Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2018

Gov. commends Abiriba entrepreneurship drive

From PETER OKORE, Umuahia

 

Historically, one of the towns that has often been associated with merchandise, entrepreneurship and self-help development efforts in Nigeria is Abiriba; a clan in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia state. The town, popularly called, “small London” became famous for its age-long endeavours since the era of the British military expedition of Igboland,(1830-1930) in former Eastern Region of Nigeria.

Governor Ikpeazu

People of this clan, had borne their developmental destiny in their own hands. They built their magnificent houses, schools, tarred their roads, built their General Hospital, a School of Nursing, market, stadium, etc, using the Age-grade system both as a standing army to protect Abiriba from hostile neighbours and as catalyst to stimulate developments.

Abiriba people are into exports and Imports of goods; Clearing and Forwarding, merchandise, fabrications of all sorts of trade, etc.  Aside the normal, the forbearers of this clan are known to have played critical roles in crystallizing  the city of Aba as the commercial hub of the Eastern Nigeria, through their massive  investments  in human, financial ,materials,  industrial  resources and establishments.  Till date, Aba remains the singular city in the universe, where the greatest concentration  of Abiriba people reside in comfort.

Socially, the people of Abiriba Ancient Kingdom, as they fondly call themselves, are uniquely different, not only from the other Igbo’s, but also from their other Igbo clan neighbourhood. They are susceptive to new ideas, quick to learn and very trusting to those they consider more knowledgeable than they are.

In commerce, the Abiriba- man is noted for being ready to trade anything; ready to    consider any offer on the table; buy anything and sell anything to whoever he meets anywhere.  He is ready to sample anything that is new and in private, attempts to reproduce his own versions. Indeed, the Abiriba-man’s ingenuity, enterprise and all, have ultimately led the people into financial and business dominance in many areas of the West African mercantile world.

They have all along pitched their tents in Aba, the Enyimba city, as the town is proudly called by her lovers, for their businesses; while often travelling to-and-fro  different parts of the world  to negotiate for models in their quest for  transfer of technology, businesses or exporting their wares. To them, Aba satisfies all they need for their businesses to thrive, and so have by their industry, contributed immensely to make Aba “the Japan of Africa”. There is hardly anything they cannot fabricate in Aba.

Recently, the Abiriba clan realised that the economic posture of the present administration in Abia  state is tilting towards self-sustenance and  lending credence to what the Abiriba –man believes in-“ the do it yourself  syndrome  and  entrepreneurship”.   For instance, they see the rehabilitation of infrastructures in Aba as very essential for business to move, saying that those rehabilitated roads cut-across where the Abiriba-people do their businesses.

To them the re-direction of government’s attention to Aba, after long years of neglect,  has given  lifeline or  impetus  to their businesses. Not only that, at home (Abiriba), the Abia state government has undertaken the construction of  Abiriba  Ring Road , opening of the Ugwueze and  Abiriba-Nkporo Roads, respectively,  and given appointments to numerous sons and daughters from the area.

Monarch-of-Abiriba
Photo Credit: abiriba.com

This was the reason the Abiriba Communal Improvement Union(ACIU), a socio-cultural structure, at home and in the Diaspora, last week Wednesday, rolled-out both their Red carpets and talking drums to appreciate their state governor, Dr, Okezie Ikpeazu and to say ‘thank you our governor for re-directing developmental  efforts  to Aba, where we stay to do our businesses”.

That ceremony was also a forum to publically appreciate some of their eminent sons , living and dead, who  either invested their time, intellect and financial  resources  in the creation of Abia state or laid solid foundations for the  economic advancement of former Eastern Region of Nigeria. Here, they paid glowing tributes to the late Nnanna Kalu, the Nwojo Omokories, the Okam’s, the Obewus, the Onwuka’s, etc, all of blessed memory.

The ceremony, which took place at their Akahaba Stadium, attracted the presence of who-is-who in Abiriba clan, Abia-North senatorial district and by extension, the rest of Abia. They included Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe(rtd), former Military Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Anaga Ezeikpe (who midwived PDP in Abia state and who is also a  major stakeholder in Abia creation),Professor Anya O Anya and the academia etc.

In their welcome address read by former Vice Chancellor of Abia state University, Uturu (ABSU), Prof. Nkpa Agu Nkpa, the people explained that the reception was put together to express their collective appreciation  and unquantifiable gratitude for the governor’s uncommon demonstration of favour, support  and generosity to Abiriba people in a number of ways. They confessed that they have never had it so good from any government in Abia, since creation, as they have received from   the present administration.

They reeled-out their favours to include the rehabilitation of Roads and provision of a number of infrastructures and amenities in Aba. Such essential roads include: Faulks Road, Ukwu-mango, Ohazu-Ozumba street, Owerri Road, MCC Road, Ngwa Road,  Osisioma Inter-change(Flyover)  and several others.

In their declaration, the people, among others, assured  Governor Ikpeazu and his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu that their  pair will remain the choice of Abiriba people in the forthcoming 2019 governorship election. They also requested for  a joint public-private-sector participatory arrangement(PPPi) between the Abia state Government and Abiriba community/individuals in the running of their Akahaba General Hospital, for effective control and management in order to  serve health needs of the community better.

It will be recalled that the Akahaba General Hospital , School of Nursing,  the three Secondary Schools there and  a High court were established, over a decade ago, through Abiriba communal efforts.

Responding, Governor Ikpeazu noted that his reception by the Abiriba community had   some spiritual symbolisms and prayed that he would be able to sustain the challenges and live-up to the expectations. He acknowledged the abundant human, natural and material resources that abound in the entire Abia-North senatorial district of Abia and called upon the people to partner with government  in  the task of harnessing those resources and potentials  for the betterment of Abia state.

He used the opportunity to announce his plans to establish another commercial nerve-centre in Abia-North, as part of efforts to replicate another Aba in Abia state.  According to him, the essence of opening-up the Abiriba-Nkporo Road is to link the areas to Ebonyi , Enugu and other states of the federation to enhance commerce and economic activities.

:”I commend your self-help efforts. Government will look into better ways of managing the General Hospitals. Let us work together with the intelligentsias and  natural  resources that abound in this land to turn-around the economy of Abia-North, Abia state and Nigeria in general. Our wealth is beneath the soil. So, we have no land for open grazing. We cannot inter-mingle our wealth with cattle rearing. Abia state Government has already assented to a Law that will control menace of cattle in our   State.”

Abiriba…Photo Credit www.nairaland.com

In his brief remarks, Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu re-emphasised   that the Abiriba people have never had it so good, especially, government’s   investments in infrastructural development of  the Enyimba city, stressing that there is no corner of Aba where one cannot find the Abiriba man  doing his business.

All serving members of National and State Houses of Assemblies used the occasion to reel-out their achievements and canvassed to be allowed to fly their party’s flags in the 2019 general elections..

According to BusinessHallmark checks, if the long-abandoned Ikot –Okpora-Ututu- Nkana Federal Road is opened-up and the Cross River there dredged, it will enhance maritime, commercial and trading activities between some states in Nigerian and the Republic of Cameroons. He noted that the exploitations of the abundant mineral resources that abound within the Afikpo- Edda- Ohafia-Ihechiowa-Ututu-Isu geographical basin  of the South-East and South-South will be  added economic  advantages to the respective states that fall within the  zone and the country, at large.

But at the moment, several years  after feasibility studies were concluded,  those natural  resources, including deposits of limestone, kaolin, oil and others, have remained untapped; as a result of frequent  border and communal clashes, courtesy of errors in Justice Mamman Nassir Boundary Reports.

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