Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (rtd), and Stella Okotete, Executive Director Business Development, Nexim Bank, have all proposed remedies to the region’s economic issues.
The three made the remarks on Thursday at a one-day economic seminar for PAP delegates titled “Restoring Wealth Creation in the Niger Delta Region.”
Others at the summit include AVM Terry Okorodudu (rtd), a security specialist; ex-freedom fighter High Chief Bibopere Ajube nicknamed Shoot-at-Sight; and business development coach Francis Okumagba.
Okotete stated that while other sections of the country were utilizing their resources to generate the necessary income, people in the Niger Delta, particularly the young, were reliant on handouts.
She said, “Non-oil sector is what is driving the economy of every country, and in this region, there are a lot of resources that can be exported. The various governments in the region need to create an enabling environment for more investors to come.
“The government needs to create a balance between economic and infrastructural development. It’s not just enough to build roads. Yes, roads are good but they should also build industries.
“We must look at the export space. Export creates massive wealth. We must wake up and look into the future. Nobody will build the Niger Delta for us, it is only we that can do that. Let us start selling our region to the world and create a better future for our children.”
Governor Okowa, for one, advocated for increased private sector engagement in the region’s development, emphasizing that the government alone cannot achieve it.
Okowa, who was represented by Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Executive Secretary Orezi Esievo, emphasized the importance of SMEs to any economy.
“Our administration is open to partnership that will ensure sustainable wealth is created for people of Delta State and the region as a whole,” he said.
In his remarks, Dikio stated that the summit’s goal was to highlight the region’s boundless prospects so that ex-agitators would know how to make use of them.
“This summit is a test-run of a larger one to come next year that will be all-encompassing. Basically, we are here to preach the gospel of shared prosperity. We can talk about how rich and prosperous Niger Delta is but if we don’t do something about it, it will be more wishful thinking,” Dikio said.