Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has said that the worsening insecurity in the South Eastern region of the country has created division among Igbos.
The former Minister of Finance, stated this on Thursday virtually at the Economic and Security Summit held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The former minister said the people of the Southeast don’t support each other instead, they attack and undermine each other, adding that the Igbos have lost focus and sight of the biggest community assets.
Okonjo Iweala, however, advised Ndigbo to shun self-centredness and embrace teamwork to drive the zone’s economic growth.
She said: ”We have lost focus. We have lost sight of our biggest community assets. We are fragmented as a people. We don’t support each other instead, we attack and undermine each other. We are too individualistic. An individual can be good but better when we come together with others as a body.
“I am sure you want me to mention the gaps in infrastructure. I don’t think it is our biggest challenge. Our biggest challenge in the Southeast is ourselves. We have often been our worst enemies. We have allowed ourselves to be divided.”
Speaking further, Okonjo-Iweala stated that there was a bright side to the challenges of the Southeast.
She said: “If the problem is us, it means the solution also lies in our hands. To do this, we must exercise joint leadership, and that is why it is important that you are taking the Summit step now.
“Another big challenge is security; this partly arose from our fragmentation. Insecurity in our region is sending wrong signals about whether one can invest in the Southeast.”
The former minister also commended the governors for partnering with the Federal Government in its efforts to overcome insecurity in the Southeast.
She added: “The lesson for us is clear, you cannot have development without security, and you cannot have security without development and above all, we need good governance.
“To take this region forward, the security problem needs to be solved. The Federal Government obviously has an important role to play, but there is much to be done at the state level, and that is why I commend your leadership.