|Inside Ariaria International Market Aba – Shoe Plaza|
Aba is an important town to Ndi-Igbo. You won’t be wrong to suggest it is symbolic to Igbos.
It represent the characteristic of NdiIgbo, their industrious spirit, there never say never attitude and the Obu-anyi-Danda methodology.
Little wonder Dim Ojukwu insisted that he must be brought to Aba before internment. This symbolism of Aba to NdiIgbo makes the promise to fix Aba an important election promise. An important electoral selling point.
Remember Before Abia State, Aba was in existence.
Ironically, the mess Aba is, has always been a topic of intense discussion in an attempt to marry the industrious nature of the people and the hopelessness that each successive government represents.
This is a town full of industrious people who sees opportunities where others sees challenges, people willing and ready to pile up behind any challenges, being ruled by a circulating group of thieving inept bunch.
Little wonder Abia people will forever have a soft spot for De Mbakwe, an unassuming man, a honest man, the father of modern day Aba.
The current Abia State government made a pledge to Regenerate Aba. Promote Aba made products. They will always remind us, Ndi Aba Ma Ndi Aba!
Of truth, this government has constructed a few roads in Aba and Re-ashpalted a few others. The CPO the the Governor summed it up that the government has constructed 26 roads in the whole state since inception.
A poor record.
I decided to personally interogate the Aba-Made philosophy of this present Government.
Visiting the 3 main shoe production clusters; power Line, Bakassi, and Shoe plaza located around Ariaria market.
|Inside Aba Shoe Plaza|
The first thing that hits you as you go into these clusters is the total lack of Government presence. The Total Neglect.
The Aba spirit and the fact that they must fend for their family are the main driving forces behind these artisans.
I tried to understand what help the government have offered them to realize the Aba Made project.
Sadly, apart from the photos of the Governor wearing clothes inscribed Aba-Made and also pictures of him, Presenting shoes to Obasanjo and Saraki said to be made in Aba, the state Government has not place materials and resources to the disposal of these shoe makers!
Even the highly published 50,000 shoe order by the Nigeria Military has been swallowed up by the murky politics in Nigeria.
There is no road, there is no power, their is no water, there is no security from the Government. These artisan provides all of these for themselves.
The state government has not made any technological investment in these clusters is regards acquiring modern techniques and machinery.
The state government have not made any investment in the Apprenticeship scheme to ensure skills transfer to coming generation.
As if to add to the misery of these artisans, the state government announced that a Chinese “Room and parlour” shoe company is coming to invest and Build a 5 Billion Dollar shoe factory in Aba! Ask them how much is Gucci worth! Even Shell will struggle to put together a 5 Billion Dollar investment.
The Government has not made it easier for them to have access to capital, machinery, failed to develop their entrepreneurship skills and even failed to provide “common” infrastructure!
Aba is technically cut off from the rest of Nigeria! Coming from Akwa Ibom is impossible, coming from PH is difficult, coming from Enugu you need to content with the gully filled PH-Enugu Road. And for good measures, the state has made Osisioma junction a nightmare!
How then is this govt driving her ABA MADE project?
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