Below is the (10th edition) of ‘Abia Today’ by Mr Onyema Courage.
10th edition titled: Why ‘Made In Aba’ Goods Are Valued Less
Read below and drop your comments:
The entrepreneurship prowess of Aba, the commercial city of Abia State and one of the oldest cities in Nigeria has been neglected both nationally and internationally for years.
The products coming from the city have been devalued and regarded as fake or ‘China’ by many.
Few days ago, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s led administration flagged off the Proudly Made In Aba Campaign. The event had the presence of most Southeastern dignitaries and the superstar artiste Ruffcoin (Nwa Aba) who happens to be the brand ambassador of the campaign.
In just two years in office, Gov. Ikpeazu have been toiling with a way to promote ‘Made In Aba’ products. He recently went to China in search of foreign investors to help add quality to Aba made products like shoes, wears etc.
In as much as one cannot rule out the positive effects Gov. Ikpeazu’s era has made in maintaining the relevance of Aba on the world’s map, one can still question his efforts as I strongly believe more and different strategies need to be exercised in order to achieve this dream of selling Aba Entrepreneurs to the world.
Lagos State seems to be the mountain top of Nigerian’s entrepreneurship, this they have acquired not by appealing for their products to be valued but by continuously branding and re-branding their products.
Aba indeed has even more creative and productive hands than Lagos but what differentiates the products from both cities is branding.
How many of our Aba entrepreneurs are registered with Corporate Affairs Commission?
How many of them has logos, brand names and websites?
Can one actually value a product with an unknown producer? The answer is negative.
I guess a phone produced with no registered logo or brand name should and is right to be addressed as ‘fake’ or ‘China’ despite its quality and uniqueness.
The State government has and is still fighting the accumulated superstitious belief that nothing good can come out of Aba, but right now the fight has gone beyond that.
If the Aba Entrepreneurs and the Abia State Government want to stand tall in entrepreneurship, the government should set up sensitization programmes for manufacturers.
Mark Essien of Hotel.ng and other celebrated Nigerian entrepreneurs are probably not as rich and creative like an average Aba Entrepreneur yet they receive national and international recognition as entrepreneurs and their products/ services valued above all, because of their branding.
Over 800,000 shoes are produced in Aba in a single day and yet one cannot mention for sure one shoe manufacturing company in Aba.
Until Aba entrepreneurs start branding and advertising their products, the efforts of Gov. Ikpeazu and the ‘Made In Aba’ campaign will not be substantial.
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