I want to commend the Governor of Edo State, Gov. Godwin Obaseki for his tremendous help in reviving our factory Nat Limited . Our factory was closed down for about 4yrs because my wife was ill and I had to travel with her to Switzerland, our second home, for medical attention and there was no one available to manage the factory so I put the factory up for sale.
The Governor visited the factory while I was away in Switzerland and met only 2 workers who were in charge of safeguarding the factory.
In September 2018 I got a call from one of them that the Governor visited the factory. I was quite surprised because for more than 40years that our factory has been running, we have never gotten any visit from any Government including Edo State Government where we are located. Though we tried severally in the past to get them to see our factory and patronize us but they never responded.
I was contacted by the SSA (Senior Special Adviser) to the Governor but I explained to her that I was currently not in the country.
I got back into the country 2months later and contacted the SSA (Senior Special Adviser) to the governor. She scheduled an appointment for me to meet with the governor. I went to see the Governor 3days later and I was well received. The manner and way he received me showed he had respect for my age even though he was the Governor.
After exchanging pleasantries, he thanked me firstly for loving my State enough to set up and establish a furniture factory with my foreign wife in the State. He went on to say that he would provide jobs to keep the factory running in order to create employment and also to empower people by training them in the furniture business.
When he finished speaking, I thanked him for his warm reception and explained to him that as a result of my age I would not be able to run the factory so I suggested that since the factory was put up for sale, the Government could buy over the factory and that I would be willing to assist in any possible way to help them resuscitate it.
He then said that if the factory was bought over by the government, it would not last for more than 6months. He further appealed to me to put the factory in order and promised to give us jobs to supply furniture to various locations in the state thereby creating funds for the effective running of factory.
I was quite surprised and filled with joy that such a person could have so much love for the state. I also told him of my dream to help people move forward in life by creating jobs and even giving one subsidized meal daily for workers as being practiced in many companies but wasn’t possible because we had very low patronage.
In the past the only contracts we got were given to us by some architects, Shell Petroleum Development cooperation that visited and inspected our factory and registered us as one of the suppliers of furniture items. This really helped us at the beginning to help build up the factory but later when the usual corrupt practice of Nigeria crept in jobs were no more available. The various government and organizations resorted to importing furniture and we got jobs from few northern Governors while we didn’t get any jobs from the south-south regions.
I thanked him for giving my wife and I the privilege of realizing our dream (providing jobs for our people). While most of the furniture factories in the State and Nigeria at large were charging apprenticeship fee, we were accepting apprentices free of charge and giving them allowances.
Keeping to his words the Governor helped to reopen our factory, he awarded contracts to my company and five other companies to produce and supply furniture across offices in Edo state and payment for these jobs were made to us as and when due. He also made provision for trainees who are interested in the furniture business. These trainees were being paid twenty thousand naira monthly. In addition to this, working tools were provided and an amount was set aside for them to set up their workshops after the completion of their training. This action of the governor is unprecedented in the history of this country where everyone is for himself and not for the people.
Presently the International Organization of Migration (IOM) is in discussion with us with regards training of returnees in wood work, etc.
My wish is that the Governor be allowed to govern Edo state for another 4years so as to continue building the good legacy and foundation which he started in his first tenure. After the completion of his second tenure then someone else can be elected to continue building on this good foundation and legacy.
I have never been an advocate of any party but I will vote for the betterment and the good of the State and the country. Please let us give Governor Obaseki the opportunity to continue the good foundation he has started in the next 4years.
It is important to note that since independence there hasn’t been any physical development because their foundation was laid down on sand and couldn’t stand the test of time. We need a strong foundation where capable and intelligent people are at the herm of the affairs. Thugs should never be allowed to run the affairs in the local government or State government.
With this it is safe to say that the governor means well for the people.
This is an opportunity for us to give him the maximum support in order to move the state forward. We pray that God will help us in our desire.
God bless Edo State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Asemota is Founder and CEO of NAT LTD