BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
As preparations rev up for the maiden Edo State Alaghodaro Investment Summit, small, medium and large-scale companies are jostling for sponsorship slots of the high profile event which will host over 3000 participants.
According to the organisers, sponsors may be categorised into Platinum, Gold, Silver and bronze right holders to accommodate the deluge of sponsorship requests from companies, ranging from quoted companies to small and medium scale enterprises.
With this development, the sponsors are well on their way to deflecting the state government’s financial commitment to the summit, by making it a private-sector driven event.
The scampering for sponsorship rights is a fallout of the huge interest in the summit by investment gurus, manufacturers and industrialists, who are aiming to exploit the state’s enormous potential.
Also the summit recently got a boost with the endorsement by the London Stock Exchange (LSE), representatives of which would be at the event next month.
It was gathered that entrepreneurs, artists, micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), conglomerates, stock exchanges, Nigerians in the Diaspora and many more are among those jostling for sponsorship slot.
Alaghodaro, which means ‘progress,’ is a brand-child of the state government to showcase investment potential in its 30-year grand plan and will provide business leaders, industrialists, the academia and investors opportunity to key into the plans.
The three-day summit will hold from November 10 to 12, at Edo Hotels, Okada Avenue, Benin City.
Dignitaries expected at the summit include President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo; Minister for Industry, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
Others are former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; former Inspector General of Police (IGP) and current chairman of the Taskforce for the implementation of the Edo State Anti-Community Development Association Law, Solomon Arase; Senator Ben Murray Bruce, and many more.
International companies billed to attend the event are General Electric (GE) of the United States (US), Mahindra Group of India, Tolaram Group of Singapore, Olam Group, Indorama, among others.
Meanwhile in another development, Governor Obaseki, has said that his administration has commenced engagements with relevant stakeholders to ensure the return of stolen Benin artefacts.
The governor disclosed this when he received the publishers of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of Germany, a Frankfurt General Newspaper, working on a documentary to drum support for the return of the looted Benin artefacts, at Government House in Benin City.
He described the stolen artefacts as the cultural and social symbols of the Benin people and assured that the partnership with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and the Benin Palace to secure the return of the artefacts will yield the desired result.
“We want our property back and the artefacts represent our culture and social system, our history and political structure,” he said, and added that his administration was working on a tourism masterplan to boost tourism development in the state.
He commended the German journalists for finding the project worthy and assured of his administration’s support.
Earlier, Dr Lutz Mukke, leader of the team, described the 1897 Invasion of Benin Kingdom by the colonial masters as cruel, and stressed that the return of the stolen Benin artefacts will signify the restoration of its stolen identity.
Mukke said the team embarked on the project to ensure that justice is enthroned as the items were stolen from the Benin Kingdom.
He maintained that the Nigerian government has been supportive of the project and added that the team was working with some media organisations within and outside the country on a 10-page documentary of the project.
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN