…says Nigeria needs vibrant private sector
We expect nothing less from a two-time minister —Aisha Buhari
She’s bringing rich blend of public, private sector experience to bear on LCCI —Bello
By Franklin Alli & Naomi Uzor
The new president of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande, weekend, pledged to re-dedicate herself to the services of the chamber and to use her tenure to push for fiscal and monetary policies that are investment friendly.
Dr. Akande, a two-time Minister of Industry during General Sanni Abacha’s era, was decorated, Saturday, as the second female president of LCCI after 127 years of its corporate existence in the country.
In an interview with newsmen after the investiture and acceptance speech, Dr. Akande said: “Being the LCCI president is both an honour and a challenge which I accept with utmost humility and a deep sense of responsibility.
“I pledge to re-dedicate myself to the service of the LCCI and I assure you of my commitment to ensure that the chamber retains its foremost position as a leading private sector advocacy organisation in Nigeria and the flagship of the Chamber of Commerce movement in the country.
“As I mount the saddle of leadership of the chamber, effectiveness and positive impact on quality of investment climate will be my watch word.”
According to her, the private sector is pivotal to the transformation of the Nigerian economy, and indeed any economy for that matter, maintaining that Nigeria needs the private sector to create wealth from which government could generate revenue.
“We need the private sector to generate employment to address the acute and frightening unemployment, poverty and insecurity in our society; we need a virile private sector to make Nigeria a respected country in the comity of nation.
“We would not relent in our advocacy to promote a conducive environment for the private sector to play the role expected of it in the realisation of the Nigerian vision,”she stated.
She disclosed that LCCI will continue to work in close collaboration with government at all levels, the media and other stakeholders and will ensure that their advocacy achieves the right level of effectiveness which will be measured by the response of various tiers of government to their proposals on policy direction in the interest of the investors, whether domestic or foreign.
She said the investiture marks another milestone in the history of the chamber with yet another graceful transition, saying that it is both an honour and a challenge for being the President of the chamber.
She noted that all the past presidents of the chamber served the chamber with profound dedication, commitment and uncommon passion, saying that they left credible and indelible marks in the chamber’s history.
“We would continue to build on their worthy legacies. Their numerous achievements made LCCI a household name and well acknowledged and appreciated by the entire members of the Lagos Chamber,” she stressed.
The wife of the president of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari said the election of Dr. Akande came at a time when the country was clamouring for change and that she was indeed excited to collaborate with a woman of substance.
Rpresented by the former deputy Governor of Lagos state, Princess Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, Buhari noted that new opportunities are springing up in construction, manufacturing, telecommunications, infrastructure as well as transportation.
“This is therefore the time when the chamber needs a visionary leader in the like of Dr. Nike Akande. Now I am confident that her unfailing polity, hard work, commitment and dedication be brought to bear in this new role and to promote the realisation of our vision and advancement of the Nigerian economy “
“Of course, the LCCI and the nation expects nothing less from a two-time minister of industry from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As we all know, fighting corruption in all aspects of our national life, security of lives and property and the reordering of allocation of our common resources are very hard,” she said.
On the current administration agenda, Aisha, disclosed that, government remain committed both in the implementation of the economy diversification and reforms as well as enabling environment for investors, adding that, governance is not a one way traffic, government and the people must work together.
“Nigeria is a Commonwealth and all of us owe it a duty to leave Nigeria than we meet it. For government to succeed, the Organised Private Sector and the individuals are of extreme importance.
“At a time when the nation is facing economic challenges, we need our best brains to move us forward, we need innovation and businesses have to reinvent themselves and also work with each other to achieve a sustainable development,” she added.
The outgoing President, LCCI, Alhaji Remi Bello, said the investiture was unique in a number of ways, adding that the new president is the second female president of the chamber in its 127 years history.
“She is the first former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be president of the LCCI or any major business association of that matter. The value of this is that she is bringing a rich blend of public and private sector experience to bear on the LCCI presidency. I want to formally congratulate her on the well deserved election,” he said.