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Economic summit is what Rivers needs to restart – says Rivers Unity House Foundation convener

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By Ignatius Chukwu

The Rivers Unity House Foundation, a peace, social justice and good governance advocacy group has made a call for an economic summit in Rivers State to chat a development course for the state.

Convener of the UHF, Kingsley Wali, who made the call at a press parley with journalists in Port Harcourt, said the summit is part of measures to change the negative narratives of Rivers State, calling on government and the media to support the private initiative to convoke the summit.

He expressed frustration that good governance and the dividends of democracy have taken flight in the state due to the political tussle between the State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and his estranged godfather and Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike.

He cautioned that no serious potential investors would come to the state to do business in the present rancorous political atmosphere.

“Let us just have a conversation about holding an economic summit”, Wali called saying it will help put aside all of the politics. He said the people of the state play too much politics, saying the people must have a conversation.

According to Weli; “No investor both local or foreign will risk a dime in Rivers State under the never-ending negative narrative of the toxic political tussle between Wike and Fubara in both local and foreign media.

“We should have a talking programme where all of these issues will be discussed. The basis for the summit is not for people to come and talk. There should be linkages and part of the linkages is for both the public and private sector to share their inputs so the government will open their safety valves.

“At the summit, we can draw a development plan, a 10-year development plan and part of the conversation will be how to protect the plan. There can be a legislation that anyone who goes against the plan will be tried for economic sabotage”.

The summit, he added would provide basis for linkages for businesses and investors. It will help us to have conversations beyond constructions and award of contracts to what enhances commerce.

“So, if we have a plan, we use the Songhai farm, and bring the banks to fund those and similar projects. The private sector brings in their inputs, seek safety valve like a development plan that can get them to bring their money to run establishments like Songhai farm.

Wali, a politician and entrepreneur, blamed the negative narratives on the toxic political fight between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and Nyesom Wike, Minister of Federal Capital for scaring potential Investors out of the state.

He cautioned that as long as said such narratives continued in the local and international media platforms no investor would drop a dime in state and that would also affect good governance in state.

Weli regretted that the toxic political fight in state has been taken too far and the common Rivers people are suffering the consequences.

As a way out, Weli, who is also a Lawyer, charged the the media to downplay reportage of the toxic political fights in the state but join in setting economic and investment agenda for state.

Weli told Journalists that at the proposed summit, investment experts and potential Investors would be invited to discuss the investment potentials and set development Alagenda for the state.

” We are not asking the State Government to sponsor it, all we want is for it to key into it and create enabling political environment for willing private business concerns to set the agenda for businesses and commerce in the state.”

Weli further lamented that it was regrettable that at this time when Nigerians are finding it difficult to feed, the state has abandoned Multi-Billion Naira Songhai Integrated Farm, the Banana plantation, Fish Farms and others which were capable of ensuring food sufficiency and generate revenue for the state.

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