By Olowogboyega Oyebade
Do you know that by 17th November,2019, Mr AdegboyegaOyetola will be one year in Office? Apart from stabilizing the State on all fronts by running an open administration as he pledged, and apart from promoting security and welfare, do you know that he has broken the jinx of Iwo/Osogbo Road? Do you remember that during his address at inauguration, he promisedto create 30, 000 jobs? Are you aware that our State is gold-denominated? Do you know that our agricultural land allows for the practice of all forms of agriculture? Do you know that our natural energy budget of insolation of full 12 hours per day of sunshine, 8 months of regular precipitation and just about 3 months of harmattan cannot be better than that any where in the world? Do you know that a subject like Environmental Economics will sell like hot-cakes in this State if it is introduced? Have you taken time to see the ambience of our lush vegetation? Do you know that as we speak, Power Holding Company has its National Distribution Centre here in Osogboand by that Osogbo enjoys 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply?
Do you know that our common Yoruba Language is enough asset? Do you know that the world is waiting for our traditional attires? Do you know that Yoruba Language is spoken by major groups in Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina, the United States? Do you know that they bear Yoruba names, worship Yoruba gods, and are always eager to come home? Do you know that Yoruba people have commanding attention in all countries of West Africa and Britain? Do you know that the presence of Ife alone, as the cradle of our race, is more valuable to turn our collective poverty to wealth? Do you know that Chief Yemi Elebuibon is a mobile intellectual property for our race and can yield billions of Dollars to our State if we could package him?
Do you know that Ifewara, the home of internationally revered Pastor Adeboye is still a sleeping town, begging us to refer investors to the place to site a University in honour of our collective brand of christianity? Do you know that Economics of Religion should be a compulsory course in our schools as we are blessed with popular founders of various faiths in our State? Do you know that the Deeper Life University and the Ansar UdDeen Universities are presently on stream to jump-start the economy of the State? Are you aware that Baba Sala (Moses Olaiya) was our own version of Williams Shakespeare to our world? What of Duro Ladipo? What of Ogunmola? What of OyinAdejobi and his popular “KootuAsipa”? Why are we so blessed? But why are so poor, begging for crumps from the drying oil wells of the Deltans?
Do you know that siting international hotels and amusement parks along Osun Groove will automatically make the economy of the State capital to be dollar-denominated? Do you know that there are nine Universities, and about 15 Polytechnics and Colleges of Education that are already in place to train the manpower needed including training in Tourism and Environmental Economics? Do you know that getting serious investors into our gold mine will put us in the Stock Market maps of the world? Do you know that wooing Telecommunication Companies to create IT-Hubs for our youths around Ife and Osogbo corridor may create our own version of Silicon-Valley for Nigeria?
Do you know that our population of about 4.3 million people is our very huge asset? Do you know that by our population in 2019, we are half of Switzerland (8,591,365), half of Israel (8,519,377), just a few people less than Singapore (5,804,337) and Norway (5,378,857), very close in population to New Zealand (4,783,063), more populous than Panama (4,246,439), Kuwait (4,207,083), higher in population of Gabon(2,172,579) and Lesotho (2,125,268) put together, equal in population to Latvia(1,906,743), Bahrain (1,641,172) and Luxembourg (615,729), nine times the population of Malta (440,372), ten times the population size of Brunei (433,285) and eleven times the population of Bahamas (389,482)? Do you now see that we cannot have it better? Do you know that the coming Economic and Investment Summit is to put us on this track? You care for more of the messages? Come along, with us. The statement of Williams Shakespeare interludes:“There is a tide in the affairs of men that leads to fortune, but omitted,all their voyages are bound in drift, chaos and misery.”
Do you know that Osun Economic Summit is here with us? Do you know that it comes up between 19 – 21 November, 2019,here in Osogbo? Do you know that the theme is : PATHWAY TO ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE STATE OF OSUN 2019? Do you know that the administration of Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, Governor, State of Osun, is committed to putting the State on the path of economic prosperity, and so, will be hosting an economic and investment summit this month? Are you aware that the objectives of the summit are to share with critical stakeholders, the economic roadmap of the current administration and to showcase investment opportunities in the State to both Nigerian and international investors in Agriculture, Mining, Tourism, Youth & Jobs, ICT Innovation Hub, Healthcare, Energy & Infrastructure, and Education? Do you know that notable speakers include Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. AsueIghodalo, Chairman, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. UsmanMohammed, MD/CEO, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Theophilus Onadeko, VP & Senior Investment Officer, ARM, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan. Director, Central Bank of Nigeria to mention but a few? Do you know that the Summit is essentially to fashion out strategies to drive meaningful youth employment, enhance food security, agricultural development, activate mining prospects and boost tourism potentials? Do you know that the egg-heads invited are to put their global views at our reach to unlock the huge potentials of prosperity, a hugeleap to entrepreneurship?
Are you aware that the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit was held too, between October 7th and 8th 2019 at the TranscorpHilton Hotel in Abuja focusing on 3 pillars – economic growth, competitiveness, and inclusive development? Do you know that the Summit was essentially to alert the country to shift gears to a competitive private sector-led economy, to be able to respond to the challenges of 2050? Are you aware that the Summit brought together stakeholders in private, public sector, social and political sectors, civil society, academia, international organisations, and diplomatic community to create a unifying narrative for setting a long-term national agenda that will be led by the private sector to deliver Nigeria to full technological and industrial country by 2050? Do you know that Osun Economic and Development Summit will follow the same high-resolution trajectory and get the same good results? Do you know that investors are coming to join us to prepare for 2050? Why? Have you forgotten that the United Nations has projected that Nigeria’s population will double in 2050? Do you know that this explosion will impact on infrastructure, security and welfare? Do we wait till the bubble-burst when our population will reach 400 million people?
Do you know that it is now a part of international best practices to organize Economic Summit to attract investors? Do you know that President Buhari arrived at the weekend from an Economic and Investment Summit held between October29–31, 2019 in Saudi Arabia under the auspices of Future Investment Initiative? Are you aware that the Future Investment Initiative (FII) is an annual investment forum held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss trends in the world economy and investment environment annually hosted by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia? Do you know that the first event was held in October 2017 and featured the announcements of the launch of NEOM, a proposed $500bn independent economic zone in the northwest of Saudi Arabia? Do you know that the Future Investment Initiative was announced in September 2017 by the Public Investment Fund, in the context of Vision 2030 programme of economic and social reform? Do you know that the Public Investment Fund announced several major plans at the conference, including its goal to increase its assets under management to $400 billion by 2020 to diversify into investments in six areas: Saudi equity holdings, sector development, real estate and infrastructure, mega projects, international strategic investments, and a “diversified pool” across global asset classes? Do you know that the Public Investment Fund also announced several major investments, including the finalisation of its participation in a $40 billion infrastructure fund? Do you know that the Initiative announced a proposed $500bn economic zone covering 26,000 square kilometres in northwest Saudi Arabia to build to experiment in cities, energy, climate, health, data, mobility, food, travel, sports, shopping and robotics? Do you know that President Buhariattended the Summit to seek for further investments in Nigeria?
Do you know that the Nigerian delegation attended the Summit to seek foreign investments in critical projects in the country’s oil and gas sector, particularly the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas Pipeline – the 614 km-long natural gas pipeline currently being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, accelerate discussions on the planned interest of the Saudi oil company, Aramco, to revamp Nigeria’s refineries and new investments in the oil and gas sector? Do you know that such summits are used to canvass for investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, and address global challenges? Do you know that Economic and Investment Fora are the right places where such investments are incubated? Do you know that as wealthy as Saudi Arabia is and apart from the fact that the country had just finished the hosting of the FII Summit, it still wants more from the international community? Do you know that it is to host the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2020? Do you know about G20 Summit? Come along, please.
Are you aware that the G20 is an international forum for the governments and Central Bank Governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU)? Do you know that it was founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability? Are you aware that the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 to include Heads of Government, as well as Finance Ministers and Foreign Ministers? Do you know that membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union? Do you know that .collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area? Do you know that G20 is one of the latest post–World War 2 initiatives aimed at international coordination of economic policy, which include institutions such as the InternationalMonetary Fund and the World Bank and what is now the World Trade Organization? Do you know that membership includes: Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United States, India, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea? Do you know that the organization does not have any staff nor a permanent secretariat, and that the incumbent chair establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration of its term, which coordinates the group’s work and organizes its meetings?
Do you know that the first participation of Saudi Arabia in the G20 meetings was in 2008 Washington summit in the United States, the year that the world suffered from a global economic crisis? Do you know that during that time, Saudi Arabia had the tenth largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and the second largest oil reserves? Do you know that the United States brought Saudi to leverage on its economic importance and to assist in regulating the then very volatile energy market? Do you know that the United States does not joke with Saudi’s wealth? Can you quickly flash-back to the uproar trailing the gruesome murder of Journalist Khashogi in the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey and how the American President looked the other way as if nothing was amiss? The statement of Leah to Xuma in Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams typifies the American spirit to wealth at all cost and it interludes: “ In the city, you must be hard…hard like a stone and money should be your watchword. With money, you can buy a policeman to go to jail for you.” If it were possible, the United States would have loved the world to hold the view that Kashogi only voluntarily transfigured by rapture and might be physically seen in life after life.
Do you know that the involvement of Saudi Arabia now is not for just the interest of others? Have you heard of SaudiVision 2030… the agenda to achieving macroeconomic stability, sustainable development, women empowerment, enhanced human capital, and increased flow of trade and investment to gain full global confidence? Do you know that Saudi Arabia, despite its stupendous wealth, has invited the private sectors to the sideline of the Summit to negotiate all other areas of economic investments? Can you now see that no country, no State is an Island, economically speaking? Do you know that Saudi Arabia is not just holding the Summit, it is equally moving hosting of Summit to a new level? Do you know that Janadriyah festival will be held in November next year to coincide with G20 summit in Riyadh? Do you know that the festival would provide the opportunity for visitors from around the world, all races, all faiths to enter Saudi Arabia for common economic interest? Do you know that preparations for the festival are already underway and Ministry of Culture spokesman, Abdulkarim Al-Humaid, said a strong programme of activities was being lined up to highlight the Kingdom’s rich national heritage? Can you believe that with the 2020 G20 summit of global leaders taking place in the Saudi capital on Nov. 21 and 22, 2020, the Janadriyah festival would provide the opportunity for visitors from around the world to sample some of the country’s cultural traditions as part of Vision 2030 reform plan of the Kingdom? Do you know that as a demonstration of openness to make the Summit well-attended, Saudi Arabia hosted its first World Women’s Wrestling match on 31 October 2019 in Riyadh? Do you know that the contest featured WWE stars Natalya and Lacey Evans and the pair fought in body suits and a t-shirt on top, in line with requirements for visitors to dress modestly? Do you know that in recent years Saudi Arabia has attempted to shake off its image ? Do you know that the government lifted a long-standing ban on women driving in 2018 and made changes to the male guardianship system this August,2019 by allowing women to apply for passports and travel out independently without permission from a man? Do you know that the world is opening up and we have to open up too? Do you know that Nigeria needs more Economic and Investment Summits? Do you know that they are no jamborees?
Do you know that as at 10th July, 2019, Nigeria’s debt profile was $81.27 billion with a population of 203 million people? Do you know that we need to get more loans and more investment to grow the infrastructure to bring sustainable development? Do you know that the United States we all run to, is the highest debtor with a debt over-hang of $22.03 trillion as at June, 2019 with a population of 329,700,117 as at Tuesday 29 October, 2019? Do you know that China too has external debt of US $1,4 billion despite its huge wealth and with a population of 1, 433,783,668 people? Do you know that the debt of Japan as at August, 2019 was $10,523.8 billion with a population of 126,860,301 people as at June, 2019? Do you know that the national debt of the United Kingdom at the end of March, 2019was (f1.8 trillion) or $4,972,683,600 trillion with a population of 67,649,771 as of Friday, 1 November, 2019? Can you now see that the ratio of our debt to our population is too low? Do you know that we need more loans to fix signature infrastructure in Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Construction of new refineries, hospitals, roads, education, irrigation, machinery and other meaningful infrastructure? Do you know that we need loans for full social security for all Nigerians, giving jobs to the unemployed, financial assistance to those challenged and the senior citizens, providing mass housing to the people and promoting health insurance for all? Do you know that these are the ways societies are graded? Do you know that our problem is not about loan but about servicing it with about 60 percent of our annual budget? Do you know that we can only exit from the huge servicing cost only if all our productive capacity is utilized and all of us pay our tax without being forced? Do you know that forceful tax regime threatens the legitimacy of government? Do you know remember the Arab Spring? Do you know that our State and country need more investments to raise employment data to liberate many people from the claws of poverty?
Do you know that the world’s annual spending on major projects will hit $9 trillion by 2025? Do you know the current population of all countries in Africa as at Wednesday 30 October 2019 was1,318,717,841 which is equivalent to 16.72 percent of the total world population? Do you know that the annual total fund for infrastructure for the entire continent of Africa is $93 billion which is 0.01 %? Can you see the resource gap of a continent having 16.72 percent of the world population and having only access of 0.01 % of fund annually to develop infrastructure? Can you now see the reason why African leaders including President Buhari are shuttling around the world to plead for more investment in their respective countries because of the huge gaps? Do you now see why more Economic and Investment Summits should be held to attract these investors to our area? Do you know that as at 5th September, 2019, China has promised to continue funding infrastructure projects under its Road Initiative in Africa despite growing criticism by the United States? As President Buhari was sealing investment agreements in Saudi Arabia, do you know that Vice President Osinbajo was incubating another vital economic agreement in Nigeria for us? Come along.
Do you know that every State and country looks for economic opportunities? Do you know that Nigeria and Vietnam have signed exchange of the Memorandum of Understanding on waiver of visa requirements for holders of Valid Diplomatic and Official Passports? Do you know that the Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue, came calling to our country last week? Do you know that the move is to boost the economy of the two countries? Are you aware that Nigeria and Vietnam had maintained long standing diplomatic relations since 1976 but there were no high level engagements? Can you believe that the two countries might be looking at the possibility of setting up a bilateral commission to deepen economic cooperation? Do you know that the two countries had now proposed promoting a friendly football match the Super Eagles and the Vietnamese National Team and as well the Female National Team of Vietnam and our Super Falcons to engage in friendly competitions as initial demonstration of commitment to give vent to other r engagements? This is the way to go! The statement of Prof. Osinbajo, Vice President while calling on Vietnam to be more open to Nigerian exports and businesses, noted:
“We’ve worked very hard on improving the business environment in Nigeria to make it more friendly for business and tourism. Only last week, the World Bank named Nigeria one of the top 10 most improved economies in the 2020 Doing Business Index. So, we are looking forward to seeing investments from Vietnam. I’m sure that with your cooperation, we would be able to open up the market in Vietnam and in the Association of South-Eastern Nations, ASEAN, for Nigerian exports and businesses. I’m sure that with the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, and some of what we are doing, especially in financial services, we are also looking at expanding our scope, especially in Africa. We will be looking at cooperation with the ASEAN countries as well.”
We join millions of people in our State to congratulate MrAdegboyega Oyetola on this noble feat to invest this Summit. We assure all participants of hitch free sessions and peaceful stay in the State of Osun. The statement of Jonathan Swift cuts in:
“In all things that are purely social, we may be as separate as fingers yet one as a hand in all things essential for mutual progress.”