By Obeten Godfrey
A gubernatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Mr. John Upan Odey has said that when elected as governor, he will create an enabling environment for thousands of entrepreneurs to emerge rather than have thousands of appointees.
Mr. Odey made the assertion on Tuesday in Calabar while speaking at the Cross River Entrepreneurs Conference And Exhibition to commemorate the 2018 World Entrepreneurship Day.
“If I become your governor in 2019, John Upan Odey will not have thousands of appointees but I would create thousands of entrepreneurs,” Mr. Odey said at the event which was themed; ‘MSME Funding: A Tool For Sustainable Poverty Alleviation And Economic Growth In Nigeria.’
Speaking on the topic, Building Infrastructures For Emerging MSME To Thrive: Cross River As A Case Study, Mr. Odey described Cross River as a very special state driven by the private sector and not government despite its neglect on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said lifting MSMEs to grow beyond their start-up line was vital in building a prosperous Cross River State.
“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as we have come to know them, are the vital drivers of any economy and are the establishment of many success stories of great modern economies.
“Global conglomerates as Kellogs, Ford, MicroSoft, Apple, Amazon etc, that have become part of our everyday lives, all started as small enterprises.
“MSME’s can grow to national and global relevance and might like we have seen even with our own Dangote Group but their importance does not lie only in their potential in growing big but staying in business, providing livelihoods to citizens and contributing to communal, local, national and regional economies.
“They are said to be the soldier ants in an anthill that create a colony of enterprises churning out quality goods and services regularly to build a prosperous society,” Odey said.
He faulted the notion that has consistently been making the rounds in many quarters that Cross River is a civil service state.
“There has been a lot of talk of Cross River being a civil servant state in terms of economic activities, but I believe that we are an enterprise state with very huge economic prosperity just an arm’s length.
“Cross River is not a civil service state, if Cross River is a civil service state, then every body in Cross River is a civil servant, but that is not the case.”
Politics was not left out and he averred that; “if you elect me as your governor, we will declare a state of emergency on roads. An alternative will be created to enable zero porthole system in all the 18 local government areas in the state.
“We need to create a mechanism where the local government will be empowered to fix roads in their areas. We will also declare a state of emergency in security, because entrepreneurship can’t strive in an environment that is not secured.”
Also, Odey upheld the opinion that government has no business doing business, adding that, “i will make public private partnership key in the management of public utilities if I become your governor.”
“Government does not do business, government does not have any business doing business, that is why they go about building white elephant projects, they are waisting all our time.”
“Every Street in Calabar is occupied by churches. Why can’t we use the church approach now for entrepreneurship. Every time government talks about business, their waisting everybody’s time.”
He continued: “We want Cross Riverians that will dominate the Cross River market, we want Cross Riverians that will dominate the Nigerian market, we want Cross Riverians that will dominate the global market.
“We need to create market entrepreneurs and discourage political entrepreneurs. Market entrepreneurs take care of the market through job creation, political entrepreneurs depend on people they know in government.”
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