By Theodore Opara
The much-expected opening ceremony of Abuja Motor Fair scheduled for Tuesday did not hold, no thanks to the absence of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who was to perform the function.
The minister reportedly travelled to South Africa along with top officials of the ministry and its agencies. And no one was directed to stand in for him.
Otunba Adebayo was said to have gone for the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair, IATF, 2021 holding in South Africa from November 15 to 21.
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Industry players who gathered at the Abuja programme on Tuesday were shocked at the turn of events, as the minister had during a meeting with the organisers of the Abuja fair in his office given a firm commitment to personally attend the opening owing to its strategic importance of rejuvenating the dying auto assembly plants and the corollary business activities in Nigeria.
However, he was said to have left for the South African fair a day before the Abuja event without asking any official in his ministry to represent him.
Tuesday’s expected opening event in Abuja was abruptly cancelled.
A source in the ministry said the minister decided to attend the 2021 IATF having just realised its focus was on the newly-launched African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.
AfCFTA drives a single market for goods and services across 55 countries, aimed at boosting trade and investment.
The source was, however, silent on why no official was delegated to attend the Abuja fair on behalf of the minister.
Below are photos from the opening ceremony which was moved to today, Wednesday:
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