Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government has in the past seven years reengineered the state for growth and development and consciously laid a solid foundation for the state’s future.
This is as past governors of the state, including the immediate past governor, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, former governors John Odigie-Oyegun and Chief Lucky Igbinedion, who were guests at the 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit, commended the incumbent governor for his developmental strides across all sectors of the state economy.
The 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit was held as part of celebration of the 7th year anniversary of the Obaseki-led administration.
Obaseki, while speaking at the summit, said the government focused on six thematic pillars including institutional reforms, economic revolution, social welfare, infrastructure development, environmental sustainability and arts and culture, noting that the bold reforms have positively impacted the lives of millions of Edo people, placing the state on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and development.
The summit in its seventh edition had the theme, ‘The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future’.
The summit is a rallying point for stakeholders in Edo’s shared vision of prosperity and greatness to deliberate and reach key decisions that drive programmes, initiatives and policy of government, which have so far, transformed Edo to emerge as Africa’s most competitive sub-national.
Other dignitaries at the occasion include the Edo State First Lady, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, Chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd/Gte, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, former Edo State Deputy Governor, Mike Ogiadomhe and Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Hon Blessing Agbebaku. Chief of Staff to Edo State Governor, Osaigbovo Iyoha, Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, Chief Judge of Edo State, Daniel Okungbowa, among others.
Governor Obaseki, who noted that Edo has the potential to produce 70 per cent of Nigeria’s imported products and reduce the burden on Foreign Exchange (Forex), said his government has attracted investments in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, health, arts and culture, tourism and hospitality, among other sectors.
Noting that his government has delivered on promises made to Edo people, the governor said, “In the civil service, we have introduced a Computerized ERP System (E-Gov). We operate the highest paid Civil/Public Service in the country and have set up a world-class training infrastructure at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, trained over 6,000 of Civil/Public servants and delivered over 10,000 devices across the Service and delivered new infrastructure (workspace) to 76 MDAS in the State.”
According to the governor, “Since 2016, our monthly IGR collections have consistently increased as a testament to the conscious investments we have made into boosting our local economy. Our partnerships and popular ‘MOUs’ have set Edo on the path of financial sustainability. Projects like the Benin Port, and Enterprise Park, among others, will further impact the Internal Generated Revenue of the state for years to come.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd/Gte, Dr. Ighodalo, commended deliberate efforts by the Governor Obaseki-led administration to grow the state’s economy over the past years, noting that the state’s economy has grown by over 140 percent from $10.6bn to $25.8bn
According to him, this is against the four percent growth recorded at the national level over the same period.
Ighodalo, who is also the Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, disclosed this in his welcome address at the 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit taking place in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
He said, “Over the past eight years, Edo State has grown 140 percent from an economy of $10.6 billion to $25.8bn today, while Nigeria’s economy grew at 4 percent.
“Edo State can become first world economy regardless of the challenges of Nigeria. The new investments attracted from new investors is put at $4 billion sourced from Nigeria and from joint partnerships as the State has the capacity and will.
“Edo State must set out at dawn to make progress and pull other parts of Nigeria and other regions up. We must continue to show in Edo that there is great hope for Nigeria through Edo State. The state can drag Nigeria out of its untapped potential, re-directing the nation to a point of development.”
Ighodalo noted “Edo story tells us we are not a state that lacks capacity to do well. The Alaghodaro phrase means progress, moving forward, and looking ahead as the word should be a challenge to us in Edo and the purpose of the summit is to set Edo on the path of growth and development.”
On his part, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Dangote, said Edo State has comparative advantage over every other State in the area of agriculture and agro-processing as well as culture and tourism, noting that the Governor Obaseki-led administration has repositioned the State, leveraging its comparative advantage to drive growth and development across all sectors.
Aliko, who is the keynote speaker at the 2023 Alaghodaro Investment Summit taking place in Benin City, the Edo State capital, commended the governor for his government’s business-friendly reforms that have continued to spur the influx of investors into the state.
Africa’s richest person, who was represented by the Dangote Group’s Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake, said the safety and security as well as reforms in the agriculture and tourism sectors have repositioned Edo State as a tourist hub and investors’ haven.
He said, “Edo State has comparative advantage over every other state in the area of agriculture and agro-processing as well as tourism sectors.
Investments are coming into Edo State because of the friendly environment created by the governor for investors and today, Edo has become an investment destination.
“The State boasts of tourist sites across various locations in the state and the State Government has taken advantage of it to turn the state into a tourism hub.”
Dangote added, “The ease of doing business in Edo State is the point of attraction for investors to invest in various locations as infrastructure plays a major role in ease of doing business in the state.
“The state is also secured and it has promoted many investors to invest in the State and this has gone a long way to grow the economy of Edo State.”