By Kevin Okunzuwa
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo, says his administration has redesigned and re-engineered the state for social- economic and infrastructural growth to compete with any state globally.
Obaseki, who stated this at the 7th Alaghodaro summit in Benin, said the process of shared opportunity that had led Edo into the future, started seven years ago during his first Alaghodaro summit.
“In laying the foundation for the future, we identified seven areas which are, education, institutional reforms, economic, investment, agriculture, manufacturing and production.
“All the things we set for ourselves in our first summit have been achieved,” he said.
According to Obaseki, with the challenges Nigeria is facing now, the federal government has to go back and redesign and reengineer the country if we have to experience growth and move the nation forward.
“We are lucky that we took this step this seven years ago in our first Alaghodaro summit.
“What the country is facing now means we must go back to redesign and re-engineer the country for growth.
“We have 200 million people yearning for good and services every day but we don’t have the foreign exchange earning to support the level of import that we have seen over the years.
“We are paying the price of not been able to hold the value of our local currency,” he said.
Obaseki said the key to changing the narrative as a country or state was to encourage production.
According to him, ” 70 per cent of what we import in to the country can be produced in Edo state.
“So, if government is redesigned to work with the private sector to have more productions going on in the country, then we would reduce the pressure on the foreign exchange.
“Whether in educational or health service among other services”
He said there was no reason paying two to three billion annually on school fee abroad, saying that it was the reason he and his predecessor in collaboration with the private sector established an excellent university affiliated with schools in Europe and America.
“So that parents would not send their children out there.
” The future we see is to have the best educational institution where every child must have a skill, vocation by age 15 and a global source and destination for tech talents, health tourism among others.
“So, we just need as a state and country to focus on production and the key to ensuring that we produce.
“The thing we need is to train our people, ensuring our educational system is right and people have skills because the raw materials already exist and it is not rocket science.”
He, however, said that the last seven years in Edo state has shown that it is possible that we can make Nigeria great again.
Earlier, the summit chairman, Mr Asuen Ighodalo said the summit was being organised to showcase the progress recorded in transforming the state into an investment haven.
He stated that the Alaghodaro Summit was a platform used to interact with business people to exchange ideas that could move the state forward.
Mr. Patrick Iyamabo, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, First Bank of Nigeria limited, was among the special guests at the colourful ceremony, held at the festival Hall, government House.
Some of the participants, who spoke to Journalists, described Alaghodaro summit’s partnership with first bank, celebrating its 130 years of financial stability in 2023, as very rewarding.
“Imagine having to tap into the financial expertise of strong institutions like first bank, with long standing record of financial stsbility, would obviously galvanise the economic viability of Edo state to the desired next level” Mr Samson Aibangbe, a participant said.