SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE CLOSING OF THE GOMBE STATE INVESTMENT SUMMIT IN GOMBE STATE ON FRIDAY, 14TH OCTOBER 2022
Let me say that it is a very special honour to be at the closing of this inaugural Gombe State Investment Summit. I bring you the very warm greetings and congratulations of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on the success of this inaugural summit.
I would like to specially thank my brother and friend, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya and the Government and People of Gombe State for the very warm reception that he has always given to me and the members of my team at all times that I have visited Gombe State and today also at this very successful event.
I salute Your Excellency’s focus and your determination to improve the fortunes of Gombe State, especially by positioning it for investments from both foreign and local investors. I would also like to thank all of our guests from the private sector and investment community; your presence and participation have contributed significantly to the success of this summit.
This inaugural Summit, GoInvest, is consistent with Gombe State’s mission to create an enabling environment for sustainable prosperity, peace, cohesion and an all-inclusive development for the people of the State, as contained in the Development Agenda for Gombe State (DEVAGOM) 2021 – 2030.
The Development Plan itself is perhaps one of the few by a subnational to articulate a detailed long-term vision and plan towards the transformation of the State. In addition, the State developed a full Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) covering the last two years 2020-2022. So, DEVAGOM 2021-2030, is both a visioning exercise and a concrete road map to the long-term growth and sustainable development of Gombe State.
I am delighted that we are beginning to harvest the first fruits of the plan. One of those is the remarkable feat of attaining the first position in the Subnational Ease of Doing Business Baseline Survey Report of 2021. I am also informed that Gombe State was recently invited by the world-renowned Royal Institute of International Affairs, popularly known as the Chatham House, to share its experience in implementing the State’s health system reforms. These validations from different bodies, local and international could not have come by accident.
They are a product of the strong leadership and commitment that have been demonstrated by Your Excellency and I think this became even clearer even as Governor-elect in 2019, Your Excellency commissioned a Needs Assessment Survey – a vital first step towards developing a solid roadmap of reforms and programmes for the progress that we see today.
You will recall that just barely eighteen months ago, I was here in Gombe for the 27th edition of the MSME Clinics, where I visited the inspiring groundnut oil and rice processing hub, where tons of groundnut oil and hundreds of bags of rice are being produced on a daily basis.
Today, we can confidently say that Gombe is taking its investment drive to the ‘next level’ with this Summit. The business environment is critical to the prosperity of our great country. (The Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy captured the context very well, that the business environment, what we do and what we are able to do for the private sector, are critical for the prosperity of our great country). This has become even more critical as we have an incredible opportunity with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The AfCFTA stands to impact the Nigerian economy in several ways. One of the objectives of the Agreement fundamentally aligns with the National Development Plan and of course, with the plan that has just been laid out by Gombe State. In boosting the competitiveness of Nigeria’s exports, the trade agreement serves as a solid platform for cooperation on infrastructure, development, investment, technology transfer and innovation.
So, there is a clear impetus for all branches and levels of the Nigerian Government as well as the private sector, to deliver concrete, ambitious and critical policy interventions in order to take full advantage of the opportunities for the economy and, by extension, the entire continent. That is why in the past six years, the Federal Government has aggressively pursued, under the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) initiatives, the creation of an environment that allows Nigerian businesses, at every level, to operate without the bottlenecks and drawbacks that have come to characterize their interface with agencies and regulators.
I am glad that Gombe State is at the centre of the business enabling reforms, which informs your standing as the number 1 State in the subnational ease of doing business survey report ranking. As captured by responses from the private sector in the report, Gombe leads the frontier in Infrastructure and Security indicators, as well as in Skills and Labour indicators.
The State also ranked second in the regulatory environment indicator. Among the implemented reforms which led to that result, include the waiver on business premises registration for all new businesses, and the downward review of Right-of-Way charges from N1,500 to N145. Businesses also reported that registering property can be completed in about 7 days in Gombe State.
Gombe State also provides incentives such as the free allocation of land to new businesses with an investment of at least N100 million. Such businesses are also able to enjoy waivers on annual ground rent at the initial stages of their establishment.
These reforms are being completed against the background of a stable security situation in the State and investments in critical infrastructure and human development. But perhaps in my own view, the most poignant affirmation of the belief of Gombe State in the notion that government must catalyse economic growth with both policy measures and brick and mortar, is the commencement in 2021 of the 1000-hectare Muhammadu Buhari Industrial Park. We are now told that the first phase of it is ready – over 369 hectares of that is ready.
This is to be a purpose-built fully resourced manufacturing and industrial processing hub, designed to accommodate 10 mega factories. The project is important for the value-added functions of the factories and accretion to both internal and national revenue and the jobs that it will create -10,000 direct and 100,000 indirect jobs.
I continue to follow the progress of the Gombe State Health Insurance Scheme as well, which was only launched a few months before the MSME Clinics and has now enrolled 100,000 residents including over 40,000 poor and vulnerable under the GoHealth scheme.
These investments in human capital development alongside physical infrastructure development are the strong foundations for the rapid development led by small and medium enterprises. This aligns with the vision of this State, to be the industrial hub of the Northeast of our country.
I think it is fascinating that Governor Yahaya has approached the development of the State by thinking like a Sovereign state as opposed to thinking as a subnational. This explains why he took the trouble to draw up a 10-year development plan, an MTEF, and takes the issues of creating an enabling business environment seriously. And this is as it should be. Gombe could rank very easily as a Sovereign State; its GDP is almost three times the GDP of Gambia and it is almost at the same level as the GDP of Liberia.
So, when you compare this State to actual Sovereign States, you will see clearly that the only way to plan the growth of this State is to plan it as you would plan the growth of a country. And I am very happy that Governor Inuwa Yahaya is doing that.
As a progressive government, we remain committed to policies and reform efforts that are geared towards economic diversification and improved productivity. We are proud of the giant strides that Gombe State has recorded so far, but more importantly, we are confident of the successful results of the programmes currently being implemented by the State Government and those that are underway in the areas of health, industrialization, and agriculture.
We must all remain dedicated and focused especially towards the economic diversification and improved productivity of our country. So, we are proud of the giant strides that Gombe State has recorded so far. And we hope that all of what we will be seeing in the next few years will be even more poignant and even much better than what we are seeing today.
It is also evident to some of us that this State is poised for greater things in the next few years, and from what we see currently being implemented by the State Government, it is clear that what we will see in another couple of years will be much better than what we have seen in the past few years.
Gombe has become a reference point for business climate reforms. I think this encourages existing and potential investors, local and foreign, to embrace the opportunities available in the State.
Let me once again thank the business community – private sector and international investors for standing up to the current local and global challenges of doing business today. The future of our country rests in the hands of business owners, entrepreneurs all over this State and all of our country.
The successes that we have seen here in Gombe are substantially on account of the effective collaboration of the private sector, the State Government and the Federal Government. Our Federation benefits our people when the States and Federal authorities alongside private actors think and work together.
Let me again reemphasize the Federal Government’s pledge to work with the Gombe State Government, to give you all the support that you need in order to ensure that your businesses and the business environment succeed.
God bless Gombe State and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
ANTI PARTY ACTIVITIES: Esan Central APC, Suspends Nine Leaders, Appoints Bello
Nine Leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Esan Central LGA have been suspended at an extraordinary meeting held this evening at Irrua, the LGA capital.
The suspended leaders include APC State Vice Chairman, Chief Francis Inegbeniki, Esan Central foremost Party Leader, Prince Willy Shaka Momodu, Ward Leader, Hon Abudu Ugbesia, among six others.
The suspended nine APC leaders are alleged to have held a clandestine meeting at a hotel in Eidenu, Irrua on the eve of the House of Assembly election and resolved to work against their party candidate for the House of Assembly election, Hon Victor Edoror. It is alleged that they were induced by the ruling party and their grand conspiracy to disallow Hon Edoror to get into the House and become the Speaker which might scuttle their agenda for Esan governor candidate from Esan Central LGA.
The meeting which was attended enmass by angry members and party executives of the party across the LGA appointed former LGA Councillior, and House of Assembly election aspirant, Hon. Bello Oyaziwolo, as the acting Leader, to oversee the affairs of the party pending the determination of the investigation into the degree of involvement of each of the suspended leader.
Interestingly, the Deputy Leader of the Party in Esan Central LGA and former Vice Chairman of the LGA, Hon Francis Ubene, was exempted from suspension because preliminary investigation revealed that he was in the meeting allegedly called by Chief Inegbeniki, but he refused to agree with their alleged plan to sabotage the election for Hon Edoror because according to him “I have forgiven him and if I have forgiven him, I cannot work against him or the party”.
Speaking with Hon Bello, after the appointment, the new LGA Leader said he was not interested in Leading the party for selfish reasons but would commit himself to helping the party rid itself of betrayals and inept leaders in the LGA and hopefully allow a free process to produce the next LGA Leader.
Delta: Oborevwori’s Victory, A Turning Point, Says Ebireri
Media Consultant, Henry Ebireri, has urged Delta State governor-elect, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori to embark only on programmes that are genuine, attainable, purposeful, durable and people-oriented.
He also urged him to make a significant impact at improving the lot of the masses.
In a statement in Sapele, the media consultant described the March 18 governorship election in Delta State as ‘’’a turning point, a landmark in the history of the oil rich state’’.
He appealed to Oborevwori to steer Delta State in the needed direction.
‘’There is a very high expectation from the governor-elect by the people. He must direct his energy towards inculcating the spirit of self-reliance among the citizenry through economic and empowerment programmes’’
The media professional listed security, youth and women empowerment, agriculture, health, education, infrastructural development, industrial revolution, cultural and tourism rebirth, communication and sports development as key areas to be addressed by the governor-elect.
The statement underscored the future of Delta youths infrastructure and security challenges.
He urged Oborevwori to be fair to all.
He also urged him to recruit only qualified, competent and meritorious hands to help him develop the oil-rich state.
‘’They should be people of integrity, honesty and trust. The team should comprise only tested, dedicated, loyal, courageous, selfless, focused and visionary men and women’’
Ebireri further commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his immense contribution to the political development of Delta State.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege Rejects INEC’s Declaration of Oborevwori As Winner of Delta Poll
A while ago, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta State announced Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, gubernatorial flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor-elect following the March 18 governorship election.
The declaration was made despite the myriad of infractions and acts of impunity on the part of the PDP in the course of the election. These were brought to the attention of INEC with incontrovertible proof.
The March 18 election was characterized by massive fraud, unprecedented vote buying and voter suppression perpetrated by the PDP in the course of the election.
The fraudulent nature of PDP’s so-called victory are just too damning and daring for it to be acceptable in any decent society. Most of those infractions are on the public domain and known to INEC officials and the security agencies involved in superintending the election.
In the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the results pointed to an unequivocal rejection of the PDP. Of the three senatorial zones in the state, APC won two while PDP controversially edged out the Labour Party in the Delta North Senate race.
It was an unadulterated verdict of Deltans on how they have fared under 24 years of governance of their state by PDP.
On the basis of the factors listed and more that will come later, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, governorship candidate of the APC in Delta State as well as the leadership of the party, unequivocally reject the declaration by INEC of Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori of the PDP as winner of the March 18 governorship election.
We will challenge this fraudulent result using all legal means.
As a democrat and Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege will explore all lawful avenues to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the good people of Delta State.
To the numerous supporters of APC and the entire public that share in Omo-Agege’s vision of building a new Delta State, we urge you all to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding.
I can assure all our teeming supporters and all Deltans that the PDP pyrrhic celebration of a stolen mandate will be short-lived.
By the grace of God and the clearly expressed wish of the people, this electoral heist will be reversed and Senator Omo-Agege will be sworn in on May 29, 2023 as the lawfully elected Governor of Delta State.
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate and Governorship Candidate of APC, Delta State, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege
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