Bird’s eye view of Governor Sule’s industrialization agenda

Bird's eye view of Governor Sule's industrialization agenda

Bird’s eye view of Governor Sule’s industrialization agenda

By Ali Abare

It is a statement of fact that Governor Abdullahi Sule came onboard on May 29, 2019 on the mantra of industrialization. Having realized the tremendous potentials in Nasarawa State especially in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals and lately, oil and gas, the Governor came with a blueprint to transform the state through industrialization.

Coming from the background of the organized private sector, Governor Sule came with a vision to transform Nasarawa State from its agrarian nature to a reliance on manufacturing, which will bring about much needed internal revenue, create wealth, as well as employment for the teeming youths in the state.

He came and hit the ground running, putting putting systems and policies on ground to facilitate the attainment of his dream to turn Nasarawa State into an investment haven.

The inauguration of the 14-member Nasarawa State Investment and Economic Advisory Council, drafting of the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy (NEDS), as well as the establishment of the Nasarawa State Investment Development Agency (NASIDA) amongst other interventions, were all geared towards the actualization of the industrialization agenda of the Governor Sule administration.

Anyone can aspire to dream but to achieve the desired end is something else entirely. However, Governor Sule is a leader that is coming onboard with vast experience and knowledge acquired through years of hard work and diligence, which has earned him an enviable reputation among major players in the country’s private sector.

Little wonder that since his coming into office, through deliberate and well thought-out strategies, big names are coming into the state to establish industries to include Olams Nigeria Ltd, Dangote Sugar Refinery, Azman Nigeria Ltd, Flour Mills Nigeria Ltd, Bionas Group, ABS Blueprint Consortium, Prime Global, Beacon Energy, Green Sahara, Diamond Stripes, Barlow & Barrow International Nigeria Ltd, Green and Energy Limited and lately a host of Chinese firms rushing to Nasarawa State to mine lithium.

Bird's eye view of Governor Sule's industrialization agenda
Bird’s eye view of Governor Sule’s industrialization agenda

On May 28 2021, the Governor Sule administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Golden Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Flour Mills Nigeria to establish a sugar company in Toto Local Government Area.

The (MoU) is estimated at over USD300m for the production of sugar while the company will take possession of 20, 450 hectares of land. The company is expected to cultivate 15000 hectares for raw sugar while the remaining will be devoted to building critical infrastructure such as roads, schools and other facilities to support the host communities.

In March, 2023, in an unprecedented feat, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) commenced oil drilling in the state after the official spudding of the Ebenyi-A oil well in Obi Local Government Area, the first ever in the Middle Benue Trough.

Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, described the event as a special occasion, explaining that it was part of the execution of former president Muhammadu Buhari’s express mandate for the NNPCL to pursue exploration in the frontier inland basins with vigour.

Kyari added that the mandate targets growth of hydrocarbon reserves in the country with the ultimate aim of enhancing national energy security and associated economic benefits to the people.

Again, in July, 2023 Governor Sule laid the foundation for the establishment of a Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) and Liquefied Compressed Natural Gas(LCNG) facility in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital.

The two million US Dollars investment which is spearheaded by Greenville LNG is the first of its kind in the North Central region of the country which has 23 metric tonnes capacity of LNG and 1,500 Standard Cubic Metres of LCNG.

The 14th Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, CUI Jianchun, led a consortium of Chinese mining companies seeking collaboration with Nasarawa State in the areas of economic cooperation, infrastructure development, industry growth, investment, and import-export activities.

The visit by the Chinese envoy highlighted a strong desire for collaboration between Nasarawa and China in various sectors, including oil and gas, mining, agriculture, and infrastructure.

In another masterstroke that has now become the defining moment of his administration, Governor Sule emphasized the need for Chinese mining companies coming to invest in the state to set up factories that would process the raw materials into finished goods before exporting such.

According to him, this is the only way opportunities would be created for the people.

On June 2, 2023, Governor Sule welcomed the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) & China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) with interest to do business in the oil and gas value chain of the state following the discovery of oil in the the state.

Similarly, on June 26, Sule hosted the Sasakawa African Association led by its Country Director, Dr Godwin Atser who made an elaborate presentation on $739 US Dollars investment in establishing agricultural aggregation centre in Assakio and Shabu.

Also, in October, 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu performed the groundbreaking ceremony to commence the construction of a $250million lithium factory in Nasarawa State.

Inaugurating the Ganfeng Lithium Industry Limited factory in Endo community of Udege Development Area in Nasarawa Local Government Area, Tinubu noted that the construction of the factory project was in line with his administration’s industrialization policy directed at providing adequate energy for the country.

Represented by the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, the President commended the company for initiating the project, while also assuring Ganfeng of support.

He said the Ganfeng Lithium Mining Company is expected to create employment opportunities for the region and the state at large.

There yet several other companies rushing into Nasarawa State mostly because of the conducive business environment put in place by the Governor Sule administration but most significantly, the relative peace being enjoyed across the state.

Drawing from his experience both locally and internationally, the Governor is leaving no stone unturned, expending huge amount of resources in the area of security, knowing fully well that investors will only come in if there is peace.

In July, 2023, a Chinese firm, that specialises in the exploration of lithium, Landmark Lithium Mining Company announced its decision to build a lithium factory in Nasarawa State, that would produce about 3000 tones of lithium per day, at an estimated cost of USD100 million.

The company sited its lithium factory in Nasarawa, headquarters of Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.

Landmark Lithium Mining Company is indeed, pivotal to Governor Sule’s industrialization agenda, especially in an environment that is so used to quick fixes. Industrialization is a process and like any other process, industrialization takes time to materialize.

The people may be pushing for results. The results will come but in industrialization, it takes time coming mostly because of what researchers call gestation period.

Findings have shown that the gap in-between when that announcement is made and when the project enters the really formal process of hiring people for production proper takes really long.

However, for the Landmark Lithium Mining Company, the wait may not be that long. This is because Governor Sule is working hard alongside the management of the Chinese firm to see that the facility is commissioned in a matter of one month or two.

Recently, the Governor visited the site of the factory to inspect progress of work as they put finishing touches leading to the official commissioning of the edifice.

Even though the company has since started mining, processing and even exporting finished lithium, with the company already employing over one thousand workers, the official commissioning of the facility will rightly announce the dawn of industrialization in Nasarawa State.

Abare is the Special Assistant on Media to the Nasarawa State Governor.

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