Message to my Governor On Labour Day 2017 – by Hope Akwarandu

Abia State
Mr Hope Akwarandu

While we are looking at the provisions of the law on Expatriate Quota, let us bear in mind that Chinese do not honour it and they have a way of infiltrating the system over a period. I am not condemning the achievement of the governor by the governor but I am of the opinion that a structured indigenous financing program would’ve been better.

I have met with the Aba Leather product manufacturers and I can authoritatively state that all they need is financing to access the machinery required to compete globally. Every aspect of manufacturing in Aba needs structured financing. The expertise is already common.

Now that the governor has brought his Chinese Investor and development to the State. Go to for instance and check the e-marketers, you will realize that all those making wave in the Chinese Industry are individual investors. Have we also pondered at what could be the interest of the investment?

Who are the directors of this company? Is it State owned? Financed by the state and for the benefit of the people or is it another means of using power to create a multinational shoe company owned by a state director, where our people will be subjected to humiliation and be given peanut as monthly salary?

Is this another lie where the Chinese will bring their wheel barrow pushers from their streets and elevate them to the post of managers and be given power to humiliate our people, using them as slaves in a company that has been broadcasted on the television and on Facebook that the government is bringing development to our shoe makers.

How many of our shoe makers would be given the opportunity to share from the dividends of this development or is this another means or turning them to becoming company workers which is worst than being a keke rider in Aba. It is time we stop humiliating our people under the disguise of good governance and face the reality of government.

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The tone does not depict any lack of appreciation of the Governor’s act. Do you also know that some people had made presentations to same governor on how to make Aba greater than it is with power supply and micro and macro financing options? Our governors have a way of dancing more to foreign beats at the expense of our own technocrats.

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Take it or leave it…WHAT ABA NEEDS IS FINANCING to enhance what they are doing. They have done so very well over the years to develop the market even when people never gave them a chance. Why didn’t the governor organise an Invest In ABA road show where people can now partner with investors and still be uncharted of their businesses? The Lagos -China partnership is to build infrastructures like bridges, rails and housing to an extent. Let us dissect the level of investment that the governor has brought and details first. But if it is to bring Chinese people to manufacture here, he may have just mortgaged his people for Chinese benefit. PERIOD!

How did I you get my statistics? In 2011, Ositadinma Agu hosted the ABA producer at IMO Trade Expo where they exhibited their products and the government officials were shocked at the quality of products on display. The average ABA producer knows about quality because they have international patterns they use. It is common knowledge. The Ben Bruce experience is a recent reminder.

I believe there are more and sustainable ways to empower our people. If the Chinese want let them set up even in Ife, if our governments support our people the way theirs support them, we can compete favourably any where any time. Anyi bukwanu ndi Igbo. Some of our people have taken over Chinese companies on China soil. We must say our minds for posterity.

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With the right equipment, and governmental support, you may be amazed at the ingenuity currently lying fallow in Aba. So let the Chinese bring skills that are lacking in Alaigbo. High tech. (By Nigerian standards) plants are welcome. Tool and Dye plants are welcome. Chemical plants are welcome. Anything that will compete unfairly with and hurt local industry/ingenuity should be discouraged. ALL nations, including the Americans and Chinese protect their domestic industries.

Let us ask ourselves this question; Who Is Going To Benefit From This Company?
The Aba people?
The people of Abia State?

Governor Ikpeazu with the Chinese Investors buying corn on the roadside

Are we going to be looking at another company with nice buildings, good entrance where our workers work from 8am to 6pm serving the Chinese while all the dividends goes to the directors and to the investors or is it better to empower our people with good infrastructures good road and help them have access to good machineries, empower them just as the Chinese has done to their people of which one of them has come to invest part of it on our soil.

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Let’s say the truth and face the reality my people. Obu onye kwuo ezi okwu egbuo ya? I am in support of good governance.

Good thinking, Good Product…that was Toyota’s slogan in late 90s. If you do yours well, people will come for it. ABA is a brand that can only be enhanced with the right infrastructure. Machines and money make the difference. Come and see what my friend makes for Daviva run by the Chinese.

I think you need a rethink on ABA standards. Have you bought any recently? Try it and see what we mean. It is exported even to Botswana and South Africa. For the Daviva arrangement, my friend beats the standard of all that make their children’s clothes to the point that she cannot meet their order anymore. That’s because she was able to enhance her expertise with good machines. Period! Give Aba producers good machines and set up a quality control, they will do better than Chinese.

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Mass production has been perfected in Aba and I maintain that all they needed and still need is good funding strategy to raise their GDP and also increase the IGR of Abia state. I heard the governor say a thing like that immediately he took over. We are a people with unrivalled ingenuity and can compete anywhere in the world but may lose out totally if we cut off an arm and still feel we can stand a chance in the fight.

Whether in a structured Nigeria or not, comparative advantage is constant. Chinese can provide machines for us but should not take our jobs. They will bring their prisoners to work here and our people will become area boys. Preventive Diplomacy pays more than dialogue after the battle.

Chinese are slippery and do we have the will to keep monitoring them? The Nigerian Yuan deal with China crashed because of shrewd nature of that deal. What I am saying is that we should protect our people and not pushing them to more danger. Let’s be very analytical and make sustainable progress. China at a time had to shut their doors to any foreign goods until they stabilized and could compete.

Please empower our people. We don’t need to sell our right to foreigners.

Article by Hope Akwarandu


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