The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has lamented that the “sit-at-home’’ order by the Indigenous People of Biafra was impeding the growth and development of the Southeast region.
Kalu stated this in Abuja when he received a delegation from Aba Creatives Collective, the organisers of Aba Fashion Show, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the National Assembly on Friday.
The event which is aimed at showcasing the creativity of fashion designers and enthusiasts in Abia state, holds every December.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Press Affairs, Udora Orizu, the Deputy Speaker commended the delegation on the initiative, saying that it perfectly aligned with the objectives of highlighting the rich cultural heritage and artistic talents of Abia people.
While noting that the event also presented a unique opportunity to harness potentials of the untapped fashion industry to drive economic growth, Kalu, however, said the issue of insecurity in the region has been a great challenge.
According to him, the sit-at-home agenda of non-state actors has led to loss of manpower, increasing unemployment and exodus of investors from the region.
The Deputy Speaker therefore urged the Igbo to reject the sit-at-home agenda, and say no to the fear sold by “these faceless individuals who don’t mean any good for the Indigenes”.
Kalu said, “I am genuinely excited about Aba Fashion Week, an initiative that promotes our local economy. I know what fashion, fashion designing, tailoring anything that has to do with clothing can do to an economy, because we talk about the three basic needs of man, shelter, food and clothing. The economic losses that the region has suffered by the sit-at-home agenda of the non-state actors has integrated impediments to regional growth, regional economic integration, even into our regional leadership integration and into regional development integration. It has affected the fabric of everything that we hold dearly. Now fashion designers are feeling the direct impacts because investors are saying the place is not activated for our investment.
“And the pain in your hearts is the same pain that is felt by those in all sectors of our economy, in the agricultural sector they are crying because post harvest productions that are supposed to be taken to the markets are destroyed at home due to sit at home. The educational sector is suffering because students can no longer go to school freely, without fear. Why we’ll think about fashion week, let’s think about mindsets that is devoid of sentiments imposed on all by non-state actors, who want to sell to us, Laziness when our people are hard working people. Our people don’t sit at home, we don’t relax at home, our people are farmers so we farm.
“We are fashion designers and tailors so we make clothes. We are bricklayers so we build houses. We are not home sitters. This is a call to every youths whose mindset has been influenced negatively by call from the pit of hell that says that Igbo people will sit at home one day every seven days. The impact is not only felt by you it felt by others and that is why we must all come together to say no to sit at home, to say no to this insecurity, the sell of fear that has been sold by this non state actors, this faceless individuals who don’t mean any good for us.
“I am a proud Abia son, I am a lover of Abia state, but I am sad with what I have seen happening to our dear state. I applaud the organizers for this commitment, their commitment and dedication to this remarkable initiative, your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Despite all the odds, you still want to push on and I’m eager to explore ways in which we can collaborate for the betterment of Abia state and for it’s vibrant fashion industry. To the organizers and stakeholders of the Aba fashion week I assure you of my full support. I invite you all to join us on the journey of collaboration and innovation. This is the strength of the region this is the strength of Abia state. Fashion Industry is one of our strengths we must leverage it, we must welcome the world back again.
“Cameroonians used to come to shop in Abia state, Benin Republic used to come to shop in Abia state, most of the states used to come to shop in Abia and new markets. It is high time we welcome them back so that we can increase the economy of state. Let us harness the power of fashion to shape the future of Abia states to empower our youth and to showcase the incredible talents that our state’s possesses.”
Earlier, the team led by Mr. Chinyere Akataobi told Kalu that they visited to congratulate him on his emergence as Deputy Speaker and as well solicit for his support at the upcoming event.