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‘I’ll make Kogi investment destination for local, foreign investors’ – Gov Ododo

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Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo, has vowed to make the state an attractive investment destination for local and foreign investors.

Ododo pledged this in his inaugural speech on Saturday in Lokoja.

According to the new governor of Kogi State, his administration will be aggressive, deliberate and strategic in making the business environment attractive.

“Kogi has all it takes to fulfil Nigeria’s dream of becoming the industrial hub of the global south. We are one of the most endowed states in Nigeria, with abundant mineral resources and many gifts of nature. Kogi is where two of Africa’s biggest rivers, Niger and Benue, form a confluence.

“The huge water bodies can serve in the areas of transportation, agriculture and tourism. We have all it takes with the many rivers and dams in the state to produce food all year round with all seasons of farming.

“We must produce what we eat, eat what we produce and produce what others eat. Aside from the very valuable mineral resources our state is blessed with, we have no excuse not to be the food basket of Africa with the robust agricultural platforms already put in place by my leader and predecessor, His Excellency Alh. Yahaya Bello.

“I, therefore, call on the global investment community to see Kogi as the destination of choice. Our environment is safe for investment and our policies are friendly. We will protect the investors and the interests of our people. Kogi is the place to be.

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“Our economy shall witness remarkable improvements on the back of the solid foundation laid by the administration of my predecessor as we further open up our state to investors willing to collaborate with us under a robust public-private partnership framework.

“For the past few years, we have been working on how to launch our confluence and our state on the world tourism map. In the next couple of months, we are hopeful that the world will make Kogi their tourism destination of choice.

“As your governor, I will be at the forefront of our investment drive and we shall put in place a Diaspora Investment Platform to make every Kogite around the world our investment ambassador. It is economically imperative to build an economy that is driven by the private sector,” he said.

The governor held that, under his leadership, Kogi State shall be one of the sub-national hubs of pilot projects for key drivers of the Federal Government’s programmes in food security, poverty eradication, job creation, access to capital, inclusion, rule of law, the fight against corruption and overall economic growth, which would have local adaptation to the realities of Kogi State.

He promised to build on the enviable achievements of his predecessors, adding that his unprecedented life-changing achievements in virtually all sectors of the economy have now formed a solid base for his administration to build on.

Ododo also commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his intervention in ensuring that the governorship election in Kogi State did not descend into a war of attrition by promoters of various political interests in the state.

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He equally commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, security agencies and other critical stakeholders in the electoral process for ensuring a peaceful, free, fair and transparent election in Kogi State.

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While stressing the need to preserve the freedom of all citizens who deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness and aspiration for any position in the state without fear of discrimination based on tribal or religious inclination, Ododo noted: “Kogi State cannot afford to revert to the fractured psyche riddled with scars of ethnicity that violated the age-long values and the very fabrics that bound our people together. As a people, we must remain faithful and true to the ideals and dreams of our founding fathers.”

The new Kogi State governor assured that his administration will deliver on its promise of a united, secure, progressive and prosperous state.

According to him: “This is the time for us to commence the process towards achieving a charter of equity on power rotation in the state because it is now apparent that no single senatorial district in our state can go it alone without the cooperation and support of others who are co-equals in the political configuration of the state.

“Our government shall hit the ground running with people-oriented programmes and projects delivered with the utmost focus on the wellbeing of our people and we shall govern with transparency, probity and accountability at all times.

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“As we grapple with challenges of the past, we must reckon that it is indeed a new beginning, and we must therefore work together to stem the tide of greed and irresponsibility in whatever guise, shape or form. We must be prepared to make hard choices in our collective efforts to birth a new day in our state.

“In this new era, more homes shall be built, more jobs will be created, businesses will blossom, and our farmlands will thrive. There are real challenges in the nation’s economy, particularly as regards foreign exchange, unemployment and inflationary trends.

“We must dig deep and roll up our sleeves to confront these challenges in the real sector as a sub-national government ready to make a difference. This will require us to look at the low-hanging fruit, such as completing all the critical infrastructural projects of the immediate past administration that are dear to the well-being of our people and tapping into existing opportunities for partnership with the Federal Government.

“These will focus more on our areas of comparative advantage, such as solid minerals and steel development, agriculture, marine and blue economy, tourism and creative economy, as well as information technology and digital economy, where our youth population with tremendous energy can be hugely mobilised to become key players in the value chain.”

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