi as a town is the biggest Industrial town in Anambra state. The development at Nnewi made Nnewi to be named “the Japan of Africa”.

Presently, the best Technical/Secondary school in Anambra state is the National Technical College (former N.S.S), rated the 2nd best public school in the 2022 President’s Teachers and Schools Excellence Award {PTSEA}.

Meanwhile, other Nnewi sons and daughters are making strides in other endeavours of life, including Chief Oseloka Osigwe and Barr. Chikosolu Ojukwu who were recently elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

They joined the likes of Ralueke Ulasi, Chijioke Okoli, Emeka Etiaba, Echezona Etiaba, Mani Osuigwe, Chuka lkwuazom, Lotanna Oko Ikenna Okoli and Dr Kate Okafor who are already Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

Igwe Orizu stressed that today Nnewi is the only one town Local Government in Anambra state, ‘moving from Third World to First World in Nigerian terms’.

“A look around Nnewi after 60 years of our reign is a story of glorious achievement that can only be possible by the Grace of God,” Orizu gave himself a pat on the back.

He hailed “the Royal Cabinet under the fearless Chief Dan Ulasi, Okeosisi Nnewi”, which, he said, contributed immensely to the achievement and indispensable advice he enjoyed.

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He also saluted BOTCON, Title holders, Nzuko Ora Nnewi, quarter President General, Vigilante services, the Senator for Anambra South, Member representing Nnewi, Engr. Emeka Agbasi, the new Chief Executive of FERMA, Mr. Christian Udechukwu, Commissioner for Industry and Hon. Augustine Ike, representing Nnewi at the state House of Assembly.

The monarch Lauder the introduction and establishment of the Nnewi Vigilante Group by Nzuko Ora Nnewi with the tacit encouragement of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, “giving colour to security in Nnewi”.

He thanked Prince Chinedu Orizu who got Senator Godswill Akpabio to build the Nnewi Museum, Dr Cletus Ibeto, Dr Chika Okafor (Chicason), as well as other Nnewi people that continued to make contributions to the Palace.

“Nnewi now and after will continue to be a land of Gold and peaceful community,” he concluded, and encouraged the younger generation to go to school and endeavour to join public service and the uniformed forces.

The last vote of thanks went to the Chief Medical Director of NAUTH, Prof. Joseph Ugboaja, who is working relentlessly to elevate NAUTH to Centre of Medical Excellence, which paved way for the Igwe Orizu ICT Centre.

He ended the speech by wishing all a safe journey back home and a prosperous new year 2024.

DDM will soon release the video of the profound Ofala Festival held at the Igwe’s Palace on December 28 and 29.


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