Chief Sunday Nwobodo (Akaekpuchionwa of Enugu State) the Chief Executive Officer, New Planet Resort, Ajangbadi, Lagos needs no introduction. Aside his towering features and humble mien, his philanthropic and humanitarian gestures to not only his immediate environment but Nigeria in general, speak volume of his large heart. No wonder he was among Igbo thought leaders who visited Abu-Lado Community to commiserate with them over the explosion that claimed numerous lives and properties worth billions of Naira. CYRIACUS NNAJI was lucky to corner him for a brief chat. Excerpts:
Tell us your name
My name is Chief Sunday Nwobodo, Akaekpuchionwa 1 of Enugu State, a businessman and major stakeholder in Igbo affairs in Lagos.
Why are you here today?
I am here in company of Eze Ndigbo because there is nothing I love than whatever that concerns Ndigbo, I will always be there to be counted. Eze Ndigbo invited me; that today he is coming to visit Abu-Lado to console them on the fire disaster that happened here.
Our coming here is to find out exactly what happened and also see what we can do as a group to help our people who were affected by the disaster. We have to help our brothers, because we must be our brothers’ keeper when it matters most.
How can you describe what happened here?
Looking at what I am seeing, it is worse than what I saw on video and social media, anybody that comes here would tell you that what I am saying is the truth, it is beyond video. You needed to be here to find out the truth.
Do you think Ndigbo were affected more by this explosion, what are you telling them?
I sincerely pray that God will come to the help of Ndigbo to bear this heavy disaster that befell them. If you look at it, majority of those who are living here are the Igbos, if you look at the nature of the buildings here, you will notice that Igbo people are in majority here. You can see these people crying, they are all Ndigbo. I pray that God will help the Igbos to be able to mobilize and rehabilitate our people.
What do you think the Igbos can do to assist those affected by the explosion?
That is why the Eze Ndigbo is here and other stakeholders, that is why I am also here to see thinks for myself. I think what I feel should be done is to mobilize the Igbo sons and daughters that are well to do, organizations and town unions to contribute their widows mite, what happened here is a disaster, the magnitude is beyond description, those who captured it on social media did not capture one quarter of what happened here, it is when you come here that you understand the magnitude of destruction by the explosion.
We have seen the catastrophe that befell our people and we are going to send out information to various Igbo groups on this, we also want market associations to come to the aid of our people.
Can you speak on location of buildings close to pipelines and how and where the Igbos keep their properties?
What I see here is more than explosion, I have not seen this kind of thing, you can see where the explosion took place and the distance where its impacts were also felt, that means nowhere is save. With this kind of thing it does not matter where you stay or keep your asset, you can see the thing went very far. It remained just a little the entire state would have been affected. So I don’t really understand where you can say this place is safe.
Do you have other things to say?
I advise our people to always think home, nothing can be compared to home, whatever happens, that is my advice to Ndigbo.