Eire Ifueko Alufohai is the chairperson of the local organising committee, and executive secretary of Alaghodaro Economic Summit Limited/Gte. In this interview with Obinna Emelike, she spoke on the seventh edition of the annual summit, highlighting the strides of Governor Godwin Obaseki, investment opportunities in Edo, among others. Excerpts:
What does Alaghodaro stand for?
Alaghodaro is a Benin word, which means progress.
What vision birthed the annual summit seven years ago?
Before this administration, Edo State was a civil-service- dependent state, and so there were not a lot of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to drive development. Governor Godwin Obaseki’s desire to create an enabling environment for the public and private sector to collaborate and push for socio-economic growth, gave rise to Alaghodaro.
What are the mandates of Alaghodaro?
One of the mandates is to develop a platform for sharing ideas and discussing initiatives that will deliver positive impact to the people of Edo State and open the state to investment.
What is the summit’s structure and how does it function as an institution?
It is an entity registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as Alaghodaro Economic Summit Ltd/Gte, and there is a board of directors in place.
What are some of its milestones within the last six years?
The Alaghodaro Summit, since its first edition in 2017, has become a veritable tool to share ideas and discuss initiatives that have delivered positive impact to the people of Edo State and opened the state to investment from the rest of the world. This is to create prosperity for the state and improve the livelihoods of Edo people.
Since the first summit in 2017, there have been recommendations from these summits that the government has adopted to form policies and sustain its programme.
The Summit has attracted investments across different sectors of the state’s economy, including agriculture, food processing, manufacturing, energy and petrochemicals, among others.
One of such is The Edo State Oil Palm programme and the Edo Refinery project. Recommendations from previous Alaghodaro Summits have also been used to upscale the reforms in the health and education sectors.
This year’s summit is themed; ‘The Edo Story: Creating Shared Opportunities into the Future,’ and being the governor’s last summit in office, it will showcase the innovative policies, gains of reforms, plans, programmes and projects designed and implemented by this administration, through targeted investment, partnership and collaborative efforts and innovations across critical sectors of the state.
What informed the choice of the theme?
This year, we want to showcase the numerous achievements of the Obaseki-led government over the past seven years, highlighting how the state government has harnessed strategic partnerships across various sectors to build a solid socio-economic base that is now positively impacting the lives of Edo people.
What is the level of preparations for the summit and what are the expectations?
We are very well prepared. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) has done a wonderful job in preparing for the summit. The summit would provide an opportunity to explore partnerships, forge ideas and envision a prosperous future for the state, in line with the visions of the Godwin Obaseki-led government to place Edo on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and development.
In its seventh edition, the five-day event would help spotlight the transformative programmes and policies by the government over the past years, which have improved the lives of millions of Edo people and chart the course for the state’s prosperous future.
What are some of the key areas of focus for this year’s summit?
One of the plenary sessions will highlight the policies, partnerships and strategic initiatives implemented so far to industrialise the state, promote its socio cultural values and increase its economic base, while another will highlight projects and programmes implemented in the state leveraging the investment opportunities and strategic partnerships attracted to critical sectors of the state’s economy.
Are there new activities or innovations to the summit’s bouquet this year?
We have introduced the city tour this year so that everyone can see for themselves the transformative projects that have contributed to the remarkable development of Edo State.
The governor will lead Edo residents, guests and other stakeholders on a tour of the various developmental projects embarked on by his administration over the past seven years that have improved the livelihoods of the people and placed the state on the path of sustainable and accelerated growth and development.
The tour tagged, “Ancient City Tour,” will cover some of the projects that include; the Edo Modular Refinery in Ologbo, Ikpoba – Okha Local Government Area (LGA); Ossiomo Power Plant in Ologbo, Ikpoba – Okha LGA; Edo Production Centre, Sapele Road, Benin City; Green Hill Farms in Ologbo, Ikpoba Okha LGA; the Edo College of Nursing Sciences, Benin City; the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Benin City and the Edo GIS Office on Sapele Road, Benin City.
Others are the Benin City Mall; Sapele Road; Golf Mews, Benin City; John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA), Benin City; Daisy Danjuma Women Centre, Benin City; State Civil Service Secretariat, Sapele Road, Benin City; High Court Complex, Benin City, and the Industrial Court on Okada Avenue, GRA, Benin City.
Also on the tour list are the Benin Bus Terminal, Ring Road; Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and The Observer on Airport Road, Benin City, Tech Hub, Irhirhi, Benin City; Edo State Agriculture Hub, ADP Junction, Benin City and the MOWAA on Ezoti Street, Benin City.
These projects are key to the growth of the state and have ensured a meaningful impact on the lives of the people.
Who are the guests headlining the summit?
The president of Dangote Group will be giving the ķeynote address. Other captains of industries have confirmed their participation in the plenary sessions and at the summit.
The summit will bring together a distinguished gathering, including investors, government officials, business leaders, and key stakeholders, to shine a spotlight on and assess the impacts of government projects and programmes on the people.
When and where is the summit scheduled to hold?
This year’s summit will be held from November 8-12, 2023 in Benin City, across several locations.
We have the Edo Women’s Conference on November 8, 2023 by 11am; On November 9th, there will be a City Tour by 9am and a cocktail reception by 5pm at the Civic Centre, in the secretariat complex.
The Edo Summit will be on November 10th by 9am, and then we have Jumat Service in the afternoon and a State Dinner by 6pm; On Saturday, November 11th, we have the Golf Tournament by 7am; a Food Fair: The Edo Market by 8:30am and a Youth Concert by 5pm.
The summit ends on Sunday, November 12th with a Thanksgiving Praise Night by 4pm.