Israeli Ambassador Commends Gov Otti, Says Visit To Abia Tribute To Security, Quality Leadership

Israeli Ambassador Commends Gov Otti, Says Visit To Abia Tribute To Security, Quality Leadership

15th May 2024, NewsOrient

The Abia State Government has expressed strong desire to partner with the nation of Israel in developing its economic and technological potential, with specific reference to human capital, agriculture, digital economy and micro small and medium enterprise (MSME).

Governor, Dr. Alex Otti made this known on Tuesday when the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Michael Freeman, paid him a visit at the Government House, Umuahia.

This came just as Ambassador Freeman commended the leadership quality of Governor Otti, saying that his visit to Abia State is a tribute to the good work that the Abia Governor is doing in the State, particularly in the area of security.

“As Israelis, we’re known for many things. One of the things we’re known for is not being so easy on security situation. So, when I received the invitation and had the conversation to come to Abia State, I went back to my Embassy, to my security team and said, I’ve been invited by the government to come to Abia State.

“I expected the answer to be, ‘You’re not going to Abia State, that’s not happening’, but actually the answer came back within a couple of hours, ‘Absolutely, we clear that security wise, you can go’.

“I think, again, there’s another. I’ve been here now in Nigeria for two years, and other than being in the FCT (Abuja) and other than being in Lagos, this is my first visit outside of those two places, which again I think is a tribute to you, it’s a tribute to your work, it’s a tribute to everything that is happening here (in Abia),” Ambassador Freeman told Governor Otti.

The Isreali Ambassador, who described his visit to Abia as significant, coming on a day that the Jewish nation was celebrating its 76th Independence Anniversary, said that there is so much that Abia, indeed Nigeria, and Israel have in common, particularly their entrepreneurial spirit.

He said: “We both have a very young population. We both have a population that is innovative, that is determined to do better than their peers, to continually strive. No body really taking no for an answer, okay.

“For us, and I know it’s the same for Nigerians, if the door is closed, then you’re coming through the window and if the window is closed, you’re coming in through the ceiling into the room, and that is very much, an Israeli trait.”

According to him, the governments of Abia and Israel could do a lot together in the area of agriculture, using technology and innovation.

“We are blessed to have leading agriculture experts in the world and specifically in areas of cassava, rice and cocoa production.

“It takes 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogramme of rice. It is a huge amount of water, but Israel has discovered a technology that allows you to grow one kilogramme of rice with 1,500 litres of water, and using the drip technology you can grow it anywhere,” he said.

Freeman also said that Abia had a growing reputation of working in education and technology, adding that the Isreali Government was poised to partner with Abia in this area.

He said that the Isreali government runs a programme called, Innov8, that trains young Nigerian entrepreneurs and innovators. “We mentor them for six to nine months and at the end of the programme, we help them attract funding,” he said.

The Isreali Ambassador said that the achievement of having full time electricity in Aba was very commendable and added that such potential would allow both governments to work on digital economy, technology, science and agriculture.

Governor Otti, who thanked the Israeli Ambassador for the visit and accepted his invitation to visit Israel, welcomed the idea of collaboration without hesitation.

He said: “I’m very pleased, very happy to receive Your Excellency, the Ambassador, today in Abia State. I’m more enamored to listen to you speak passionately about some of the things that are so, so important to us as a government and as a people.

“I’m very happy and I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the state government will partner with you and work closely with you.

“Listening to you, you have a clear understanding of how the economy works, particularly the modern economy, and you have also done extensive research, particularly the things that are important to us in Abia.”

He said that the determination and resilience of the citizens even in the face of the current economic situation and failures of past administrations has served as an encouragement for him to keep evolving policies and programmes that would improve their welfare and make their businesses thrive.

“After extensive research about the things that are important to us and the resources that are available, infact, I would say that the most important resource we have are the human beings.

“The ‘can do spirit’ of our people the creativity, the innovativeness, the never say die attitude of our people, that’s actually what keeps us going.

“Our people, despite the difficulties and failures of governance they have faced in the past, have continued to trudge on, to fight.

“They are so resilient and when I look at them and their spirit, that is what keeps me going. I am encouraged to work for them,” Governor Otti said.

The Governor said that plans were underway to build an Abia Innovation Center to further strengthen the government’s resolve to drive innovation and digitalisation.

“This is dress rehearsal, we have just started and I’m sure that in another year things would look a lot different, particularly with our people, with innovation, with digital technology, with our micro small and medium scale enterprise.

“Our people don’t want to be multinationals. They just want to do their thing in very creative and innovative ways. I am very sure that the next trip you will make in less than one year, you will see something different,” he said.

Governor Otti said that every successful transformation begins with an initial leap forward and added that the government was determined to translate ideas and intentions discussed into action.

The Governor was joined by several members of the State Executive Council and senior aides, including the Chief of Staff, Dr. Caleb Ajagba; and the Principal Secretary and Chief Strategy Officer, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, to receive the Israeli Ambassador and his team.

Photo Caption 1&2: Abia State Governor Alex Otti with Israeli Ambassador
Isopi, during the visit

Photo Caption 2: Governor Otti meeting with Ambassador Isopi and Mr. Osaro Odemwingie, Political Advisor.

~ NewsOrient