*Reaffirms Commitment Towards Promoting Cultural Tourism
Valentine Ozigbo, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flag-bearer in the Nov. 2021 Anambra governorship election, has promised to promote tourism with special attention to elevating the culture and traditions of the Igbo people if elected governor.
Mr Ozigbo, who is the immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, gave the assurance on Saturday, September 4, 2021, when he was a special guest at the 2021 New Yam Festival of Igwe Damian Ezeani, the traditional ruler of Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra state.
In his address at the colourful event, Ozigbo said the cultural practices of the Igbo people, such as the New Yam festival, should be promoted to attract tourists from across the globe and become the envy of the world.
“Our cultural practices, such as the New Yam festival, are our unique identity. They represent who we are and how we can shape our future,” Ozigbo declared.
“If we inject significant investment, creative energies, and business ideas into our culture and traditions, we will become the envy of the world.
“We must reflect on how to improve on our cultural practices so that we can attract the rest of the world.
“I have rich experience in hospitality and tourism, and I am regarded as the king of domestic tourism. When I was the managing director and CEO of Transcorp Hotels, I received the international Hospitality Man of the Year Award in Greece.
“I have always promoted Nigerian cultures, particularly, the Igbo culture, and I will continue to do so if elected governor,” Ozigbo pledged.
The respected business leader congratulated Igwe Ezeani on the successful festival and assured him of his continued support.
Ozigbo, one of Nigeria’s most recognisable philanthropists, said he is in the governorship race to rebuild Anambra and reclaim its lost glory.
“Anambra is suffering a grave infrastructural deficit. Taking a close look at the state of our roads, our hospitals, our schools, and other social systems, you’ll wonder if this is the same Anambra of Nnamdi Azikwe, Alex Ekwueme, Peter Obi, and other great leaders,” Ozigbo said further.
“The upcoming governorship election presents us with a golden opportunity to re-write our story.
“PDP is the best political party in Nigeria today. Unlike others, our processes are democratic and we have a large umbrella to accommodate all of us regardless of our tribe, gender, beliefs, or creed.
“I believe that I have the right combination of competence, character, and compassion required in the leader we need to transform our dear state.
“Anaocha is the place of prominent PDP stakeholders like His Excellency Peter Obi, Senator Uche Ekwunife, the Chairperson of our campaign council and other great people. We do not doubt that Anaocha and Neni, in particular, will embrace excellent governance by supporting us,” Ozigbo added.
Responding, Igwe Damian Ezeani thanked Ozigbo for attending the event and assured him of his goodwill and support.
“Very few politicians do the type of things I always see you doing. You always reach out to the low and mighty. You extend your goodwill to all,” Igwe Ezeani declared.
“From every indication, you have good plans for Anambra, and I will assure you of my goodwill and prayers.”
In his brief remarks, the lawmaker representing Anaocha in the State House of Assembly, Hon Ebele Ejiofor, described Ozigbo as “a man of sound character, who will re-write the story of the state, if given the opportunity”.
Valentine Ozigbo is the founder of the eponymously named Valentine Chineto Ozigbo (VCO) Foundation, one of Nigeria’s leading non-profits. The Foundation hosts the annual Mbem and Oja Competition and the Ogene Contest which promote the ancient Igbo art forms.
When he was at the helm of Transcorp Hotel, Ozigbo broke new grounds by introducing the New Yam Festival to the premium seven-star destination.