Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emiefiele, will be the Chairman of the â€˜Ika Economic Summitâ€™, the Chairman of the organising committee of the maiden summit, Dr. Kingsley Emu, has revealed.
Emu, who disclosed this in an interview in Asaba on Monday, further said the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, would attend the event, calling on investors to take the opportunity to â€œaccess the massive endowment in Ika-land.â€
He also unveiled plans for an implementation committee designed to establish a firm platform for the execution of resolutions and outcomes of the summit.
Emu, who is the state Commissioner for Economic Planning, told THISDAY in Asaba that the setting up of an implementation body underscored the fact that the summit, slated for June 24, 2017, at the Ika National Hall, Agbor, â€œis far from being a talk show or a tea party, but a forum where real issues would be addressed for definite implementation.â€
According to Emu, â€œThis is not a time for storytelling, but a time to drill down to critical issues. And at the end of the day, we are going to have a communiquÃ©. The whole idea is to ensure that we have an implementation committee. We are convinced it will be a success.â€
Beside Emefiele and Okowa as the chairman and special guest of honour respectively, the summit tagged: â€˜Exploring The Economic Potential of Ika Through Strategic Investors Partnership for Developmentâ€™, would feature other prominent sons and daughters of Ika ethnic extraction, including Major-General Iyo Irabor, Prof P.C Egbon, Prof Eric Eboh, Prof. Stella Chiemeke, Dr. Jude Obala, Prof. Egban, Nduka Irabor, Tony Obuh, Victor Nwokolo, Anthony Elekeokwuri, Festus Okoh, Chiedu Ebie among others as presenters and discussants.
Other eminent Ika stakeholders billed to make presentations at the event are Mr. Jim Ovia, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Mr. Alex Okoh, Godson Echiejile, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and David Igbodo.
The organising chairman said the model of the summit is based on four thematic areas covering agri-business, tourism, mineral resources and security.
In the face of current economic challenges, investors must look towards areas where peace and raw materials abound, he said, noting that huge deposits of oil, gas, kaolin and other natural resources as well as improvement in electricity supply and road network in the area had made Ika-land the destination for genuine investors.
â€œFor a group of people cumulatively made up of 11 kingdoms, spread across the world (and) with a land mass of about 5.3 per cent of 961 square kilometers in Delta State and a population of 471, 000 or 8.5 per cent of the population of state, the statistics is too significant to undermine. Besides, we are a confluence nation; confluence in the sense that you drive through us to Benin, through us to Warri, to the South east and the North. You can see that we are a gateway.
â€œTherefore, if we have 471, 000 people resident in the area as at the time of the last census, it means that we have in excess of 300, 000 to 400, 000 people who commute the entire environment. This is not to talk about the huge transit trailer drivers and the numerous trade centres in our area. We have Aferi-oko, we have Umunede Alero Orie and Abavo Oyoko market as well as the Agbor market which have become massive. So at any point in time, even though we have a population of 471, 000 people, we are in excess of a million persons daily and that is a lot of consumer power or audience that you cannot undermine,â€ Emu added.
On the summit sponsorship, Emu further noted that the project, which is powered by Ika Village Square (IVS) with Mr. Eugene Uzum, enjoys a high individual sponsorship base as well as partnership with corporate organisations including Zenith Bank, UBA and MTN.