Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
- Not specific on sector yet
Arthur Eze, the billionaire businessman, oil magnate and chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, says he is exploring investment opportunities in Cross River State, as he was influenced by Governor Ben Ayade’s strides in the areas of industrialisation. He is yet to specify which area catches his interest.
“Whatever Ayade does, I am interested in it; in fact, anywhere he needs me, I will follow him, because he is a young man with so much wisdom and energy. For us, the older generation, we will be leaving the scene, so these investments we will be making in Cross River is basically for the youths, who are leaders of tomorrow,” Eze said on a visit to the governor in Calabar, the state capital.
According to Eze, Governor Ayade was interpreting President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy of a ‘Nigeria without oil’ road map, by engaging in agriculture.
He commended the governor for an innovative leadership; and stated that his expected investment in the state would complement what the governor has done so far.
The business mogul undertook a tour of industrial facilities built by the Ayade administration and said he was impressed at the governor’s foresight to transform the economic fortunes of Cross River.
“I am amazed at what I have seen (in Cross River), and I must commend Governor Ayade for a fantastic job. For those of us in business, we can see a good business opportunity from miles away; and when I saw on TV what the Governor is doing, I decided to come and see for myself. I must say it is of much joy to me that this is happening in Nigeria. Therefore, Ayade must be supported, so that these investments do not go to waste,” Eze said.
Governor Ayade told the oil magnet that states (of the federation) need more local investors like him to kick start and recalibrate their economies. He informed that his administration has invested in 33 industries and that they cannot be run and operated by government, hence the need to involve private investors.
He however, did not list any of the industries.
Cross River, a coastal state within Nigeria’s Niger delta region, occupying 20,156 square kilometres was robbed of its oil-producing status in 2008 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, which ruled that oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula belonged to Cameroon Republic. Nigeria eventually handed over the territory to its eastern neighbour. The state, with an estimated $12.3 billion GDP has since 2004 been focusing its economic mainstay on tourism and service-driven activities. The state has some of the country’s excellent tourist facilities, topped with its year-end carnival, variously described as Africa’s largest street party which draws tens of thousands of people from around the world.
Frontpage September 13, 2018