Tourism and Culture
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Welcome Speech by Dr. N. N. Akanbi, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
to the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands on the Occasion of the Netherlands 2009:
Business and Investment Forum for Governors on 23rd June, 2009
My Dear Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the able chairmanship of my own
governor, His Excellency, Dr Bukola Saraki. It is no gain saying, all over the world that there are governors and there are governors.
I am sure we can all attest to the fact that Dr Bukola Saraki is a governor of governors.
Without being partial or sentimental, I can say here with all boldness, that Kwara State is the only State that can boast of regular supply of electricity among other things, in the entire country. My Oga, the Turaki of Ilorin, I am very proud of you and I say, welcome to Holland.
When H.L. Hunt, the Texas multi billionaire farmer said: “Decide what you want, Decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and Go to work”. He probably had his Excellency, Hon Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in mind.
Considering the miraculous way God brought him to power, the very day he assumed office in Portharcourt, he literarily HIT THE GROUND RUNNING.
As we speak today, and probably apart from a few other states, River State is one state that is undergoing tremendous face-lift in all sectors, and the news has actually spread, even outside the country.
Almost all the roads have currently been dualised, schools getting face-lifting, health centres rehabilitated, just to mention a few. Actually, I was told that River State has never experienced such a massive and impressive level of development projects been undertaken simultaneously, since its creation.
Your Excellency, I must say congratulations for your achievements so far. We are also not unmindful of all the odds and obstacles in your State, but my candid advice is that you should continue your good works and may the Almighty God see you through.
…and on a lighter mood, and again, without been sentimental here, what most people are not aware is the fact that I also have a family relationship with Rivers State.
My brother has been leaving in Portharcourt for over 15years and he is actually married to an Ikwerre woman from Nkpogu in Portharcourt.
Apart from this, my first daughter and her husband lived and worked in Portharcourt for over 5 years before relocating.Therefore, I have no option than to give a befitting welcome to His Excellency, Gov Rotimi Amaechi, who, in fact, though unknown to him, is my in-law.
Once again, Your Excellency, ogo’m, [pronounced aw-gor-m (m d r) meaning my in-law] you’re welcome.
Most people may not be aware of what I am about to say next. Throughout my interaction with different people, both within and outside our country Nigeria, I can count how many people, who truly have genuine interest of their people at heart above all other things, on my fingers.
But one governor stood out clearly. You can actually see the passion and determination for the love of his people boldly written on his face.
It will only take you a few minutes to listen to him talk, for you to know the geniuness of his love for his people.
Though a retired General, he is not known to be boastful or loud. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, please join me as I welcome His Excellency, Gov Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State.
My first encounter with Gov Nyako was during my maiden bilateral visit, when I led a group of investors, from here to Nigeria.
He was one of the Governors that showed keen interest in what the investors and the Netherlands government can do to partner with his government to contribute to the development of Adamawa State. He was (and still is) so worried about his people’s education and computer literacy level that he invited some of the foreign investors to Yola for them to meet and jointly put heads together to proffers solution to the long outstanding problem.
Your Excellency, General Murtala Nyako, once again, on behalf of my self and my entire team, I say, welcome to Holland.
Sanu da sua!
My special welcome also goes to all the other members of the entourage. You are all welcome.
In the next few days, we’ll be busy going around and meeting with different groups and companies, but let me quickly mention here that there are so many things to see here that can benefit our dear Country, Nigeria.
The onus then lies on us to utilise the opportunity and make this visit a fruitful one.
Some of the things you will see here that we can learn and benefit from will include:
Firstly, what I personally refer to as
“Taming our environment”:
The holy book told us that when God created the world, he gave man unlimited access to conquer everything therein.
One of the most amazing things I have come to discover since my arrival in this country is the way the Dutch have been able to successfully tame their environment.
It is therefore not surprising to hear an average Dutch saying, and proudly too, that God created the world but Dutch created Holland. This is actually a statement of fact that can easily be noticed everywhere you look.
Take road infrastructure for example, who will believe that about 80% of the land mass in Holland is made of water?
But everywhere you go you’ll never suspect you are either walking or driving on water.
Or who will ever think, for example, that this house we are in is built right on top of water?
No need to be afraid, because the house has been here for over 50years…
It is worth of particular mention that the Niger Delta terrain is actually similar to the terrain here and looking around me here this evening, gives me the hope that our own Niger Delta States, with all the attendant swampy and very difficult terrain, can actually be converted into a masterpiece. Especially considering the calibre of our Niger Delta governors their competency and commitment to development.
I have come to discover that it is actually possible to implement the Green house Technology in any part of Nigeria.
What do I mean by green house technology?
It is a computerised technology where you can simulate any climatic condition you want as required by the type of plant or crop you wish to grow.
For example during the dry season in any part of the country, if you decide to grow corn which requires certain amount of rainfall, all you need to do is to set the temperature, pressure, water level and every other climatic condition required for growing corn and watch your high quality corn growing.
It is really amazing and I hope we can all learn from it.
Mass Housing/High Quality Shelters
I was once invited by a company involved in Manufacturing and fabricating mass housing and high quality shelter products sometime last year, and was, to say the least, shocked at their ingenuity.
All required materials to put up a house were already prefabricated and can be conditioned to any environment.
During the demonstration I personally witnessed, only 2 people can build a 4-bedroom bungalow in just 3 days. And that is not all, the materials can be arranged to meet any design of your choice.
In short, as long as the fund and determination is available, you can put up a 200,000 housing units in a matter of months.
I hope we can create time during this visit to watch a demo of this wonderful invention.
I am sure we are all aware that as soon as we step out of our own country to any other part of the world, even to our smaller, less developed neighbours and brother Countries in West Africa, we always enjoy uninterrupted supply of electricity throughout our stay.
It is so sad that our economy is not developing just because we can’t get this sector right.
What you will see here is mostly the windmill technology whereby natural supply of wind energy is converted to electricity for use throughout the entire country.
We can partner with companies here to implement this same technology in our various states.
Even if that is the only thing we can achieve, I am very positive that posterity will never forget us.
I am aware that the Lagos state government is already on the path to introducing light rail system to the state, which is by no means a laudable achievement. This can also be considered in other states with a commensurable size and population. Alternatively, two or more states can consider partnering together to have such connecting opportunity across a particular region. Other than the rail system, Netherlands is home for Haulage transporting system also. This will also go along way in facilitating the movement of good from one part of the country to another.
There are opportunities for partnering with Dutch government / companies in the area of Establishment of football academy.
I can go on and on, but I understand the stress of your journey down here and I don’t intend to keep you out for too late.
Please feel free to enjoy your dinner and feel at home.
Myself and the entire Embassy staff are at your service during (and even after) your visit here.
Once again, welcome to Holland and thank you.