Reasons have been given why Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, is promoting Made in Aba products with vigour.
In a statement issued in Umuahia, the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, stated that the governor’s motive is to spread prosperity in the state, create jobs, improve security of lives and property, and to reward the hard work and creativity of craftsmen in the state.
Ikpeazu also wants to aid the formal industrialization of Abia State and deliver higher Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for development of infrastructure, education and Agriculture.
To attest to his genuine intention, the Commissioner pointed out: “Neither the Governor nor any of his close family members have shoe making factory, tailoring outfit or metal fabrication business.
“Shoe planet started as one man business but today there are at least nine persons working directly for him in the business of shoe making and shoe selling. More than 40 others are indirectly engaged by Shoe Planet.
“If all the 250,000 MSMEs at Aba grow their businesses and employ 4 persons each then we will have 1m new non public sector jobs at Aba.
“An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. If our people are employed and actively working hard to produce 50,000 pairs of booth for the Nigerian Army; 100,000 uniforms for the NYSC; 10,000 belts for the Nigerian Navy; 35,000 pairs of shoe for victims of Boko Haram; costumes for Calabar Carnival; metal storage tanks for oil companies etc they won’t engage in kidnapping, armed robbery etc. Our security expenses will also go down and the lives of our young people will be preserved.
“For years the work and sweat of our craftsmen were wrongly credited to ‘Gucci’ Italy, Taiwan, China and even Senegalese manufacturers. The Governor wants our creative young people to be given due credit for their hard work. Hence we now label our brands ‘Proudly Aba Made’ or ‘Made In Aba’. Our craftsmen can compete in innovativeness with anyone from anywhere in the world. Come and try, if you can.
“To support our local craftsmen and traders, Governor Ikpeazu is devoting scarce resources to reconstruct key roads leading to the industrial clusters at Aba. Faulks Road leads to Ariaria International Market where shoes are made at Bakassi line. Six other proximal roads are being reconstructed with four already delivered.
“Preliminary work has started along Port Harcourt Road which is the metal fabrication hub of Aba. That key road stopped existing as a road many years ago but Governor Ikpeazu is taking over the federal road as a major support to our craftsmen and traders.
”Work is nearing completion along Aba-Owerri road which is a major entry point to Aba town where we have clusters of tailors and fashion designers. Similarly, many of the roads around the tailoring clusters have been fixed, including Mosque street, Kent street, Yorks, etc.
“An interchange is being constructed at Osisioma roundabout to ease entry into Aba for those coming to do business at Aba. Two new state roads are under construction, and already in use, as diversions away from the perennially bad federal government owned Ikot Ekpene road.
“The objective is to make it easy for people coming from AKs, CRS, Equatorial Guinea and Cameron to access Aba markets. Osusu, Omuma, Ngwa Road should get set to be impacted by Ikpeazu caterpillars. Just dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s of the relevant contracts.
“For the above reasons our people voted for Nwa Aba Okezie Ikpeazu. We knew he understands Aba better than his opponents and will do the needful for our people.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is doing exactly what we hired him for and our people are happy in Aba and Abia State with confidence that things will continue to get better and better for us.”