Africans have underestimated their potential, talents — Osinbajo

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Africa has the potential and talents to rule the world but such positive traits and attributes have been underestimated, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has stated.

According to him, some changes were required in order to make an impact from the great talents of Africans.

Osinbajo stated these on Saturday night during the commissioning of a multi-billion naira five-star Wells Carlton Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Asokoro area of Abuja built by a former pilot, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo.

At the event, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the National Assembly had passed many bills to ease the process of doing business in Nigeria.

The Speaker commended the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship of Nigerian businessmen, which distinguished leaders from followers, saying it had been encouraging.

Dogara said, “In this country, most of the times, we run to take from the table without creating values to get something from the table. A nation without innovation cannot go deep. In the National Assembly, we have done everything possible to ensure that we have an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in this country.

“The Federal Government set up a Committee on Ease of Doing Business and made leaders of NASS members of the committee. I can tell you that there are occasions within a week that we churn out laws that would take legislative conventions to make. But we make them within a week, suspending all rules, in order to ensure that we provide the necessary framework for businesses to thrive.

“As it is now, Nigeria has moved forward in the global index on the ease of doing business. That was brought about by the collaboration between the executive and the legislature.”

The VP commended the edifice, describing it as an innovative venture but regretted that Nigeria does not have a home-grown luxury brand.

He said, “It is not just a hotel, it is a Nigerian hotel, a home-grown hotel. We have many home-grown hotels but what we do not have is a home-grown luxury brand. He (Captain Okunbo) is making it possible for us to have our own Hilton and Sheraton. I am really glad that we have such an innovative thing here.

“I want to say that one of the things that happen to us as a continent is that we very frequently underestimate our own capacity and talent. I haven’t been inside the hotel but I have seen the Green House that the Captain was talking about and just as he said, some change is required in order to make an effect from this great talent of ours. I think one of the important changes Captain did was to sell his aircraft; that is very important indeed.”

The chairman of Wells Carlton Hotel and Luxury Apartments, Okunbo said he resigned as a pilot and took a business risk to contribute his quota to the economic growth.

He said, “Some of you might wonder why I am celebrating this hotel, I am celebrating nine years of a dream. I bought this land in 1998 for N10m and started building in 2009; that is almost ten years. It is not that I couldn’t have rushed it with bank loans and all that. But this edifice I am delivering, I don’t owe any bank. This brand stands for my character of tenacity, perfection, integrity and excellence.

“Billions of Naira have gone into the creation of this one of a kind facility that stands today and it is in line with this administration’s economic policies. This investment is going to make a profound contribution to the economy of the nation. In the area of job creation and employment opportunities, the facility presently employs over 300 people directly and hundreds more indirectly. In the coming years, the number will grow exponentially.

“It is my hope that through what we have created today, I can in my own modest way, contribute to our national development like I have done with the Wells Green House, which is the biggest Green House in Nigeria and presently has eight hectares, fully covered and another eight hectares in the building. So, we have about 16-17 hectares of covered Green House, producing 4,200 tonnes of various vegetables that meet international standards.”PUNCH.

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