Rivers State Very Fertile for Business—Jim Ovia

August 26, 2017
Rivers State Very Fertile for Business—Jim Ovia

By Dipo Olowookere

Founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia, has described Rivers State as an environment richly endowed and good for business.

Speaking this week in Lagos during the Showcase Session on Investment Opportunities in Rivers State, which was part of the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Visafone boss said his submission was based on his personal experience with doing business in Rivers State.

Mr Ovia, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Software Development Initiative, noted that no other state in Nigeria boasts of two seaports, two airports in addition to a youth population that is success driven with a per capita income of over $3,000, which he said were good indices for measuring prosperity and economic opportunities.

He said the economy of Rivers State compared favourably with countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Ghana and assured that the state was on a steady path of prosperity.

Former Governor of Cross River State, Mr Donald Duke, who was present at the Showcase session along with his wife, Mrs Onari Duke, was quite emphatic about the investment opportunities in Rivers State.

Mr Duke who said, “The taste of the pudding is in the eating,” also declared that from experience, he could tell that Rivers State was good for business.

Earlier, Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike, who described himself as the Chief Marketer of the state, in his welcome address, informed participants that the achievements recorded in his two years in office could not have been but for the presence of peace and security in Rivers State.

The Governor, represented by the Attorney General of Rivers State and Commissioner of Justice, Mr Emmanuel Aguma (SAN), used the opportunity to call on Rivers people to be proud of their identity and heritage and rise to defend the image of their state.

He noted in particular, that although a state like Lagos, has had the prevalence of kidnappings, ritual killings and cult crises from Badoo cultists, Lagosians have neither taken business out of Lagos nor demarketed Lagos State in any way.

“In this Lagos State, children have been kidnapped from schools. We don’t experience this in Rivers State. Yet nobody has taken business out of Lagos as a result. We hear of Badoo cult clashes in Lagos State. Yet, business is still thriving in Lagos. Lagosians have not called Lagos all manner of unprintable names. It is this same attitude we must adopt as Rivers people. We must refuse to demarket our State especially since no society is free of crime,” he said, adding that “the investment in security by the Rivers State government was second to none in the Nigerian federation and that the confidences of the business community and residents were always assured.”

In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Mahmoud Abubakar (SAN), commended Governor Wike for his support to the association and his development-focused governance to the people of Rivers State and called on investors to freely take advantage of the opportunities available in Rivers State to expand the frontiers of their businesses.

The highpoint of the session was the presentation on investment opportunities in Rivers State by Director General of the Rivers State Bureau for Public-Private Partnerships, Mr Nimi Walson-Jack, which covered agriculture, hospitality, tourism, housing and power.

Presentation also showcased existing opportunities for Public-Private Partnership.

The showcase session, which was a mix of legal practitioners and members of the business community from across Nigeria, was chaired by former President of the NBA, Mr Onueze Chukwujinka Okocha (SAN).

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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