The former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called on the three tiers of government in Nigeria to pay serious attention to the development of the rural communities in the country.
Okonjo-Iweala made the call on Wednesday during the 12th biennial home-coming (Ejealo 2018) and N25 million fundraiser for the construction of a craft centre at Umuda Isingwu in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia.
She said that no country in the world could develop without giving attention to its rural communities.
She, therefore, urged Nigerians to go back to their communities, saying “this is the only way we are going to develop the country.”
“It is not just from the federal level but we have to start from the grassroots to support the people in the village.
“Everyone, who belongs to a community has to help that community because the beginning of development in a country lies in a community,” she said.
The former minister, who was honoured on the occasion for her meritorious service to the community, expressed joy that her husband’s community recognised her.
She prayed for peace to reign in Nigeria as it geared up for the general elections, adding that God should see the nation through its difficult political period.
She said, “We want peace in the country. We want things to go well. We want lives to improve for the average Nigerians.
“We are praying that 2019 will bring good things for Nigerians.”
In an address of welcome, Mr Emmanuel Onwuegbu, the President-General of Umuda Welfare Union, said “Ejealo Festival” was a period of stocktaking in terms of the community’s socio-cultural development as a people.
Similarly, Mr Dimkpa Agbara, Chairman, Organising Committee, said the fundraiser was meant to establish a skill acquisition centre to empower the youths of the area economically.
Mr Hope Uwaga, a board member of the Abia State Oil Producing Area Development Commission also urged Nigerians to always identify with their communities.
Uwaga advised political office seekers to “first of all be part of grassroots development” by contributing their quota to the development of their communities.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mrs Rita Okengwu, Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Education, and Justice Amaobi Agbara, Justice of the Customary Court of Appeal in the state, were also honoured at the event.