Senate President, David Mark
By Goddy Egene
The Senate President, Senator David Mark and Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, have confirmed their attendance at forthcoming South-south Economic Summit scheduled for in Asaba, Delta State from April 26 to 28, 2012.
Also, the Nobel Laureate and playwright, Professor Wole Soyinka and the National Security Adviser, General Andrew Owoeye Azazi (rtd) have indicated their participation at the event.
Summit spokesman, Mr. Chike Ogeah, who disclosed the confirmation, noted that while Mark and Azazi, would join other lead speakers to connect the broken lines in the nation’s security matrix, Soyinka would unleash his intellect and global experience to chart the way forward for the development of the South-south.
On the hand, Okonjo-Iweala, a global expert in development economics and investment strategy for emerging markets, would lead others to unveil the vast investment opportunities in the South-south.
Aside being one of the keynote speakers, Soyinka would join the Chairman of Visafone, Mr Jim Ovia, and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, as co-chairmen.
Ogeah had recently disclosed that the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, Admiral Mike Mullen; former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani and first Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Professor John Lipsky, are among the array of global business and leadership heavyweights who had confirmed their participation at the Summit.
According to Ogeah, who is also the Delta State Commissioner for Information, the summit, which will be declared open by President Goodluck Jonathan, will attract investors, professionals and top government functionaries both from Nigeria and offshore.
The theme of the summit is: ‘Investment, development, security’, which according to him was “to underscore the fact that the South-south is developing and ready for investment and more importantly that the region is secure for all investors and their investments”.
Other invited speakers include: the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Aliko Dangote, Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, the Managing Director of Chevron, Andrew Fawthrop; Managing Director of Shell, Mutiu Sunmonu; former Chairman of the Joint Tax Board, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, Chairman, African Capital Alliance, Dick Kramer among others.
Kagame is bringing the perspective of a freedom fighter and as the leader who rebuilt Rwanda from the ruins of genocide against monumental odds. He is one of the few African leaders recognised globally as “progressive”. Under his leadership, Rwanda has been called Africa’s ‘biggest success story’ and Kagame has become a public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become self-reliant. He is billed to give a development keynote on ‘Post-conflict Development Policies’.
Mullen, a security strategist and expert, was the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US.
Ogeah said Mullen’s presence would reinforce the steely resolve of the Federal Government and the South-south states to ensure the security of lives and property, especially at this time when global peace is being threatened.