Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has boasted of opening up Aba for investments and making it the “cash cow” of the Southeast and Nigeria.
Ikpeazu said this feat was achieved through the creation of a conducive business environment and quality roads that would last over 30 years.
He spoke in an interview with journalists in Aba, over the weekend.
The governor pointed out that the rebuilding of Aba and making it a “cash cow for the state, South East and Nigeria, is an ongoing process which would make the city a business destination.”
Ikpeazu noted that before he came to office in 2015, there was no road to access the city as all the entry points were dilapidated and impassable, but that has changed under his administration.
The Governor said he began by constructing access roads to economic centres, stressing that for the first time in 30 years, the road from Brass junction through Faulks road linking Ariaria market was made passable to the Enugu – Port Harcourt expressway for businessmen outside the state to come in and do business.
He said: “Aba is a priority, the re-tooling of Aba and making it a cash cow, not only for Abia, but South East and Nigeria is work in progress. Nigerians are used to the snap of the button approach, but things don’t happen this way. In the first place, where were we in 2015? In 2015, you could not access Aba from anywhere. Aba gets its ventilation from trans-state commerce from Bayelsa, Port Harcourt to Aba axis; Calabar, Ikot Ekpene to Aba axis and Owerri, Enugu and Umuahia to Aba axis. So, Aba is more of a confluence city where we have a catchment business producing over N60 million from people who come here to do business monthly. If that traffic is not in place, then nothing is happening.
“You couldn’t find a way into Aba from these axes. And when you got to Aba, you couldn’t get to Ariaria market, you couldn’t get Eziukwu market, shopping centre and Ahia Ohuu (New market). These are the four major markets out of fifteen markets in Aba. What do you do? First, we opened these axes and we started three roads from where you can enter Aba from the Ikot Ekpene axis. We have done a bypass through Obikabia junction to Umuahia, Enugu and Owerri; you no longer need to pass through Osisioma Ngwa junction on the expressway.
“We are doing the Osisioma Ngwa interchange. We have opened three outlets from Ariaria for everyone who wants to shop in and go. For the first time in 30 years, from Brass Street through Ariaria to the Enugu -Port Harcourt expressway and this allows people from Port Harcourt to access Ariaria. Now, you can go out of Ariaria through MCC road and Samek road and through Faulks road.
“Opening these access roads was key and not just opening them, but deploying cement pavement technology in doing the roads. And why am I building roads using cement technology? I’m using cement and finishing it with asphalt because I’m speaking to the investors that I have a road that will give them a 30 years life span. I don’t know what my brothers and friends are doing elsewhere. But if you want to make a decision to invest where you begin to make returns on investment before roads go bad, you don’t have any option than to come to Abia. Investment is a very dispassionate thing.”
I have improved Aba from what I met in 2015 – Ikpeazu