It will be recalled that upon assumption of office as Governor of Abia State in 2015, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu took up the challenge of projecting the ingenuity of the Aba shoe and garment producers by launching a massive Made in Aba Campaign.
The Governor personally led the campaign and showed great examples by wearing only articles of clothing produced in Aba from inception of his administration till date.
In the course of promoting the campaign, it was observed that Aba Producers could not expeditiously handle large shoe supply orders due to the absence of automation in the shoe production process. All processes were manually-driven which leads to delays and inconsistent batch production.
The Governor took it upon himself to solve this problem by setting about ensuring that large-scale shoe production equipments are installed in Aba.
The first step in the process of automating shoe production in Aba was capacity building which saw the Governor sponsor 30 Aba Shoemakers to China to be embedded in a shoe factory for one month and learn machine-based production.
After the return of the China trainees, the Governor placed an order for the full range of shoe production machines that the Aba Shoemakers used in China. The machines have since arrived Aba.
Contemporaneous with the placement of the order for the automated shoemaking machines, the Governor also directed the building of a special purpose shoe factory where the machines will be installed. The factory is also ready.
The Engineers from the company in China that supplied the machines have arrived Aba from China and today, Tuesday, November 26, 2019, the Governor has handed the machines over to them to go and commence the installation.
The 30 Shoemakers the Governor sent to China to learn the use of the machines are also on ground to work with the Engineers from China as they will form the nucleus of the workforce of the shoe factory upon commencement of production.
The installation process will take one month and the Chinese Engineers will be in Aba until installation is complete and production has begun in earnest. They will also ensure that the Aba Shoemakers fully understand the process before they return to China.
The dream of an automated shoe factory in Aba has come to fruition. Aba is now well placed to handle any quantity of orders for shoe production and they will deliver expeditiously and according to specification.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a transgenerational leader as the effects and significance of this investment will last far beyond his administration. He does not just build. He builds to last.
Sam Hart
Project Co-Facilitator