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After Oil, What Next? First Investment And Business Development Summit By NDDC

The first investment and Business Development summit organized by NDDC was held on 21st June, 2012 at the Atlantic Hall, Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt.
The hall was jam-packed by participants and other stakeholders drawn from the nine Oil producing states. The summit was mainly youth focused.
The importance of the summit to NDDC was not to be over emphasized, as the MD and Chairman of the Governing Board of NDDC was present. Other dignitaries, including the Acting Director of Youth Directorate, MS. Rachel Omo Oddiri as well as guest lecturers were also present at the occasion.
Speaking, the MD of NDDC, Dr. Chris Oboh, in his opening remark asked youths to take over and put forward credible suggestions on what to do when oil is no more! Saying that youths are full of ideas and that they should reason together, so that they can offer tangible suggestions that would help build them up as future millionaires.
On his part, the Chairman of the summit, Dr. Ezekiel Olajide, revealed that 70% of our national revenue was generated from crude oil, gotten from the Niger Delta Region and that in 35 40 years crude oil may disappear. It is estimated that 70% of Niger Delta people are living in poverty, saying that the question After oil what next? was apt. He stated that our leaders make deals to benefit themselves only and thanked the President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for his interest in the youths and getting them equipped and hoped that their future would be great.
Thereafter, the Special Assistant to the MD, harped on why of the summit? He said the summit was to discuss the future, to minimize restiveness in the Niger Delta Region by investing in the youths saying that the summit was not merely a design but what he called the best practices, a vehicle of great necessity to shape, develop and manage the Niger Delta Region, optimally.
He opined that there was the compelling need to join hands with NDDC, the organizers of the event, to preach investment to the vibrant youths who do business in the Region. He strongly advised the youths to key into the summit, to become key players in the Niger Delta economy.
He asserted that the idea was that the summit should metamorphose to become a strategic partner with NDDC, an organization committed to empowering the youths of the Niger Delta Region.
Contributing, the Chairman of the governing Board of NDDC, Dr. Tarilah Tebepah said that the summit was highly significant and that the youths should show greater concern about development after crude oil has exhausted, to avoid catastrophe.
He reiterated that a lot of finance was needed for infrastructural, human, resource development and entrepreneurship which involved ability to take risk and start business.
He stated that NDDC as an interventionist agency has constructed well above 4,000 roads, canals etc and that 70% of its budget was spent on infrastructural development. He said further that NDDC has trained 5,000 youths and provided N1billion to them to finance their businesses.
In spite of these, he said that NDDC was ready to do more, especially for the youths of Niger Delta Region by providing technological parks and development centers, commodity marketing boards, intensive training on agriculture and monitor periodically jobs created.
Emphasizing that in doing all of these, NDDC needed the co-operation of youths in the region to make the exercise a success.
Speaking, Dr. Kingsley Kuku, Chairman of the Amnesty outfit, ably represented by ‘Lanre Pepple, argued that it was not a summit on investment and business that was needed to move the youths forward. The boss of the Amnesty outfit, said that the Niger Delta Region was the wealthiest in West Africa, largest wet land in the world, after Mississippi, USA. He churned out statistics to back up his assertion, saying that 13 oil producing companies are presently doing business in the region with 159 oil fields and 1,189 oil wells.
Claiming that by 2006 population figures, the Niger Delta Region had 31.2 million people.
He emphasized that what was needed now for the youths of the Region to adjust to normal life, after the militancy is for organizations doing business in the region, to collaborate with the Amnesty outfit to develop their human capacity.
He commended Smedan and Fate Foundation in their collaborative effort with the Amnesty outfit to guide, mentor and grow the ex-militants to become decent citizens, saying that disarmament, demobilization, empowerment and employment of the ex-militants will deepen peace and security in the Niger Delta Region. He called on companies doing business in the Region to come to the aid of Amnesty outfit, in achieving this goal. He also stated that several ex-mibtants who had been granted Amnesty had been trained off shore in Aviation, pipeline welding and other skills, which has enabled them to integrate into the society as decent citizens.
Thereafter the guest lecturers took over to deliver their lectures on various topics assigned. ###
(to continue in the next edition)
By Azuka Dibie

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