By Raphael Oni
At the 4th edition of the Nigeria Entrepreneurship Award held in Abuja recently , His Excellency Okezie Ikpeazu the Governor of Abia State bagged the ‘’Most Investor Friendly State of the 2017 Year Award’’ said that the promotion of the patronage of Made in Aba products is not all about Aba but Nigeria and the youth in the country. Furthermore he said that the local production and patronage of goods and services in Aba has gone a long way in strengthening the nation’s economy.
Gov Ikpeazu highlighted that his government is working towards automating the process of shoe making, creation of industrial clusters, adding that the state is ready for global completion. He assured that the handwork of artisans in Aba shall no longer go unnoticed as Made-in-Aba label has been returned on shoes and other products manufactured in the city. The Governor who prides himself as “Nwaba”, Aba boy in English, is the biggest ambassador of the made in Aba brand. Promoting locally made products and growing the Nigerian made products. Branding his dresses with his name and the Aba brand shows that he is indeed practicing what he says and believes in Aba Products.
He said through various interventions the state government has boosted the self-esteem of the local manufacturers and has stopped the reckless act of tagging local manufactured products to foreign countries. In his words, “I cannot remember how many shoes the naval command in Nigeria has ordered from Aba, but I know that the total direct order into the Aba economy, which is in the excess of N1.5 billion, was able to change the timidity of the Aba business person from spending 18 hours a day preparing a shoe; only to wake up to acknowledge somebody in Japan who did not do anything but just stamping on that shoe Made in Aba.’’
The governor said that with the increasing patronage of Made- in- Aba products, the city would rise again and reclaim its lost glory as a centre of trade and manufacturing also to sustain this the government is building roads networks in the state. According to him, ‘’The roads I am working on has a lifespan of 50 years and it is the only state that are keeping two grade A contractors I have Setraco and I have Arab Contractors working and a Chinese company doing our flyover. We are working on automating the process of shoe making, the creation of industrial clusters, the coming of regular power supply and we are ready for global completion,’’.
He also assured maximum security for investors, adding that he recently he played host to 30 investors from China who came to key into state’s investment drive through the setting up of a one-stop-shop where entrepreneurs can showcase their wares and investors can have access to them.