Coming out of an eventful holiday season, hotel owners, transporters, owners of night clubs, event centres and fun places in Benin City, have said that their businesses recorded a boom which they linked to the widespread reforms of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
According to them, the early payment of salary to government workers; the influx of Edo people in the diaspora, into the state for Christmas and New Year celebrations; improvement in security and the state government’s huge investment in road infrastructure as well as the growing confidence in the state’s economy, combined to boost activities in their sub-sectors.
Mr Egbe Ufumwen, owner of a night club in Benin City, said: “Business was better during the Christmas holiday, compared to previous years. Night Club business is a night affair and security is a big deal for players in this business.
“Our business starts late in the night and people start leaving the club in the early hours of the next morning, so we can tell when people begin to feel more or less secure, by the number of people that come out at night.
“Last December, we recorded unprecedented number of clients and most of them told us that the state is now safer and that they could access anywhere in town because of the good roads in the city.”
Mr. Ufumwen added “years back, the road leading to my business place was in a bad condition and it impacted on my business. But with the reconstruction of TV Road, my Night Club has become one of the most patronised.”
Emmanuel Omeiza, who owns an event centre saluted the state government’s investment in road infrastructure which he said has boosted the profile of his business.
“Event centre has become a good business model in the state and we recorded huge patronage during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“There were days we converted our centre to a fun place for children and parents and it turned out to be a smart decision. Parents in the neighbourhood who had been longing for a nearby fun place for their children, trooped to the place.”
Omeiza noted that “the ban on the use of thugs for collecting revenue by the governor and his positive disposition to protecting businesses across the state, have sanitised the economy.”
Hotel owners and transporters interviewed, appealed to the governor to sustain the widespread reforms as they stand to gain more.
A taxi driver, Mr Tayo Abidemi, said “business was good in December and in the first few days of January. There were days I worked over 14 hours because passengers kept calling me over the phone for business. The good condition of the roads also helped to reduce the time we spent driving from one point to the other.”