Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the Abia State governor, has restated his commitment to make Aba, the commercial city of his state, an industrial hub of Nigeria and Africa.
Ikpeazu stated this in Lagos during a dinner in honour of Elder Paul Ananaba (SAN) who was conferred with the Fellowship of the Nigeria Institute of Management (Chattered).
The governor, who spoke through Mr. Friday Oriaku, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, said his administration had started putting measures in place to actualise his dream for Aba stressing that already a platform had been provided for those into shoes and bag making business to thrive.
He revealed that about 30 persons were recently sent to China on one-month training, while enough machines needed for mass production and automation were procured for the production of shoes and bags in large quantities in addition to developing those critical things that would make them excel.
“Today in Abia, we are making sure that we leverage on that which God has blessed us thus far, which is the work of our hands.
“You can see what I am putting on. It is no longer made in Italy. We can proudly write on it ‘Made in Aba’ and of course, ‘Made in Nigeria’ generally, including other materials and things we can make,” he said.
Ikpeazu further said that access roads to the markets had been provided and over two million shoes were being made in Aba for West Coast, while people now take such business as a means of livelihood.
He said his administration had rehabilitated some roads, including Port Harcourt Road, which was closed for over 15 years and handling drainages, pedestrian walkways as well as street lights so that petty traders could take advantage of the situation and do their businesses into the night.
He said the education sector was very important in what the government had been doing, adding that in the last three years, Abia State had taken the first position in the country.
“I want to plead with our people to come home and find out the roads in Aba. As being projected, 300 schools are currently undergoing remodelling. Enyimba Stadium today is considered as the most developed stadium East of the Niger.
“Our effort is not only in Aba. Going to Arochukwu now from Umuahia, under one hour, you are there. Arrears of salaries of primary school teachers have been paid,” he added.
Prince Sunny Aku, chairman of the occasion, who extolled the virtues of Mr. Ananaba, urged him to continue in his good works.
Ananaba, in his response, expressed gratitude for the award, even as he assured that there was hope for Nigeria.