THIS morning, the First Jigawa Economic and Investment Summit opens here in Dutse, the state capital. The planning for this elaborate summit has been on, for the better part of the last three months, and it brings together intellectuals, technocrats, investors and politicians from all over Nigeria.
I have been invited to participate as a rapporteur at the three-day gathering, along with other colleagues from around Nigeria.
The government of Sule Lamido has very grand hopes to make this state one of the leading investment destinations in Nigeria; and already, Jigawa is ranked as about the best place to do business in the country. Here they want to do even more! I have been travelling back and forth to Dutse in the past two months, working in a Technical Committee to help establish a state-owned television service and each time that I have been back here, I get the impression that there is admirable commitment to the public good on the part of a government which sees itself as organically connected to the wishes of the people and is also sworn to upholding the best interests of the people of this state.
It is this background which has also informed the amount of work done to arrive at the summit which opens today. The possibilities are enormous for the economic development of this state, with its rich agricultural potentials; the diverse mineral deposits and the increasingly attractive opportunities for commerce with the incentive environment.
The old saying that if we all do a little, we can achieve a lot still applies; all over Nigeria, there is a yearning need for initiatives like this, that concentrate the best minds and capacities for the creation of economic opportunities.
Ours is a very young country, in terms of the demography and it is very vital to open up opportunities for rapid economic development that create jobs and opportunities. In Jigawa, there are significant shoots of growth which give hope and the economic and investment summit opening up today, represents something very creative and useful.