An Address presented by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano during the Flag off of the Umueri International Cargo Airport Project on April 11, 2017
Ndi Anambra, three years into my first term in office, I stand before you today to answer the call of history. In Christian numerology, the number 3 is the number of perfect manifestation. So, three years into my administration, the Lord God Almighty has given us a new VISION and a new SONG!
Umu nnem, our elders say that na Ugo gbuzuo, ochakee! Anambra State has finally hit the bend in the river and our famous can-do spirit has now taken over! From now on, we have nothing more to fear! Nothing! Not even ourselves!
Ndi Anambra, when I took over the reins of leadership of this great state three years ago, I delivered an Inaugural Address titled – Expanding the Frontiers of Excellence. The historic ceremony we have gathered to perform here today is a very important step in expanding the frontiers of excellence in Anambra State!
Indeed, it is important to note that my Team and I have got a few things right in the past three years. Against all expectations and at a time of great economic recession, we have established our beloved state as a compelling investment destination and attracted investments valued at over 5 billion US Dollars. And with this airport city project, the figure now stands at 7.2 billion US Dollars. We have also successfully placed Anambra on the agricultural map and blazed a trail with the exportation of our farm produce to the UK. In addition, we have positioned Anambra as the safest state in Nigeria and completely re-engineered the social architecture of our beloved state. Finally, we have re-awakened self-belief among our people and provoked their can-do spirit. Ladies and gentlemen, Anambra is finally on the RISE!
Ndi Anambra, what we have come to flag off in Umeri today is not your usual airport project. Mbanu! Nke anyi di iche! What we are flagging off today is an Airport City Project with a model that will accommodate an airport with two runways, an aviation fuel dump, an airport hotel, an industrial business park, an international convention centre as well as a facility for aircraft maintenance. The Umueri airport city project is conceived to join some of the most advanced airports in the world with a capacity to land any of the most sophisticated vessels known to man today. It sits on 1500 hectares of land with enough elbowroom for expansion from Ivite Umueri to neighbouring communities such as Nando, Umunya, Otuocha, Aguleri, Nteje, Nsugbe and beyond.
The project is estimated to cost over 2 billion US Dollars. It is a partnership between the Government of Anambra State, Orient Petroleum Resources Limited and Elite International Investments Limited (Sinoking Enterprises Limited).
Under the contractual agreement, Elite International Investments Limited will provide all the funds needed for the project under the Build-Operate-Manage-and-Transfer arrangement. However under the same SPV arrangement, the Anambra Airport City Infrastructure Limited has allocated 75% equity stake to Elite International Investments Limited, 20% to Oreint Petroleum Resources Limited and 5% to the Government of Anambra State. The host communities are entitled to 3% of the profit from this project in perpetuity as a part of the standard corporate social responsibility.
Indeed, the economic benefits of the Umueri Airport City Project are enormous. It is expected to generate 1,200 direct and 3600 indirect jobs. We expect that Ndi Anambra will grab 70% of these jobs in continuation of our efforts to create wealth and prosperity for our people. It will also provide an opportunity for training and skills transfer to our people. I have no doubts whatsoever that this project will have a tremendous impact on the ease of doing business in Anambra State as it opens a direct access by air to our vast markets. In particular, I hope that on completion, the Umueri Airport City Project will wipe out the difficulties our businessmen and women often encounter in exporting and importing goods and services and help in improving the entire supply chain.
Ladies and gentlemen, with this project and our subsequent plan for a light rail project, Anambra State will eventually assume its rightful place as a major commercial and industrial hub in the West African sub-region. As you are aware, my administration is intensely focused on building projects that have immense economic values. That is why we have concentrated efforts in building roads and bridges that either lead to industrial clusters or the oilfields or the agricultural belt of the state.
This Airport City Project follows the same trajectory. That is why we have established a strong synergy between Orient Petroleum Resources Plc and the Airport project with a view to operating an Aviation Fuel Segment that will attract both local and foreign airlines to refuel their aircraft in Umueri. This will no doubt open a new economic corridor for our beloved state as it is expected to stimulate growth in the oil and gas sector and multiply our revenue sources. It is my candid hope also that when this airport becomes operational, the world will have a direct and easy access to the vast tourism offerings of Ogbunike Cave and Ogbaukwu Caves and Waterfalls as well as the timeless archaeological treasures of Igboukwu!
Ndi Anambra, our beloved state is fast opening its doors to the world. Let us join hands and welcome the benefits that knock on our collective door!
Umu nnem, please, always remember that wherever you are and whatever you do, our ancestors left us with a timeless reminder that Aku luo uno, amalu onye kpalu ya!
My colleagues and I are waiting eagerly to receive you, go through your business plan and offer you the assistance you need to make your enterprise sink deep roots in the soil of Anambra State!
Ndi Anambra, chi efogo nu! Olugonu na omume!
God bless Anambra State!
God bless the shining light that we bear!