Indeed, the narrative of the Aba shoe industry is changing positively. Recently, there is an order to an indigenous private firm to supply 50,000 pairs of military boots. According to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Made-in-Aba products, quality would be ensured in the production of the military boots to attract more supplies.
Also, during the 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lagos recently, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as one of the panelists, was elated with the current strides of Gov. Ikpeazu to ensure that made-in- Aba products become global brands. Obasanjo said: “Governor, I listened to you and I commend you for what you’re doing in Abia. Please keep doing what you’ve told us you’re doing. So, Governor Abia, you have to send a pair of the shoes to me; I use size 42.”
The call by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to other military and paramilitary outfits in the country to emulate the army by immediately banning the purchase of all imported foot wears in preference for locally produced ones raises more prospects for made-in- Aba foot wears.
It is an incontrovertible fact that Abia has comparative advantage in leather and garment works. And since the inception of the present administration, Governor Ikpeazu has demonstrated unrelenting efforts towards ensuring that these products are launched globally.
It will be recalled that Abia State government, last year, organised an economic trip to Turkey. The contingent to the trip visited several shoe factories in Turkey where they were exposed to different machines which are used in making shoes. The essence of this exposure was to familiarise Aba shoe manufacturers with mechanised methods of manufacturing shoes, which is the vogue in Turkey in particular, and the world in general. It was also to elevate their skills with training and exposure to modern technology to enhance capacity.
With this, Aba is becoming a global leader in shoe manufacturing, and we must commend the state government for this.
- Keshi Ukegbu,