Governor Okezie Ikpeazu's trip to the United States: A detailed report by Sam Hart

On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu embarked on a trip to the United States of America and subsequently, to Turkey to engage with a cross section of people and organisations in line with his larger goal of a rapid economic and industrial development of Abia State.
In line with Governor Ikpeazu’s promise to keep Abians fully informed about all his activities at all times, we present below details of the Governor’s trip, those he met with, discussions held and benefit to Abia State.
It is hoped that this approach will reassure Abians of the openness of the Okezie Ikpeazu administration and strengthen the mutual trust that has been established between the administration and the citizenry thus eliminating rumours and undue mischief from those who have decided that they will never see anything good in whatever Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu does. As a rule, we will not respond to critics in their own language. We will continue to present the facts as they are in the confidence that Abians are enlightened and discerning and can therefore come to their own conclusions on the activities of Government.
The Governor arrived Washington Dulles Airport aboard United Airlines by 11:45am American time.
From 6:00pm to 10:00pm American time, the Governor held series of meetings with potential investors to discuss prospects and opportunities with them after which the Public Private Partnership/Investment Promotion Team that travelled with the Governor were mandated to follow up on all what was discussed and facilitate the visit of the investors to Abia State.
MEETING WITH WCOR ASSOCIATES: From 9:00am to 11:00am, Governor Ikpeazu held a meeting with Walter Corley of WCOR Associates and his Team Members. WCOR Associates is a Washington D.C based lobbying company and registered Foreign Agent to several multinational companies. The aim of the meeting was to formally engage Mr. Corley to serve as link between Abia State and foreign companies in the United States seeking to do business in Abia State. The partnership will see Abia State and products from Abia State professionally presented to markets in the United States thus boosting exports from Abia State to the United States and beyond.
Immediate outcome of the meeting was the identification of two Fortune 500 Companies with interest in leather and garment works and also automobile Assembly and discussions have commenced on modalities for their investment in Abia State. The meeting also discussed modalities of attracting donor agencies and free technical expertise to support traders and entrepreneurs in Abia State.
MEETING AT GOVERNOR’S ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND: After the meeting with WCOR Associates, Governor Ikpeazu proceeded to the Maryland Governor’s Annapolis where he held a meeting with officials of the office of the Secretary of State of the State of Maryland to establish a Bilateral Economic and Trade Partnership between the State of Maryland and Abia State in the areas of Health, Agriculture, Education and Tourism. The meeting also discussed Ethno-Medical Research programme in Abia State and Agricultural Extension Practice Methods in Collaboration with Tertiary Agricultural Institutions in the State of Maryland. The Governor of Maryland was indisposed and could not be present at the meeting but sent his apologies and a high-powered delegation to receive Governor Ikpeazu. The meeting established a Sister-State relationship between the State of Maryland and Abia State while also establishing a Sister-City relationship between Montgomery County in Maryland and the City of Aba in Abia State. This arrangement will ensure smoother relationships and flow of business between the two states and the two cities in particular.
The PPP Team that travelled with the Governor, led by Mr. Austin Ufomba, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Private Partnership (PPP) and including Mr. Lawrence Odoemelam, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Investment Promotion, proceeded to the John A. Wilson Building Executive Office of the Mayor of District of Columbia where they met with Patricia Elwood, Director of International Affairs and Business Specialist and after an extensive meeting, established a Sister-City relationship between the District of Columbia (D.C) and the City of Aba, Abia State for free flow of trade between the two cities.
The Governor proceeded to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was scheduled to be the Keynote Speaker at the African Diaspora Business Initiative Forum holding at the Erivan K Haub School of Business, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At the event, the Governor held a meeting with Dr. Chidi Achebe and discussed the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of a $100Million Specialist Hospital in Abia State. The Governor approved provision of land for the project and further discussions have commenced with the Governor’s PPP Team.
Other presentations at the Business Forum and investments in Abia State discussed include: Setting up of a medium-sized Architectural Finishing Materials Factory in Aba by Mr. John Heski of the Vetro Moulding and Design Group; Development of Aquaphonics Farming Method in Abia State and Development of an SME policy to re-ignite key industries in Abia State and position the state for access to USAID, AGOA, etc. The Governor equally held a meeting at the event with a distinguished Abia son, Dr. Samuel Achilefu, scientist and inventor of the ‘Cancer Goggle’ on the possibilities of Technology Transfer and establishing a Centre of Excellence for Cancer Research and Diagnosis in Abia State. The discussions were fruitful and follow up meetings will be held in Abia State in two weeks.
Also at the event, the Dean, College of Optometry, Abia State University, Prof. Uche Ikonne, established a partnership with the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University for Institutional Research Collaboration between Staff and Students of both Universities leading ultimately to a $50Million long-term investment into the Abia State University. Still at the event, the Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, Eric Jackson, adopted a Sister-City agreement between Trenton, New Jersey and Umuahia, Abia State for Bilateral Trade facilitation.
The Governor proceeded to Stamford, Connecticut for 2 days to attend the annual convention of Ngwa National Association, USA (NNAUSA) holding in the city.
The Governor will be proceeding to Istanbul, Turkey to link up with a delegation from Abia State attending a Trade Mission to Turkey. Details of the Turkish trip are provided in another write up.
Those who travelled with the Governor to America include:
1. Prof. Uche Ikonne, Dean, College of Optometry, Abia State University/Ag Rector, Abia State Polytechnic
2. Raymond Aliga, CEO, Goodseed Group
3. Austin Ufomba, Special Adviser to the Governor on PPP/IP
4. Lawrence Odoemelam, SSA to the Governor on Investment Promotion
5. Uchenna Onyeizu, SSA to the Governor on Environment
6. Erondu U. Erondu, SSA to the Governor on General Duties
7. Chibuzor Nwogu, SSA to the Governor on Protocol
8. Austin Ogbonna, Chief Security Officer to the Governor
Sam Hart is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications.