… unveils 8 centres for Edo’s economic transformation
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and private sector partners in the state, at the Alaghodaro Summit 2021, on Friday, relished the impact of the annual summit and its role in driving public policy reforms, investment inflows, institutional reforms and sustained economic growth in the state.
Dignitaries at the summit include First Lady of Edo State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Edo Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comr. Philip Shaibu; lawmakers from Edo State, including Senators Matthew Urhoghide, Francis Alimikhena and Clifford Ordia, representing Edo South, Edo North and Edo Central respectively and Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun.
Others are members of the State Executive Council; Chief Executive Officer, Starz Marine and Engineering Limited, Greg Ogbeifun; Chairman, Edo State Chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Tony Aziegbemi; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Edo State Chapter, Oriname Oyennude Kure and the Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Alhaji Abdufatah Enabulele, among others.
While delivering his address, the governor launched the state’s 30-year development plan and unveiled eight centres for the state’s economic transformation.
In its fifth edition, this year’s summit is themed, “Edo of Our Dreams: Building a Sustainable Future.”
Launching the 30-year development plan for the state, Obaseki said, “Planning is not a document, it has to be a process; we have to live it and that is what the Edo 30 years developmental plan is all about. It’s broken into five-year periods and we have six of these periods.”
The centres for the state’s economic transformation, according to the Governor, include Benin River Port, the proposed Airport in Edo North Senatorial District, Edo State Oil Palm Programme, Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and the Edo Production Centre.
Others are the Edo Tech Park, Innovation Centres across the state and various oil palm projects in Edo.
According to the governor, “The Benin River Port project, for us, is going to be a game-changer. Our feasibility studies show so much potential and viability in that project. The Benin River Port could be the second most viable port in Nigeria; it is one infrastructure that we must build.”
In his words: “We are leveraging on the key advantage of oil palm. We are aware that the oil palm is that crop that will bring large scale investors in the way we envision it; we are going to continue leveraging on technology to drive the future of our dear state.”
“Edo has the capacity to generate over 10,000 megawatts of electricity, and we will do so. Our goal is that within the shortest time possible, we should be able to build over 200km of streetlights in the Benin metropolis.”
“As an investment banker, I know that the money we need to make Edo State the economic hub of the country is not a problem,” Obaseki reassured.
The governor further noted, “We have sustained the reforms in the healthcare system, ensuring our people have access to quality and affordable health services. We are transforming the Central hospital and building a new Stella Obasanjo Hospital in our efforts to drive the needed change in the healthcare system in Edo State.
“I have no doubt in my mind that with the foundation we have laid in our basic education system, the future of our children in various basic schools across the state are very bright.”
In his welcome address, Chairman, Alaghodaro Economic Summit LTD/GTE and Chairman, Sterling Bank, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, said the Summit, conceived by Governor Obaseki, has served as a formidable platform for forging ideas and strategies to support the economic, social and development plans of the state government.
According to him, “The Summit has created great opportunities for cross-pollination between the private sector, public sector, civil society, traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders in Edo State, and enabled diversified but constructive views on the path to achieving the Edo State of our dreams.
“Recommendations from previous Summits have been adopted by the Government and have become policy, now contributing substantially to the government’s development agenda and plans for the attainment of sustained high growth rate, regardless of global and national headwinds.”
Ighodalo added: “Without a shred of doubt, building a solid economic future for our State and assuring the happiness, livelihood and wellbeing of all the people that live in Edo State is the cardinal objective of this government and the driving thought, every waking moment of Mr. Governor.
“I applaud the fundamental and necessary foundation laying, rebuilding and substantial institutional reforms which have been implemented in the last five years, especially in our civil service, judiciary, Inland Revenue Services, health and education sectors, Arts & Culture and our infrastructure space.”
Earlier in his keynote address, the Group Managing Director, Saroafrica International Limited, Mr. Rasheed Sarumi noted, “In Edo State, there is an abundance of enablers to accelerate the actualization of the Governor’s 30-year vision. With Obaseki’s approach to governance, Edo is on the path to actualizing the state of our dreams.
“The literacy level in Edo State is one of the highest in the country and the State needs to leverage on that. People and knowledge is the enabler needed to accelerate the dreams of Edo State in transforming the lives of the citizens and improving their livelihoods.”