Gov. Fubara vows to change economic fortunes of Rivers

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara (middle); shared ideas with some business leaders during a cocktail reception in honour of participants and delegates to the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday night.

Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt 

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has vowed to sustain the drive at mobilizing critical stakeholders with attractive investment portfolios in the business community to join forces with his administration to change the economic growth trajectory of the State.

Speaking at a cocktail party at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday night, Governor Fubara told the captains of businesses that the economic summit will provide salient data that will assist his administration in drawing up an economic roadmap for the State.

The cocktail reception was organized by the Rivers State Government in honour of the participants and delegates to the Rivers State Economic and Investment Summit 2024.

Governor Fubara emphasized the need to awaken the State from its economic slumber and assume its known status as an economically viable State to compete with countries considered to be advanced and developed.

He said, “In the real sense of it, Rivers State is noted for very special things. And what are those things? Peace-loving people, very industrious people. Even from the ancient days, we are farmers in the hinterland. We are fishermen; those that live on the coastline, and we are very hardworking.

“Today, because of industrialization, because of white collar jobs, and too much education, what we do is to wear very expensive suits, stay in an office, sign the papers and you know the next thing that happens? I don’t want to mention it!”

Governor Fubara stated: “But we need to move the State forward. We have been one of the most, would I say, economically viable states before this time but somehow, a few things went wrong, and we found ourselves where we are today.

“Today, we have called everybody. We have called the whole world. You represent the world, and we are telling you that we want to change the trajectory of our State. We want to see our State move like every other developing nation.

“Rivers State, if it were to be any other place, should be a country of its own. We have all the resources: we have oil, we have gas, we have every other valuable resource. The world is moving towards a blue economy, and we have a wonderful coastline,” he said.

Governor Fubara, who thanked them, and indeed, all those who had contributed and supported the success of today which is the first day, assured that there was a bigger success coming, which will reflect in the anticipated industrialization of the State.

The Governor confessed that “most expectations might have been met and some other things had not been executed perfectly at this first instance but the most important thing is to start a process, and that has been done.

“Forgive us where we have not gotten it right. Help us to correct our wrongs. But see to what you can do to help us move our State forward.

“I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again: Our commitment is to Rivers State people first. If Rivers State is not succeeding, there won’t be a struggle for political control.

“So, let it be that I’m improving Rivers State, so, that there will be heavy tussle for political control. At least, history will remember me for that,” he added.

In his opening remarks, former Commissioner of, the state Ministry of Finance, Dr. Chamberlain Peterside, said it took quite a bit of work to put the platform together, adding that with His Excellency giving a listening ear, the idea of an economic and investment summit had materialized.

Dr. Peterside stated that the overriding purpose is to begin to network and engage business minds for the cross-fertilization of business ideas that can translate into enduring economic gains beyond mere consumption.

He said, “As I was stepping into this hall with my friend, Engr Braide, he reminded me that the last time we had a similar event was over 13 years ago.

“And, therefore, it is a very remarkable evening that His Excellency, the current Governor deemed it fit to create a platform like this, to bring together business executives from far and near, coming to mingle with his cabinet, with his whole governance team.”

Dr Peterside said further: “He granted us the audience, we made proposals, and he approved them based on the fact that we should hold this event. I believe that this will be the first in a series of engagements between his administration and the private sector.

“You will be very surprised that a lot of policy initiatives can come from the private sector. The private sector is the engine room that drives economic growth.

“Therefore, His Excellency considered it imperative and necessary to bring the private sector into a pool whereby you can continuously engage, interact, and make sure that your voices, needs, aspirations, and desires are heard in the governance process and business growth of the State.”

He expressed optimism that the outcome of the summit will crystalize buoyant and robust economic growth and development in the State, adding that with the foundation now in place, all stakeholders need to explore opportunities created for the benefit of Rivers people and Nigerians.