First; during his gubernatorial campaign, the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki made it clear to his people that he has a dream to industrialise the state.
Shortly after his inauguration, he started discussions with investors across the world and ran to Mahindra Engineering, India where he held talks leading to the expression of interest to invest in the planned Benin Industrial Park.
The development led to the generation of the Preliminary Report which was handed over to Governor Godwin Obaseki from the Mahindra Group in India, on Monday, September, 11, this year.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Hon. Emmanuel Usoh, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kadiri Bashiru, on the investment drive in Asia, said the Industrial park would serve as the catalyst for the industrialisation of Edo State.
Receiving the Preliminary Report of the Industrial Park from officials of Mahindra Group, at their headquarters in Chennai, India, Obaseki expressed confidence in the capacity of the company to deliver the project in line with the vision of the state government.
One key fact highlighted by the governor was that the project was well thought out, as it would maximise the location of Benin City, from where all parts of the country can be accessed, coupled with the abundance of natural gas, the low cost of production, access to water and availability of affordable labour.
He assured that his administration was committed to leveraging on the gains of technology to boost economic activities by replicating in Nigeria, a Silicon Valley.
Obaseki recalled that “We visited the headquarters of the Indian company in March, this year, to share our idea of an Industrial Park with officials of the company. Three months later, the company came to Benin City for a feasibility study and today we are happy that we are ready to hit the ground running”.
However, exactly two months later, Saturday, October, 11, 2017, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the N200 billion Benin Industrial Park at Iyanomo in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.
Speaking at the event, Prof. Osinbajo said the industrial park will create 170, 000 direct and indirect jobs and would contribute significantly to the country’s manufacturing sector.
He commended the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, for the huge public-private investment initiative and said: “This is what the country has been waiting for to take us to the height that we desire. Several other countries have embarked on this line of industry and succeeded. If we put in the same effort as them, we will also excel.”
According to the Vice President, “This strategy has been adopted in some Asian countries and they have achieved economic growth, diversified their economy, and are now exporters of consumer goods.”
He assured of the federal government’s readiness to support the project and see to its completion.
In his welcome address, Governor Obaseki said the industrial park at Iyanomo is the first in the series of parks his administration intends to establish in the state to make Edo an Industrial hub that will conform to 21st Century standard.