From FRED ITUA
Two Thursdays ago, Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu was honoured with a prestigious award. His state, Abia, was awarded Investors’ Friendly State of the Year during the fouth edition of the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award.
Although it was an award ceremony, it was like a political carnival. Apart from the governor who was on ground to personally receive the award, other big top shots stormed Sheraton Hotels and Towels, venue of the event.
Ikpeazu did not miss the chance to market his state. He told the gathering that local production and patronage of goods and services in Aba has gone a long way in strengthening the nation’s economy.
He noted that the state government is working towards automating the process of shoemaking and creation of industrial clusters, adding that the state is ready for global completion.
Ikpeazu assured that the handiwork of artisans in Aba will no longer go unnoticed as made-in-Aba label had been returned on shoes and other products manufactured in the city.
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.
According to him, “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 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.
“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 said.
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 could showcase their wares and investors could have access to them.
“It is on this that I undertook to market all products made in Aba. Since the made in Aba campaign which I’m the chief marketing officer started, 50,000 pairs of shoes have been bought by the Nigerian military from Aba.
‘I cannot tell how many shoes the office of the wife of the President has ordered to supply to the school children in IDP camps in the North East. I cannot remember how many NYSC uniforms that have been ordered from Aba,” he added.
The governor who prides himself as “Nwaba” (Aba boy) is the biggest ambassador of the Made-in-Aba brand.