“Those who own the land must lead the way and develop in accordance with the values they hold dear – Abia state holds the value of commerce and industry so dear and has been reckoned over the years as a leader” – Alex Otti
With the flag off ceremony of the construction of an industrial complex to be seated in over 1,000 hectares of virgin land, the Abia State Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP) housing manufacturing bases, petrochemical and fertiliser plants, modular refinery, mini seaport, hotels, tech hubs and incubation center for the training and exposure of young Nigerians to the best tools and platforms for their trades and talents in a region about 30 minutes’ drive between the coastal oil city of Port Harcourt and the city of Commerce, Aba; Owaza, the oil rich community in Ukwa West LGA edges Abia State to an enviable position as Nigeria’s prime economic hub.
This is happening very fast under the leadership of the Labour Party, Obedient movement influenced Governor Alex Otti who is repositioning the society and the young people’s stance on the much desired revolution, an economic and leadership revolution beginning from the heartbeat of commerce, industry and creativity.
“Those who own the land must lead the way and develop in accordance with the values they hold dear.” said Governor Otti at a just concluded South East Economic & Security Summit.
This is exactly what the Labour party leader has exemplified. Abia state holds the value of commerce and industry so dear and has been reckoned over the years as a leader in ingenuity and industry with the leadership legacies of the great Michael Okpara and Dee Sam Mbakwe until wrong people began to crawl into positions of leadership under the guise of politics and for over 2 decades, both leadership and the people were literally going backwards unhindered, forcing the young people and business owners to abandon the region, giving rooms to security breaches and economic stagnation until the people rose up united with a common purpose to chase out moral deficient individuals and opportunists occupying political positions and destroying the land in their crass ignorance.
In Otti’s statement, “the entire South easterners are naturally enterprising people” and we have never failed to exemplify that whenever the appropriate provisions are put in place.
The ‘appropriate provisions’ are very basic and that includes a leadership that is committed to building a secure economically viable environment and a people willing to support the activities of government. That is what will lead to the prosperity we are all praying and fasting for and not mere political rhetoric and media fanfare of proposed white elephant projects that never materialize at any point in time.
However, at the AIIP, with 90% stake by private investors including major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and 10% by the government, the Alex Otti, Labour party administration has attracted immense confidence and trust by the people to deliver as promised.
The Abia State Industrial Innovation Park (AIIP) project, quoted to gulp about $25Billion received further boost when the governor disclosed that the money for the innovation and industrial park is ready, clearing every fear and doubt of a white elephant project that was a common practice with previous Abia state PDP administrations that runs a political leadership that was characterized by poor planning, neglect and administrative disorderliness.
The location of the Industrial Park in Ukwa West LGA is very strategic.
Owazza in Ukwa East is blessed, rich in natural resources including a virgin forest and a table land backed by a 5 minutes drive to a railway track leading from the South East to Maiduguri and about a 30 minutes drive between the city of Port Harcourt and Aba.
The entire region boast of a handful of energetic youth population that are committed to the development the Otti’s government has brought to the land and appear committed to provide readymade services for every visitor and investor
There is certainly a lot of work to be done connecting and exiting the site, however, Governor Otti’s Labour Party government has been engaged in a massive infrastructure overhaul of entire Abia state, beginning from the city of Aba to Umuahia, and not leaving the Ukwa West and East regions, and the virgin farmlands in Ohafia.
Reason would not be far-fetched as the government prepare to accommodate the throng of requests for partnership by private investors and funders who sees a robust opportunity for economic expansion of a region serving the needs of about 7 boundary states within the South East and Niger Delta region extending to West African neighbours of Equitorial Guinea, Gabon, Conakry and Cameroon
Till date, Investor partners are on queue to get the consent of the Alex Otti, Labour party government for cooperation to embark on several projects including construction of International markets, commercial farming, residential estates and to revive moribund industries which, perhaps, were deliberately abandoned for over 2 decades by political actors unfortunately myopic, not to see the vast opportunities to turn the natural fortunes of the land into a cash machine.
Certainly, Governor Otti appears to have his hand full already but none is as ambitious as the Owazza Abia State Industrial Innovation Park and to live up to its ultimate expectations, it will take only a leader with a clear vision of where he wants to go and following his mission with the right commitment and the right lieutenants and followers, this is difficult, However, it require a lot of sacrifices, networks and partnerships of which Otti has built over the years during his Banking career as a CEO and a reformer of the financial institution in Nigeria.
With the right teams put into place both in the ruling political party, government administrations, civil servants and citizen participation in governance, Abia state is in for greater days ahead.
Njoku SaintJerry A. is the State Publicity Secretary, Labour Party, Abia