Okezie Victor Ikpeazu writes that the glory of Enyimba city is gradually being restored

Aba, the commercial rendezvous south-east of Nigeria, is evidently responding to multifaceted rehabilitation therapies which we are conscientiously administering.

What informed the patriotic drive to re-jig and inject life into the infrastructural and business life of Aba is located on the practical necessity of ensuring that the city conforms with modern trends and latest innovations in the dynamic world of business with particular reference to small and medium scale endeavours.
The two-pronged approach of proudly brandishing and hyping made in Aba products and engaging blue chip construction firms to restore the city’s pride of place, is evidently paying off.

Having grown up in Aba, I am naturally compelled to constantly engage in a retrospective juxtaposition of what obtained several years ago and the unacceptable state of what currently obtains. Hence, the avowal to re-direct and restore the lost glory of Enyimba city.

Engaging Aba constructively is the vital tonic, which micro small and medium enterprises desperately require to make far-reaching and positive impacts in their business. Tremendous in-roads have also been made in getting our small scale manufacturers to purge themselves of inferiority toga which has over the years hampered in no small measure their ability to globally showcase their ingenuity. I am excited to flaunt the achievements of made in Aba products given that it is boldly represented in our gubernatorial blue print.

Having inculcated in our people the inevitability of developing “I can do it spirit”, made in Aba products hitherto produced and flown to Dubai, re-labelled and imported as foreign products is gradually being confined to the trash can of history, as most of them are now proudly inscribed “made in Aba”. This follows from our result yielding vigorous promotion project propagated in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and beyond.

As the chief marketer of made in Aba products which over the years I have un-repentantly patronised and proudly modelled, the expected and exhilarating signal from our national government has also birthed the “made in Nigeria” sing-song. Great things they say start from small beginning.

The federal government became the first to be counted as Abia played host to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo during his flag-off of National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises clinic. Made in Aba products have also largely become the most cherished and patronised following from the vice- president’s charge directing ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) to source locally manufactured products.

It energised our earlier business overtures made to government establishments like National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Nigerian Armed Forces, paramilitary organisations, the 36 states of Nigeria, etc. The encouraging outcome is that before long, very scarce foreign resources which would have been expended in procuring 50,000 pairs of military combat boots abroad, were ploughed back into the economy as Aba SME’s proudly and qualitatively came to the rescue.

Consequently, the Nigerian Navy, Civil Defence and allied agencies have cued in. Where there is a will, there will always be a way. The pathway to relevance may be fraught with daunting and challenging tasks but only the never say die spirit prevalent in us as a people will symbolically prove to the world that we cannot be ignored.

Little wonder therefore that TBWA concept: a virile advertising and marketing firm in liaison with Ford Foundation which took the bill, decided to sensitise the global audience leveraging the Cable News Network popularly known as CNN to showcase the trail-blazing milestones of SME’s going on in Aba.

Accomplishment they say banishes insult and we do not intend to backtrack on the gains so far made. This truism motivated us to recently sponsor the training of 100 youths, who will be travelling to China in batches with a view to enhancing and manifesting their skills in the use of automated shoemaking technology.

Perfection of arrangements has been faithfully made, to procure and install comprehensive range of automated shoe manufacturing equipment (modern day mass production enabler) in Aba. On completion of their phased capacity building programme, our youths will be deployed to handle state of the art shoe producing factory being inaugurated in Aba. This will reasonably free them from the multiplicity of setbacks and irritations inherent in having to produce manually.

We acknowledge the inevitability of energy as the driving force of any given economy and had proactively factored its unavoidable place in the end success of what our mandate is programmed to achieve. This is located in the recent and audacious giant step of having to encourage Ruyi Holdings Group Shandong China currently interfacing with Geometric Power Company in association with Enyimba Economic City Limited for the attainment of uninterruptible power supply in Aba. It is expected that with this arrangement, $530 million will be injected into Aba Integrated Power Project.

On completion, the energy consumption status of Aba and its environs would have been revolutionised given the over 500 megawatts of electricity that will be up for generation and maximal utilisation.

The Aba Independent Power Project being driven by the tenacity and doggedness of Geometric Power Company had seen to the construction of several sub-stations in Aba and recently a 140-kilometre power line and gas supply infrastructure. These critical sub-stations will be released for deployment of power as soon as work is completed on the independent power station.

My implicit confidence in the strategic importance of micro small and medium enterprises to navigate any given economy especially in our clime motivated us to bifurcate and separately inaugurate micro small and medium enterprises as a full-fledged ministry.

It will undoubtedly provide the vista for us to fast track the long overdue growth of MSME’s. As was recently expressed during my key note address in Kigali Rwanda, our outstretched hand of fellowship will constantly reach out to states and nations for a symbiotic bilateral relationship aimed at manifesting and economically harnessing our latent potential.

Let’s proudly say welcome to made in Aba.

Dr. Ikpeazu is the Governor of Abia State

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Having inculcated in our people the inevitability of developing ‘I can do it spirit’, made in Aba products hitherto produced and flown to Dubai, re-labelled and imported as foreign products are gradually being confined to the trash can of history, as most of them are now proudly inscribed ‘made in Aba’