Waiting for Emerging Smart City in Abia’s Capital Territory

At the moment, Cosmo Base Consortium has designed a smart city with residential and industrial areas in the backward areas of Umuahia in Abia State, but without the defections of the capital city territory. Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo reports that it is a grandiose project initiated by the private sector operator to showcase what city dwelling should really be like, where amenities are part of life and living is as comfortable as can be

Like most capital cities in Nigeria, Umuahia, the Abia State capital offers residents little or no comfort. Life could be frustrating as social amenities that distinguish cities from rural areas are virtually absent. The absence of pipeborne water sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s part of life to see Umuahia residents flocking to private residences that have borehole facilities to get water for their domestic uses.

But water is not provided free of charge as most borehole owners use the facilities for commercial purposes. They collect money from people who come to fetch water, depending on the size of the container. The public taps in Umuahia dried up since August 2007.

Now, a city designed without the defections of Umuahia is emerging within the capital city territory. It is a grandiose project initiated by a private sector operator to showcase what city dwelling should really be like, where amenities are part of life and living is as comfortable as can be. Cosmo Base Consortium, which is driving this project is building a smart city with residential and industrial areas in the backward areas of Umuahia capital territory.

Christened Umuahia Industrial City(UIC), the project offers the prospective residents a total new experience of modern city life. The project has elicited excitement among private sector operators, who are already expressing their interest to join in making it a reality. For instance, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the founder/CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing(IVM), is said to have expressed interest to key into the project.

The President of Cosmo Base Consortium, Rev Benson Ezem, who is an accomplished Architect and development consultant, initiated the project to facilitate the overall growth of the capital territory of Abia State.
According to him, the Umuahia Industrial City “promises to redefine urban living in Umuahia and set new standards for sustainable, self sufficient communities”.

He said: “The establishment of this Industrial City is driven by the need to create a harmonious, all-inclusive Umuahia Capital City that offers comfort, recreation and economic opportunities for all residents.

“Its unique combination of developmental hubs, schools, hospitals, industries, and residential housing, all conveniently zoned within easy reach, represents a groundbreaking approach within this region(Southeast)”.

Still in its incubation period, the project would hatch into a magnificent city, majestically adorning the landscape of Abia’s capital territory. Not that it would replace Umuahia, the seat of government. No. Instead, it presents a new vista of aesthetics and functionality in urban planning and development suffused with facilities lacking in most cities, not only Abia but in the entire South East zone, and Nigeria in general.

The smart city is located at the southern end of the state capital territory and would be a welcome alternative to Umuahia which is afflicted with stunted growth. Check it: since it was made the capital of Abia State in August 27, 1991, the city has not received the needed push for expansion. Apart from absence of social amenities, the pace of development in the Abia capital has become a frustrating expectation for residents who have been yearning for exponential transformation of the capital city.

Successive administrations, both military and civilian, have come and gone in Abia without conscious efforts to expand the city. This has given rise to the saying that ‘you can go and live outside Umuahia for decades and when you return you won’t miss your way’. This is because the city remains virtually stagnant.

Efforts were made by the administration of Senator Theodore Orji to expand the city northwards by relocating the central market from the city centre to Ubani, about 8km away. The timber market was moved westwards to Ahiaeke Ndume while the multiple motor parks jostling for spaces at the city centre were also relocated to a central terminal at Ohia, about five kilometres southwards.

However, the desired goals were not achieved as the succeeding government of Okezie Ikpeazu didn’t follow up with the project. The city expansion policy was completely abandoned by the administration and the relocated projects were left to rot. To worsen matters, residents, who had been resisting the relocations of both the market and the motor parks flooded back to the city centre, popularly known as Isi Gate. Hence, the bedlam of congestion and confusion has  continued.

So, while Umuahia continues to battle with its challenges, here comes the new Industrial City to offer a whole world of comfortable living. It has four components, namely residential zone, commercial zone, recreational zone and industrial zone. Its smartness stems from the fact that every facility is state of the art and also futuristic. The project developer, Cosmo Base Consortium is well positioned to see it through. It has a track record of accomplishments, capabilities, and extensive experience in project execution across the nation.

This smart city is situated along the Umuahia- Aba axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway. It’s specifically located in Ubakala, Umuahia South Local Government, which together with Umuahia North Local Government, make up the state capital territory. The emerging city is about 10 minutes drive from Umuahia, the capital city and 30 minutes from Aba, the commercial hub of Abia, hence its proximity to these two cities makes it very viable for residential industrial development.

The residential buildings come in different types, including five bedroom detached, five bedroom semi-detached, five bedroom terrace duplexes. There are also three bedroom detached and semi-detached bungalows as well as two bedroom detached and semi-detached bungalows. Provisions are made for two bedroom housing units as well, meaning that the interest of every family size is accommodated.

Ezem described the residential buildings as “the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality”. He further explained that the homes were “designed with spacious layout, modern amenities, and a tranquil ambience that offers a sense of belonging. So, for those
yearning for opportunity to live their life in a city where things work, the Umuahia industrial city offers such opportunity.

He explained that the industrial zone was strategically included in the new city “in our comprehensive approach to sustainable development”. The zone, which covers an expanse of 15 hectares, is meant to cater for the needs of light industries and manufacturing companies. It will also provide a hub for industrial commerce.
“One of the primary functions of this Industrial zone is to offer a secure and purpose-built location where businesses in the light industries and manufacturing sectors can efficiently warehouse their stock,” Ezem said. He further added that the industrial zone “is particularly beneficial for companies looking to streamline their supply chain operations, enhance inventory management, and improve overall logistical efficiency”.

Other expected projects primed to adorn the UIC to make the new city serve its purpose include hotels, banks, hospital, schools, restaurants, printing press and shopping mall. Unlike the state capital with no recreational parks, the new city comes with outdoor parks for the relaxation of residents and family picnics. A gulf course is also nearing completion at Amibo, which is close to the new city.

As the project is purely private sector driven, Cosmo Base Consortium is getting collaborations from private sector operators. Already Benaks CNG, a renowned gas distribution firm in the Southeast zone has keyed into the new city project. The company says that it would make the city eco-friendly. It has given assurance that  “through this collaboration we are well-positioned to provide a greener and more cost-effective energy to our community”.

With the presence of Benaks there is no room for the ubiquitous filling stations where petroleum products are dispensed. In their place is controlled natural gas(CNG) station. Reason is that the Umuahia Industrial City is designed with environmental consciousness in mind. Instead of fossil fuel, the community would be provided with greener, cost-effective energy alternative for domestic and outdoor uses.

This smart city is designed with the new trend of shift to cleaner energy hence even the transport system would be operated with environmentally friendly energy. “We recognise the pressing need for a cleaner, more sustainable energy source, particularly in the transportation sector,” says Benak. The company promises to leverage on its “extensive experience to create a brighter and more environmentally conscious future for all”.

For residents whose vehicles are running on fossil fuel, there’ll be no need to discard them. Benak looks to pioneer the change to cleaner energy. It is dedicated to transforming the energy landscape of the new city by manufacturing, supplying, and providing vehicle conversion services for controlled natural gas.

“Our mission”, says the CNG firm, “is to offer a comprehensive solution that not only reduces emissions but also significantly lowers operating costs for both consumers and businesses”. One particular thing about life in the UIC which would mostly interest women, is a situation where CNG is piped into their homes and metered, saving them the inconveniences of dragging cylinders to the gas stations.

That’s quite a different ball game altogether from what obtains in the cities across the nation. Even when new layouts are carved out in existing city for development no one thinks of taking the gas pipes to homes just like water pipes run into homes. Thus, Benaks  has promised that it was poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the energy landscape of Umuahia Industrial City.

There is no room for environmental pollution both in the air and on the land. The network of drainage system is tucked below the ground and sealed beyond the reach of those with the bad habits of blocking drains with wastes. In fact, the waste management system is designed to overcome the ugly sight of overflowing, nauseating refuse bins that have become the scourge of most urban areas in Nigeria.

The Umuahia Industrial City is a place to live in and work or engage in business in every aspect. However, the successful execution of the project would not, by any means, be a walk in the park. It would certainly gulp huge resources. It would require total commitment, resilience and focused attention to details in delivering the project according to concept and design. Good enough the developer, which is a formidable firm of chartered architects, engineering consultants and town planners already have what it takes to start and complete a developmental project of this magnitude without compromising standards.

Though Ezem has not come up with a specific date the emerging city would be ready for habitation and industrial activities, he did not leave any doubt that the smart city would definitely come to be. Cosmo Base Consortium is working assiduously to make it happen.

With better access to recreational facilities like gardens, parks sports arenas, among others, it is expected that life expectancy would improve for the residents. Not only that, the many facilities in the emerging new city would transform the host areas that were hitherto among the backward parts of the capital territory, thereby creating a balanced regional development.


Now, a city designed without the defections of Umuahia is emerging within the capital city territory. It is a grandiose project initiated by a private sector operator to showcase what city dwelling should really be like, where amenities are part of life and living is as comfortable as can be. Cosmo Base Consortium, which is driving this project is building a smart city with residential and industrial areas in the backward areas of Umuahia capital territory

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