• We want to become a hub for conferencing: Gov AbdulRazaq
Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has received applause from the National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) for his administration’s investments in critical infrastructure and projects that can drive rapid economic growth and make the state a hub.
President of the NIPR, Dr Ikechukwu Neliaku, gave the commendation in Ilorin, the state capital, when he led a delegation of the Institute to Government House on a courtesy visit.
Neliaku said some of the ongoing legacy projects in the state, such as Innovation Hub and International Conference Centre, are strategic and would place Kwara on the global map.
“We have noted that you are doing some legacy projects. Some people come, they do projects and all that. But when leaders are not conscious of their legacy after they have left offices, their image goes down. And because we are managers of image and reputation, we look out for those who are planting seeds of legacies,” he said.
“The projects that really caught our fancy are the ICT Innovation Hub and International Conference Centre, among others. This is very, very important.”
Dr Neliaku described AbdulRazaq as an inclusive and digital governor, acknowledging the Governor’s belief in young people, gender inclusion, and other feats in human capital development.
He commended the Governor’s approval of a capacity building programme for information and Public Relations Officers who are working in various government’s establishments in the state, and for being supportive of the NIPR..
Governor AbdulRazaq, for his part, said the choice of his legacy projects is to position Kwara as a hub for service economy, which attracts investments and creates jobs for the people.
“What we are trying to do here is to build an ecosystem, a hub for conferencing. You have sold the idea of conferences in just a few words. But why are we building a conference centre here? People really need to understand that a conference centre and hotels are a catalyst for national development as it births a strong service economy,” the Governor said.
“Las Vegas is smaller than Ilorin, but it has an economy that is bigger than the economy of many countries in Africa. How did it start? It started with one single hotel. And what do they do? Conferencing and hospitality. The same thing in Dubai. They started with two to three buildings. Today, Dubai hosts one of the largest number of hotels in a single city in the world. And what do they do? Conferencing and Tourism. That is it. So that is the ecosystem we want to do here with the International Conference Centre and our investment in building the Kwara hotel.”
He appreciated the group on the visit and pledged to continue to key into their programmes, especially their forthcoming REBIRTH NIGERIA launching and National Spokespersons Summit that are slated for this year.
The Governor said the root cause of the challenges Nigeria is facing such as insecurity and economic crisis is lack of patriotism and poor value system, calling on all citizens to have an attitudinal rebirth for the country to move forward.
“The challenges we have are going to do with rebirth and attitude. The insecurity we have has a lot to do with rebirth. The foreign exchange issue is connected to this also. Rebirth is about citizens’ education on patriotism and loyalty to the national flag, and commitment to its good. Nigerians are no more as patriotic as we used to be. We are only patriotic the day the Nigerian National Football team plays; this has to change,” he said.
“The rebirth effort will answer these questions. Our loyalty should be to our flag. Once we are patriotic, many issues will be resolved.”
AbdulRazaq called on citizens to always consider the nation first in whatever they do to strengthen unity and promote peace.
“We need to look at our heritage and value system. Our core values are very important. In a situation that a mechanic converts the seat of an Okada (motorcycle) to carry an AK-47 and you will not report it. That is part of what Rebirth Nigeria will do,” he added.
“Our values have dropped. Our responsibility includes supporting the security agencies with useful information and acting intelligently to support the security agencies. Those are parts of the issues we should look at in our values.”
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairman promised to work with the Federal Government and his colleagues at the NGF to key into the Rebirth Nigeria concept of the NIPR, which he noted will do the country a lot of good.