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Ikpeazu's Abia beats Lagos, Ogun to win Business Day Award for Best Promoter of Made in Nigeria Products – By Uche Olehi

History was made last night at the Congress Hall of Trancorp Hilton when Abia State was adjuged the best state that promotes Made in Nigeria products and services.

The unstoppable Abia had to contend with Ogun and Lagos,the nation's most industrialized States,to clinch the prestigious award.

The award organisers said Abia emerged winner on account of the State Government's outstanding policy of encouraging and promoting indigenous products and services and support for SMEs.

Essentially driven by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu's passion and determination to grow the State economy amid recession, the growing interest in locally produced goods and services has quenched Nigerians' voracious appetite for foreign products and services.

It would be remembered that Governor Ikpeazu on his inauguration,two years ago,promised to revive Aba, the state's commercial nerve centre. Appreciating the fact that the city is noted for it's entrepreneurial and artistic ingenuity,he pledged to resposition it as Africa's SME capital and Africa's preferred business destination.

"The negligence of Aba-made products by Nigerian consumers was borne out of decades of opulence engendered by petro-dollar which made Nigerian people and government to develop huge appetite for foreign goods and services. It was so pervasive that Aba artisans developed inferiority complex and had to start inscribing ‘made-in-Brazil’ or ‘made-in-Italy’ or ‘made-in-Spain’ on shoes that were designed and produced in Aba. It was a survival strategy until the present Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu came in to rewrite stories and break jinx,"Public affairs analyst Mr Joshua Chisom observed.

"This commercial hub of Abia State in South-East Nigeria (And) has through dint of hard work by thousands of artisans,carved a niche in finished leather products such as shoes, bags, belts among others. While the artisans were busy churning out their products, government was not looking their way and no conscious policy was formulated to encourage these local manufacturers. Even as Aba-made shoes, bags, belts and garments were making waves in other countries within the West African sub-region and even beyond, successive Nigerian governments did not take note".

ABIA GAZETTE was told Ikpeazu has long delivered on the promise of restoring Aba to its status of Japan of Africa with global attention now on the state. The Made in Aba campaign has indeed gained traction with business and investment flowing into the state.

"The endorsement has really been massive. From the Presidency to Ministries, Departments, Agencies who have been patronising Made in Aba products,bussinesses have never had it this good ,"Chief Solomon Nwaigwe,Chairman,Abia Marketing Development Committee told ABIA GAZETTE.

"Governor Ikpeazu had been commended for globalizing the Made in Nigeria campaign.First,he became the Chief Marketer of the Nigerian brand.

He has taken the brand to the US, Brazil, Europe and Asia," Mr Chinedu Nwaogu,  a core promoter of indigenous products and Abia State Focal Person,Social Investment Program (SIP) added.

Meanwhile, Abia has been agog since the news of Ikpeazu's National Award and recognition filtered into town.

ABIA GAZETTE reporters who stuck to national television to monitor the award, last night, informed that the Governor's supporters have been jubilating over the National honour accorded to him and the State.

With additional report by #Okezuoabiaonlinescholars

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