By Orji Onyekwere
Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, says Abia has become the new destination for investments and anyone, group or potential investor that wishes to invest in Nigeria should think Abia.
Governor Otti spoke Saturday at the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Abia State Industrial and Innovation Park (AIIP) at Owaza, Ukwa West Local Government Area.
“Go home with this message: Abia is the new destination for rewarding investments,” the Governor declared with an air of confidence.
“If you have anything to produce, Abia should be number one in your consideration because the opportunities here are boundless, the people are hardworking, innovative and self-driven. Another advantage, which would come on stream at the completion of this park, is drastically reduced cost of production through reliable and affordable power supply.
“So where else would you rather be?” the Governor queried.
Governor Otti described the AIIP as a project with a huge potential and promise to be the largest and most integrated industrial park in West Africa, and one where many local and international investors will be actively involved.
He said one of the things that made the AIIP project attractive is its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which is just about 30 nautical miles away. According to him, all necessary approvals would be sought to designate the Park as an export processing and free trade zone.
Governor Otti said the state government is currently speaking with major players in the gas value chain with a view to establishing compressed natural gas production facilities in the park.
According to the Governor, the AIIP would make history as the first cluster in Nigeria, where LPG, CNG, Jet fuel, PMS and Diesel production tank farms will be co-located with other supporting infrastructure for more efficient and commercial production of made-in Nigeria liquid fuel.
“This will help eliminate the liquid fuel scarcity problems in the country and in line with President Tinubu’s policy trust on domestic utilization of the country’s abundant natural gas resources,” he said.
Dr. Otti said that the AIIP is conceived to offer great support to the Aba economic ecosystem and in time merge with it. “It is an ambitious project but we are determined to go all the way for the state and the people who have put so much faith in us deserve no less,” he declared.
He affirmed that his administration is determined to return Abia to major economic conversations in Nigeria and beyond, adding, “Aba is getting the attention it deserves and investors are seeing new possibilities. Umuahia is looking better as we continue with our road rehabilitation projects, clearance of refuse and lighting up the town.”
Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, Rt Hon Benjamin Kalu commended Governor Otti for his commitment to improving the lives of Abians. He said that the industrialisation of Abia by the Otti administration is not just a dream, but a well-thought-out strategy aligned with national goals of self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.
Kalu said that the AIIP project embodies the essence of progress, innovation, and economic development, adding that it is a transformative journey aimed at sustaining economic growth, generating employment opportunities, and positioning Abia State as a hub for innovation and industrialisation.
He pledged his commitment to collaborate with Governor Otti, regardless of political affiliations, to support the state’s economic growth efforts and create a state that all of its citizens can be proud of.
The CEO AIIP, Engr Chinedu Onyeizu said that the Industrial Park is “a strategic business environment for the State to build critical capacity in the areas of manufacturing, modular refineries, establishment of LPG and CNG plants”.
He described the Governor as a pace setter and thanked him for keeping the Industrial Park on the priority list of his administration policy direction, adding that Abia has been waiting for such an opportunity to develop the entrepreneur spirit of the Aba man.
The event had in attendance the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum, Mr Osagie Okunbor; Executive Director Total Energies, Mr. Obi Imeremba, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote; the representative of Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone Mr. Morgan Umahi among other players in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Others in attendance were some National Assembly members from Abia State, among who were Hon Ginger Onwusibe, Obi Aguocha, Amobi Ogah and Emeka Nnamani. Abia State Deputy Speaker, Hon Austin Okezie Meregini, led the attendees from the State Assembly.
Abia State Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu; the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Kenneth Kalu,; Chief of Staff, Dr. Caleb Ajagba; Commissioner for Petroleum, Prof Joel Ogbonna; Commissioner for Environment, Philemon Ogbonna; and the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ikechukwu Uwanna; were some of the State Executive Council members among other government functionaries in attendance.