In 2015, the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu started a new era.
His business approach to governance could not be ignored by the country. Beyond making Trade and Commerce one of the pillars of his administration, he practically became the face of made in Aba by targeting more national and global markets to push Abia and her huge potentials.
Abia is presently enjoying the dividends of Dr. Ikpeazu’s commitment and believe in our people to change the narrative. His government has sponsored youths to China to learn automated shoe making, sent traders to Turkey, organized trade fairs both in Nigeria and overseas. His government equally gave out grants to traders, built automated shoe and garment factories, skill learning centres etc.
Unarguably, Abia parades catalogues of high spirited youths who have been trained and are willing to take calculated business risks. Through SMEs development, this youthful energy and drive have metamorphosed into more meaningful resources.
Outside the scope of training, skill acquisition, marketing, patronage and funding support, Governor Ikpeazu has greatly supported SMEs by building roads that link traders and businesses to places of major economic activities in the State.
For the first time in over 30 years , Ariaria was accessed from Brass junction in Aba, ushering a new breath of life to traders and artisans in Ariaria and surrounding markets. Eziukwu, Cemetery, Ngwa road, Emelogu markets are some of the roads he built to support transportation of goods and movement of customers to and fro markets.
It was therefore heartwarming to receive a further stamp of commendation from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), affirming Abia among the top 5 best States in Nigeria in terms of proportion of poverty and its intensity. What it means is that Abia State economy is viable. All economic indices of growth and development favour Abia State.
The multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) survey report released last week, measured deprivations related to education, health, living standard, work and security.
“Sokoto leads the poorest with 90.5 per cent of people in the state poor. It is followed by Bayelsa with 88.5 per cent poor people, Gombe with 86.2 per cent, Jigawa with 84.3 per cent, and Plateau with 84 per cent.
The least poor states are Ondo with 27.2 per cent poor people, Lagos with 29.4 per cent, Abia 29.8 per cent, Edo with 31 per cent, and Anambra with 32.1 per cent.”
The body had earlier rated Abia as the 3rd in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) confirming that Ikpeazu’s approach secured foreign investments and patronage into Abia, making its economy more viable for trade and it’s attached benefits.
Recognitions have continued to pour in for Governor Ikpeazu on how he has fulfiled his campaign promises of taking Abia to greater heights. The latest being a Best Governor Award on Trade from Telegraph newspapers.
The Governor was particularly thrilled with the award as it coincides with the publication of NBS on Trade coupled with Security and enabling environment for commerce to flourish.
Ikechukwu Iroha writes from Ohafia.