By Emeka Mamah
ABA—GOVERNOR Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State yesterday said that the campaign for made-in-Aba goods had recorded good results, as Nigerians now patronise clothes, shoes and other items made in the state’s commercial city.
Ikpeazu said ballot boxes used for some elections in the country were produced in Aba, adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, placed the orders for the ballot boxes instead of importing them from China.
The governor who spoke in an interview with journalists at the Aba Government Lodge, also said military shoes are also being produced in Aba, with Federal Government patronising the market with huge orders.
He noted that 5,000 shops at Ariara Market in Aba had enjoyed uninterrupted power supply in the last three months, following a strategic approach at marketing the industries by his administration.
According to him, the order placed for shoes by the military and the NYSC brought over N500 million revenue for Aba traders, who have toiled over the years to break- even.
“The other side is that your child produces something; it is not like the one that the Italians have produced, it must not be like that, but it is something, which you can wear proudly and say I am wearing this thing for reason that my child produced it. So, I’m proud of this my child,” he said.
He further said, “For the past three months now, they have enjoyed uninterrupted power. So, power is coming too, because we marketed our products. Nigerians have no need to go to China, Taiwan or any other country for their imports. We can obtain information on any imported technology and reproduce same here.
“On roads, we try to run a research-based government because we did soil test in Aba and on every site and we have come to the conclusion that now, you have had water sitting for 16 years in a place you want to construct roads. The solution is not to put laterite on the soil because the soil texture would have changed from the coarse sand to something that is slither and gray.
“COREN in Abia State is partnering us and supervising to make sure that our contractors work in accordance with the agreement we had. Today, you will see that the roads we’re doing are roads that lead to one economic hub or the other. The consideration to do road is no longer based on how cordial the friendship between the person, the beneficiary and the community and the governor is, but about the socio-economic advantage or relevance of that place.
“I give you an example. The Federal Government is supposed to build Ikot-Ekpene Road. And our statistics show that we get inflows of people that come into Aba every day from two major flanks – one from Port Harcourt and the other flank, Ikot-Ekpene.
“About 60 percent of the people come from Port Harcourt while 40 percent come from Ikot-Ekpene but the 40 percent that come from Ikot-Ekpene spend more than the 60 percent that come from Port Harcourt in Aba.
“Therefore, we had to ventilate Aba because around 2014, traders in Ariara were virtually idle; they would just fold their hands and play draft and wait for several hours for people to come, but people would not come from both internal and across the border.”