By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has called on African movie actors, producers, creative writers and directors to serve as promoters of the state as the investors destination of Africa with attendant economic benefits.
Declaring open the 12th Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Port Harcourt at the weekend, Wike expressed happiness that the array of mega-stars, federal government officials, international journalists and businessmen have seen first hand that Rivers State is safe for investments, contrary to sponsored media reports.
He said: “We have tackled insecurity with decisive steps in conjunction with the nation’s security agencies, so much so that Rivers State has now become one of the safest places to visit, live and do business in the country. As a result, we have been hosting several local and national events to the joy and applaud of the organisers, participants and visitors.
“For instance, three weeks ago, we successfully hosted the National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Nigeria’s current leading opposition party with delegates from the 36 states and other local and international observers. Today, we are hosting AMAA. In the next couple of weeks we shall be hosting the national conferences of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). We have received several delegations from foreign missions in Nigeria and international organizations at bilateral and multilateral levels.
“All these show that our efforts to improve local security are yielding the desired results as Rivers State has, once again, resumed its position as a destination of choice to both local and foreign direct investment. Let me assure you that we are determined to leverage on this in our effort to place Rivers State on the tourism world.”
The governor added: “As a government therefore, it is our pleasure to be the host of this year’s AMAA presentations. Apart from its intrinsic value, the event has rekindled important social and economic benefits to the State. Accordingly, we are utilising this opportunity as a platform to showcase the business and tourism potentialities of the State to the world. We invite AMAA and our visitors to tell the story of Rivers State to the investing public at local and international levels.”
The governor outlined the profits available to the would-be investors.
He said: “For the visitors, it is important to acknowledge that Rivers State occupies a strategic place in the economy of Nigeria. Without doubt, it is the epicenter of the hydrocarbon industry and the nation’s second largest economic unit. Port Harcourt remains a leading commercial enclave and one of the fastest growing cities in Africa.”
Wike described AMAA as Africa’s most prestigious award.
He congratulated the winners of the different categories of awards, urging them to continue to promote quality movies across the continent.
The governor led other dignitaries to present awards to winners. Some other prominent Nigerians who presented awards included: Former Senate President, Senator David Mark; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; wife of the Rivers State Governor, Justice Suzzette Eberechi Nyesom-Wike; Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Banigo; and former state Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia.
Highpoint of the 2016 AMAA was the conferment of Lifetime Achievement Awards to Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs, Tony Akposhere and Richard Mofe-Damijo.
Top Nigerian musicians, Harry Song, KCEE and Yinka Davies thrilled the audience at the award ceremony.