Monday, 25 January 2016

GOV. UGWUANYI’S INVESTMENT DRIVE IN IRELAND

Rt. Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State Governor
If there is a time any government at any level in Nigeria should wear a thinking cap it is now. This is due to the dwelling economic situation following the sudden crash in the price of crude oil, which Nigeria has over depended on for years.

People have often said that this is not the best time to be governor in Nigeria especially in the Eastern part states that are mainly civil servants states. The present government in Enugu State was not oblivious of these stark realities. It was for this reason that the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on assumption office showed that he wore his thinking cap by setting out a clear-cut agenda and vision on how to govern the state with its little resources for the benefits of the people. Knowing that his government cannot do it alone, Chief Ugwuanyi and his team in a bid to attract foreign investors to the state recently honoured an investment summit invitation in Dublin, Ireland.

The summit was organised by Metro Eireann which is run by Metro Publishing Consultancy Limited, the primary source of news and information on Ireland’s growing immigrant and ethnic communities. The governor’s first port of call was a visit to the Dublin Bus, Ireland’s gigantic and very successful transport company with a view to learning first hand, how the company is run so that Enugu government could tinker with domesticating snippets of its success story into the Enugu State Transport Company. The visit also offered the governor and his team the opportunity of touring the headquarters of Guinness in Dublin, especially in view of the fact that whereas Heineken has about the largest of its plants in Enugu, Guinness which acquired a large expanse of land in the state has left it unutilised in the past years.

For two days, investors gathered at Dublin City’s Westin Hotels venue of the event to brainstorm on investment opportunities which offered the Enugu State delegation to Ireland the opportunity to lay bare the vast investment opportunities that abound in the state. It also opened up a lot of vistas for Enugu government to enter into concrete and temporary agreements on mutual cooperation in the areas of agriculture, education, commerce and industry.

Part of such agreements was the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Enugu State government and the authorities of the Dublin City University Ireland to work together to promote mutual relations between the two parties for purposes of developing education in the state in a manner that would also offer value to the university.

According to the document signed at the university in the presence of Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, ‘the Dublin City University (DCU) and the Enugu agencies will enter into reciprocal visits relationship where the university would have to examine opportunities to broker relationships with funding agencies and other higher education institutes in conjunction with the Enugu government and other parties both nationally and internationally.’
                            
In the same vein, the former president of Ireland, Berie Ahern, is making moves to assist the Enugu State government in its current drive to shore up its economy through the expansion of its revenue base by shopping for investors and donor agencies just as scores of prospective investors have held talks with the state governor and state government officials who were in the European country in the past days in search of investors.

Also in line with the successes recorded in the series of negotiations during which Governor Ugwuanyi led the Enugu delegation made up of top government functionaries and leaders of the state Economic Advisory Committee, the President of the Dublin City University, Brian MacCraith, and other officials of the university are already billed to attend the Enugu State Economic Summit scheduled to take place in March this year in Enugu, the state capital.

Speaking at the award night, Chief Ugwuanyi who featured in the internal category told the gathering of diplomats, serving and former Irish government officials as well as members of the Nigerian community that his 11-man delegation was in that foreign country specifically on investment drive in view of the scary situation in the global oil market which is currently making Nigeria’s economy become on edge.

He also told the gathering which was also addressed by a former Irish minister of Trade and Development, Mr. Joe Castelo, that he is dedicating the award to the good people of Enugu State back home whom he described as true heroes of democracy in view of their support to his administration in a current stoic philosophy of belt-tightening to shore up the economy of the state.

Nigerian Embassy’s Charge d’Affaires in Ireland, Mr. Olusola Iginla, who witnessed the investment summit and the award night, commended the exemplary drive of the governor and other government officials during the three-day working visit, saying it is the needed disposition for all political office holders in Nigeria in view of the current economic gridlock staring the nation in the face.

In his speech, Chairman Enugu State Economic Advisory Committee, Prof. Obiora Ike, who was also on the delegation told the gathering that Enugu State was lucky to have Chief Ugwuanyi at the helm of affairs at this critical period.   Apart from Mr. Terence Modebe, a Nigerian-Irish who is already working on a range of investments on agriculture in Adani, Enugu State as well as on other economic ventures, in the state, the Enugu delegation held very crucial talks with other prospective investors who look good to storm Enugu shortly.

On the delegation of the Enugu government to Ireland are three commissioners, namely Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, his Commerce and Industry counterpart, Mr. Sam Ogbu Nwobodo and that of Agriculture, Mike Ene, who took samples of pineapples from Enugu’s Sna carlos farms to Dublin for the summit as well as the governor’s Special Adviser on Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Olangwa Ezekwu, and Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Donatus Uzogbado, Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Committee, Prof. Obiora Ike, Chief Mrs. Lauretta Aniagolu who is a member of the committee, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Uwakwe Abugu, SSA to the governor on investments, Nnamdi Chime and the SSA for the Governor’s Office, Dubem Onyia (Jnr)

While in Dublin, the governor and his team were not only prudent and exemplary in words and actions, they were focused and determined to get result. It is obvious that it will not take long the result of the visit will start manifesting in various sectors of the state’s economy. Surprisingly, some online bloggers have already gone hay-wire with manipulated photographs, alleging that Governor Ugwuanyi and his team visited Dublin for jamboree. Considering the nature of Nigerian politics, such mudslinging and armchair criticism is expected. Chief Ugwuanyi and his team should not be deterred or disturbed by it, likewise the foreign investors that were billed to attend Enugu Economic Summit in March. (Source: Guardian)