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Why S/East Govs Forum rejected lottery business proposal by leading firm

…Says Igbos are naturally hardworking, creative in earning a living

Leaders of though in the South East on Monday in respective telephone interviews, hailed the rare decision and courage of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) to tactically reject a business proposal by a leading lottery firm to ride on its support in introducing its business in the region.

In a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting weekend, one of the key decision made included rejecting as a body, a proposal by a lottery firm (name with held), seeking their support in launching their business in the region.

The communiqué said on the matter that “A private business enterprise presented to the Forum a lottery business proposal in the South-East zone. After much deliberation, the forum advised him to reach out to the various states of the South-East in going about the proposal.”

However, Business Hilights South East Bureau Chief caught the attention of one of the attendees who pleaded anonymity at the end of the meeting.

On why the forum rejected the proposal, the state chief executive (name with held), said “Igbos are naturally hardworking, creative in earning a living”.

“What an trying to say to avoid being misquoted is that “We Igbos like working the work ourselves and earning the living. We don’t cherish; naturally cheap monies or income from betting or playing all these games.

“Yes, the state governments will make billions in a very short time if such companies come, but the after effects on our youth population cannot be imagined. That is why we did not discourage them, but advised them to approach states one by one and try their luck.

The official noted that “I am worried with the way and manner kiosks and deadly shops crop up in every street in some states all in the name of lottery or gaming. It is a sign of failing economy when people base their daily income on lottery.

“So let them go to each state and sort out themselves, not here at the Governors Forum. In fact, we must trace who gave them the idea that if you approach a whole Governors’ Forum, you will get regional support. It’s embarrassing as far as am concerned. They are also investors, but…”

Explaining more ina an interview on Monday, an Igbo leader based in Lagos, Chief Dan Okafor described the decision of the Govenors as “very excellent and commendable”.

He said “If the company had gotten the targeted support from the forum, they will unleash aggressive rollout in the region and that may create shocks on the natural capabilities of Igbo youths in struggling for better life. Playing lotto or game or whatever they call it is not in our culture originally. So if the company had gotten the support at that forum, it means that our values as a people had been exchanged with urban criminality, laziness and social vices will jump in the region”.

In her submission, a leading market women leader in Enugu State, Chief Mrs. Ada Okeke hailed the governors and was quick to ask the Enugu State governor not to welcome the company or their likes in the state, saying “Enugu people are hardworking and can eke out a living from genuine businesses that has nothing to do with gaming. Like I said earlier, lottery is not part of our culture and cannot stand in South East”.

“From my findings in mega cities like Lagos, Kano and even Port Harcourt show that some of the urban crimes are planned and hatched from gaming centres especially when they go and lost all their monies,” Chief Mrs. Okeke noted.

In another telephone call, Dr. Mike Alaegbu, an Ebonyi State based medical doctor said “The decision of the governors to avoid the proposal and directed the company to approach each state one by one is an indication of official rejection as a rejoin and we all welcome it”.

“We have even started getting it hot here in some parts of Ebonyi as some of the gaming and betting companies have been here and our youths are not getting any better. For me, government should place a ban or raise the age limit for gaming.

Other major decision taken by the governors include the plan to construct a 430-kilometre ring road that would connect all the states of the zone, to promote the economic development of the region and ease transportation.

According to the communiqué read by Chairman of the Forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, the South-East governors at its meeting discussed extensively the possible strategies to achieve the economic development of the South-East.