By Martin-Luther C. King
Ghana and Nigeria have been urged to continue to sustain and strengthen the historic bond of friendship between their peoples, notwithstanding intermittent challenges.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Igbo Yam Festival last Sunday, in Accra, chief executive officer of the Octapus Lounge Chief Edwin Ugwunze, said doing so will not only inure to the mutual benefit of both countries but will also provide the strategic building block to fast-track West Africa’s integration, as well as help cement African unity.
“From time immemorial, Ghana and Nigeria have been like brothers and like sisters; and, we will continue to be like that. So this event will impact us positively, and make the union and the relationship to grow better; so that as they host us in Ghana and we enjoy peace and tranquility, we also host them in Nigeria and enjoy the little peace we have there, and life goes on,” Ugwunze stated.
According to him governments of both countries need yo collaborate more to ensure that their peoples not only remain resilient in the face of the current covid-19 pandemic, but also emerge stronger after it.
“Everybody wants their tomorrow to be better than their today and their yesterday; the fact (is) that covid-19 has hindered a lot of progress both in the economy, in social life, and in everything. But, we are a resilient people; we don’t give up; we fight the corona, we don’t allow the corona to fight us; and, we have been fighting corona. The corona came; but it will go just the same way as it came. It’s a visitor; so, it will leave,” he encouraged.
He suggested a two-pronged panacea to the current economic situation: government should not just initiate but also expand and sustain deliberate policies and measures to stimulate and refloate the economy. On their part, the people need to work hard and smart.
“We have to work harder and plug all the loopholes. And, we are pleading with the government to open up the economy. Because this corona is not worse than malaria. Malaria is more impactful in our lives; everyday you see mosquito, and it bites us. But, we don’t see corona with our physical eyes. So we pray the government to see corona as one of the diseases that we already have, like typhoid, like malaria, etc. Open up, and let anybody that is sick go to the hospital and get treated; and, life goes on. Open the borders,” he urged.
The Igbo yam festival is an annual event observed by many Igbos at home and in the Diaspora.
The Igbos community in Ghana are part of the over 45 million-strong Igbo tribe, ehich is the third largest of the 300 tribes in Nigeria.
The new yam festival marks the begining of the harvest season, and celebrates yam, considered in the Igbo world view as the king of crops.