Your Excellency, what is your state doing in terms of exploiting its oil and gas resource endowment
Bayelsa is historically the place where the story of the Nigerian oil and gas started, I have discussed with the Minister that we like the policy thrust and that by this time next year, we will like to work with them by hosting this kind of event in Nigeria and if possible bring it to Bayelsa. We’ll like to co-host it with them. We like to see how we can work together to build skills and promote investment in this critical sector.
How do you intend to provide incentives for these kinds of investments because by the time they all come together, they will also need some support from government?
The incentives are already on ground and those were the issues I talked about. We have provided a safe and stable operating environment. Bayelsa is one of the safest states in Nigeria. Forget about some of the negative stories people bandied about the Niger Delta and about our country generally. People work here without hindrance and we are working with stakeholders to keep it so. We want them to come so that we can provide jobs and other opportunities and address the economic dimension of some of the causes of instability and insecurity in the Niger Delta, but generally speaking, the Niger Delta is stable. These historical challenges have been there; they come and go and the federal government is also reaching out and we want that to continue more. We have always spoken in support of negotiation, in support of dialogue and that has produced some results. We need to work harder to ensure that the economic dimensions to some of the issues are attended to. The modular refineries are one good way of addressing these challenges. The directive that oil companies should relocate their places of production is also another critical component of empowerment of the people to provide that connection and create ownership.
What confidence are you presenting to prospective investors on the need to invest in Bayelsa state?
I am here to make a case for Bayelsa; to say that the state is safe, stable and is ready. We have the infrastructure created in the last five years to accommodate those who want to set up their businesses in the state. We have the energy hub to accommodate investment in power; we have the investment blueprint that is out there. With the right investment, Bayelsa alone can produce power that can address the power need of the whole country. This is so because we have more gas than any other state in Nigeria. We have over 30 per cent of oil/gas reserves in Bayelsa. It is a very critical State. We are stable and ready to go.
Would you say your strategy has been successful? Are the people ready to embrace this?
Yes. From the interest shown so far, it is very encouraging. We are calling on the investors to heed the call of the federal government and take advantage of the new climate, the change initiatives that government has brought about and the safe environment that we have also created. Bayelsa is safe and the Niger Delta is good to go.
Thank you very much Your Excellency
Thank you for having me.