Bassey James is the Chancellor, Akpabiosm Centre for Leadership. He is also the founder of Southern Youths Development Forum and was a member of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign committee. In this chat he speaks on the industrialisation project of incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Udom Emmanuel among others
You have always called on investors to come to Akwa-Ibom state and take advantage of investment opportunities. What incentives are there for investors?
We started this journey several years ago by inviting investors to come to Akwa Ibom. We have clearly stated that Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria is the best place to invest because we have stability in terms of economic development, stability in terms of politics, stability in security and we have a willing government that listens and the people there are ready to work.
So, everything that an investor needs is already in Akwa Ibom State because the state is strategically positioned by God to service the needs of the entire South-South, South East and the Gulf of Guinea. We have done several seminars in Lagos, Abuja and some other parts of Nigeria.
Under Akpabiosm, we had the opportunity of having the present governor, Udom Emmanuel, speak on the investment opportunities in Akwa Ibom, in Lagos and in Abuja, even when he was not the governor. So having becoming the governor of Akwa Ibom State, he behoves us to go to the streets, to the markets, to the entire world to announce the Akwa Ibom project to everybody.
Today, if you talk about the most stable state in Nigeria, it is Akwa Ibom State. If you talk about hospitality, you can find it in abundance. If you talk about a conducive atmosphere for investors, the place is Akwa Ibom.
I think with the infrastructure that we have on ground, with the level of development that my governor has done across the state, there is need for people to tap the untapped resources in terms of agricultural development, the land is wonderful. In terms of human capital development, the people are ready. In terms of sustainability, it is perfect.
On Udom’s industrialisation project
Two weeks ago, Governor Udom Emmanuel went to Pickup Paints. It was one of the best paints manufacturers in Africa, not just in Nigeria but unfortunately that industry was allowed to die. For Udom Emmanuel to have come to visit that factory gave a lot of us hope that he is coming with a basket of industries in the state.
So with Udom, I think that the Pickup Paints will hit the market and the ceramics industry may be coming back. Independent Power Plant has already started working. So, cottage industry, small and medium scale enterprises is the way out. I challenge the Bank of Industry to come to Akwa Ibom State.