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The City of Coal, set on the historical antecedent of great industrialists and remarkable politicians like Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, and many other powerful entrepreneurs who administered Igboland, right from the soil of Enugu, has today become one of the safest cities in Nigeria.

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit this iconic city before, but on this remarkable occasion, Sujimoto Rice Farm Estate is what got us invited by the entrepreneurial governor, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, who immediately took action and called for a meeting to discuss the vast opportunities and how we intend to transform Enugu state through the first-of-its-kind Sujimoto Farm Estate project.

Blessed with a land area of 7,161 km2, favourable weather conditions, enormous resources, and a strong potential to become a $30 billion economy before 2030, Enugu State's remarkable plan is in line with our vision of transforming the capital city of south-eastern Nigeria into the Dubai of Africa through agro-tourism, manufacturing and affordable housing opportunities.

The land of hills and valleys, a very clean, calm, and beautiful city that boasts an astounding number of agro-industrial commodities such as cassava, soya beans, rice, oil palm production, cashew, industrial coal and a potential for limestone. Therefore, it will be unacceptable for us to ignore the heritage of those massive resources that are still buried in the bowels of the soil and yet to be tapped for development.

When we arrived at the beautiful city of Enugu in the morning through the very busy Akanu Ibiam International Airport, we received a very warm reception portrayed by Ndi Enugu, made up of highly respectful people with great enthusiasm for progressive development. Don’t be surprised that in the morning you’d find over 500 cars parked at the park, with people jogging along the well-mapped-out and well-organised road networks.

The chief of staff, Barrister Victor Udeh, welcomed us with great enthusiasm and meticulously ushered us to the beautiful protocol officer, Chidinma, who made sure our arrival went very well as we settled in at the Maxbe Continental Hotel, one of the best hotels in Nigeria today—a kind gesture by the industrious governor who made sure everything was paid for.

I can’t believe that in the corners of Nigeria, we still have young boys who still get inspired by the nuggets I share across social media. I came in contact with young Chukwudi, a mechanical engineer who doubles as a bellboy in the wonderful hotel. He was very excited to have met Sujimoto in person, as we spoke briefly about his dream of building an estate in the heart of Enugu.

If Amala is to Ibadan, then Okpa is to Enugu. Upon settling in, the first thing I did was to call on my friend Brandy, who took me to a very nice and well-structured Mama Put, where we had the very best of local south-eastern delicacies before we proceeded to the State House.

As we drove through the pines of the city, following a very smooth road trip through its hilly region with noticeable ongoing road dualizing projects and other infrastructural developments, one could see the enviable work and transformational agenda of Dr. Mbah’s great leadership unfolding since he assumed office in 2023.

Many may say I'm from Nnewi, but I met my match when I encountered the DO IT NOW master, the political entrepreneur Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, who welcomed us with unparalleled hospitality and provided us with 1000 reasons why Enugu State was the best choice for our future audacious projects.

With an ambitious project set to span over 30,000 hectares of rice farm and a mill producing approximately 800,000 tonnes of rice annually, Sujimoto Farm Estate will be built on an advanced farming system that incorporates housing, farm hospitals, hotels, and markets within an ecosystem, driving agro-tourism, employment opportunities, and affordable housing for Enugu State.

It was very important that the governor, who emulates the "Do it now" characteristics, didn’t make us wait for more than 5 minutes to get things done immediately. In his words, “nothing will stop this ambitious project—not money, not location. I will do everything within my capacity to make sure this project comes to fruition.”

When the forebears and great industrialists like Sheikh AL Maktoum and Lee Kuan Yew conceived the models of Dubai and Singapore a few decades ago, they began to sow their future like a tiny seed, as we are doing now. Today, those countries have become models of the wondrous depth of human capacity.

There is no doubt in our capacity to recreate the iconic wonderment of economic prosperity and phenomenal growth witnessed in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates in the iconic city of Enugu. Our will and objective, in line with Dr. Mbah’s vision of making the coal city Nigeria's investment capital, remain strong and unshakeable.

It's no surprise that Dr. Peter Mbah will be one of the most successful administrators, as he's demonstrated this in his entrepreneurial endeavours with the Pinnacle Group and, hopefully, with the great coal state of Enugu.

The Sujimoto farm estate in Enugu State signals the beginning of our core ambition of creating 1 million hectares of rice farms across the nation, starting with Oyo, Ebonyi, Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa, and Niger State, among several other states that stand to benefit from Sujimoto's industrial commercial farm estate project.

This massive project also aims at tackling food security, creating thousands of farm entrepreneurs, and contributing to the global market size of agricultural products like cassava, rice, soya beans, oil palm production, and cashew, which is projected to hit $7 billion by 2025.

It was also remarkable to have the backing of the amiable governor, who gave his full support, prompting us to get anything we need to get done, as what is important to him isn’t just driving in trade and investment for Enugu State but also projects that will in turn contribute significantly to the wellbeing of every citizen of the state.

The magnificent Sujimoto Farm Estate project, which will house one of the largest rice mills in Sub-Saharan Africa, will revolutionise rice paddy processing and also enhance self-sufficiency and economic growth for Enugu State, providing over 10,000 jobs for various citizens, particularly youths and women when the project commences.

While we were in the meeting with the governor, the young, vibrant, and articulate honourable commissioner for trade and investment of Enugu State, Hon. Adaora Chukwu, who has within her capacity made a significant contribution in eliminating common challenges faced by investors, further highlighted the benefit of the state’s enormous resources, such as coal and limestone, which also serves as an opportunity as part of our ambition for a Sujimoto cement plant in the coal city. In cement manufacturing, there are two crucial resources: limestone and energy, and coal plays a vital role in the production of energy.

My trip to Enugu wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the support I’ve received from the farm entrepreneur and commissioner of Agric, the man who understands the soil to its core, Hon. Patrick Nwabueze Ubru, who was also on the ground while we discussed various opportunities for Enugu state.

As part of my meeting with the governor, we also discussed our ambitious Sujimoto smart city project, which is a clear blueprint for replicating the new Dubai in some select cities in Nigeria. We also explored the possibility of extending the Smart City project to cover Enugu State as a major capital city in south-eastern Nigeria.

Before I bid farewell to the majestic city with its assemblage of good weather, beautiful hills, and enormous resources, I also had the esteemed privilege of being invited by the Special Adviser to the Governor, Engr. Mike Ogbuekwe, where we both watched the just concluded AFCON games while celebrating with a feast of mouthwatering Nkwobi, chilled beer, and very delicious isi ewu.

As part of Dr. Mbah’s vision for the transformational agenda of Enugu State throughout various sectors, including agriculture and manufacturing, the Sujimoto Farm Estate has been positioned to help facilitate the process and contribute to reducing hunger to zero by 2031, making the coal city state an agro-tourism destination and the food basket of the nation.

“It is time to sow the seed for the Enugu of our dream. We RICE by Feeding the Nation”

Dr. Sijibomi Ogundele is the Group Managing Director of Sujimoto Group, the Czar of Luxury Real Estate Development, and the mastermind developer behind the renowned Giuliano. Our other audacious projects, such as the most sophisticated building in Banana Island, LucreziaBySujimoto, the grandiose Sujimoto Twin Tower, the tallest twin towers in Africa; the regal Queen Amina by Sujimoto, a monument to royal affluence; the magnificent high-rise LeonardoBySujimoto; the Sujimoto Farm; an advanced farm estate system that incorporates housing, farm hospitals, hotels, and markets within an ecosystem, creating opportunities for agro-tourism and affordable housing., among other projects that have etched an indelible imprint on Nigeria’s skylines, a testament to Sujimoto's unrivalled mastery of modern-day engineering. 

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