It is my rare honour and privilege to address this august gathering and it is with a heart full of praise to the Almighty that I am witnessing this event.

This is the first Trade Fair and Sales Exhibition being organized by the Nsukka Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and it is refreshing to observe the enthusiasm of businessmen, investors, medium and small scale entrepreneurs converge in their numbers to give the Fair a boost. The theme of the Fair, Promoting SMEs and Agriculture for National Economic Recovery is as timely as it is insightful.

Giving the dwindling state of Nigeria’s economy and the need to look inwards for resources for its recovery, it is pertinent that we in Enugu North Senatorial District, culturally called Nsukka Zone, pull in one direction for the socio-economic health of the Zone. The emerging industrial clusters in the Zone and the comparative advantage we have in Agriculture are platforms to leverage on to create a solid economic hub, and self-sustaining economic tapestry. The clement weather of our district and the geographical location as the gateway to the Northern part of the country accord distinct advantages to us. By identifying and emphasizing on our advantages and the entrepreneurial spirit of our people, we can carve a niche for our Zone as a bastion of economic activities and take off the streets the army of unemployed young people in our district, whose energies and enthusiasm can be channeled into productive ventures. That is why the emphasis on SMEs is heart-warming, because it is a veritable podium for empowerment.

It is instructive that the Fair is coming at a time when our own son, the indefatigable Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is at the helm of affairs in our dear State. With the solid steps he is taking towards the development of the area and the world-class infrastructure he is steadily putting in place, Nsukka Zone will be a beautiful bride for investors. The Governor has demonstrated, beyond measure, that he is a true son of the soil and realizes he is carrying the aggregate of the hopes and aspirations of a people.

The potentials of Adarice; the bustling of Orie Orba market; the attraction of Obollo Afor as the commercial gateway; the optimism of the imminent coming on stream of the Greater Nsukka Water Scheme being uncommonly supported by the Governor; the chance of the tapping of the benefits of the Oil deposits along the Uzo-Uwani/Ibaji axis; the huge deposits of silicon sand, snaking around the hills of Adada and Obimo which glass makers would tap into; the Industrial base in Ohebe-Dim and the surely but steadily emerging industrial clusters in Nsukka give one hope that this initiative, which we have begun today, would crystallize into a hub of sorts, making Nsukka the Silicon Valley of Enugu State, nay, the South East.

The arrival of investors would also help in opening up other, hitherto unreachable hinterlands to access the plentiful agricultural harvests proceeding therefrom. The Inter-connection of roads in the Six Local Governments of the Zone now requires even more urgency to enable our people harvest the huge bumper benefits of these exhibitions. One notes the miserly allocations from the Federal, which, luckily, a our Governor has so prudently managed, and the upscale of internally generated revenue, which only an ingenious Chief Executive can harness. I appeal to His Excellency, the Governor to graciously consider putting the process in place for the return of the ESUT Teaching Hospital, originally located at Nsukka but yanked away by previous administrations. In the same vein, I would request that the Adada Campus of ESUT, which was also taken away should be returned in accordance with the multi-campus structure of ESUT, as conceived by the founding Fathers of our State.

I therefore heartily congratulate the Nsukka Chamber of Commerce for this important initiative which has opened up frontiers of possibilities. The reverberations of this event will be felt for a long time to come.

Thank you and God bless.