By Kennedy Onyenma.
It is no longer news that Abia State is the third most preferred investment destination in Nigeria. Thanks to the impartial judges at the National Bureau of Statistics( NBS). Abia comes next to Lagos and Abuja with an inflow of 56.1m USD in 2020.
The news however is how Abia rose this fast to the top amidst the covid -19 upheavals and other ancillary setbacks that, devastatingly, slapped the state in the face?
The answer is straight and point black: Ikpeazu has got some buttons right! His stick-to-itiveness or persistence, in pursuing his set out developmental blueprints, regardless of the distractions, is indeed paying off.
That Abia has moved from a very slow and discomforting start to a record third position is a positive news most cheering! What that implies is that Ikpeazu’s ease of doing business is fruitful. His infrastructural strides are result-oriented. His global marketing for the Abia brand is compelling and his dexterity plus obvious knack for detail is rewarding.
May be if I had not been witness to few economic stimulants criss-crossing the state, perhaps, I would have joined the naysayers to query the “yardsticks” for this impervious, unbiased, economic milestones.
Apart from what I have seen in areas of infrastructure, arduous security checks, and the imminent efforts at generating adequate power supply, I have also seen investors who came from outside the shores of Nigeria to invest their resources in Abia.
One of such example is Mr Chiedozie Njoku, an investor in the real Estate and the Managing Director of Checkbest International Limited, developers of The Enyimba Mall.
Enyimba Mall is strategically located along Etche Road Aba.
My encounter with Mr Njoku was a clear mix of incredibility and credulity. Incredibility because Njoku was, in my estimation, which was proved wrong though, too Suave and urbane to live in Aba nonetheless invest in the city, and I told him that to his face.
His response, however, hunbled me: “my brother, that s is the mindset that has kept Aba in this state… but I have come to prove the pessimists wrong, hence, this multi-million dollar investment we are overseeing.”He continued, “in fact, I didn’t believe it, myself, that it was going to be this possible neither did my friends believe me too until they saw the obvious breakthrough we have recorded so far.”
My conviction to the reality of Ikpeazu’s vision was, on the other hand, credulous because Mr Njoku proved to me, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Aba remains a gold mine as far as business investment is concerned. He pointed to the availability of all the known factors of production, in quantum, like human and capital resources, land and high sense of entrepreneurship. Add to the road infrastructure crisscrossing the nooks and corners of Aba and the relative security positives, even, with the national threats by the Fulani bandits.
Enyimba mall is best described as a world class “Eco Tourism” centre aimed at expanding the economic vista of Aba Enyimba city. It seats on, over, a 10,000 square meter land space with basic/luxury provisions for a solar powered standby electricity unit. A food court with seating capacity of about 20-70 seats. An independent water supply system, private security network, waste disposal systems, adequate multi car park,managements office building, conducive and environmentally friendly shopping arcades, modern conveniences, corporate offices,lounge /Restaurants and close circuits CCTV surveillance camera.
The project which is over 80% completed is a PPP initiative between Abia State Government and Checkbest International Limited. The shop outlets, which are almost sold out, will engender exquisite shopping experiences and unprecedented patronage to the commercial city. In addition, customers, to the city, will have an opportunity to window shop in an environmentally –pocket- friendly mall. An experience only comparable to what obtains overseas.
With the likes of Chiedoze Njoku and many other investors daily trooping into Abia State to take a bite off the well baked Cake of Ikpeazu,tell me why the NBS of these world will not, continually, crown Abia State ,even, as the first sought -after investment destination in Nigeria.
This time it’s not what the Cynics feel, that will matter, but what the rest of the World see.