Ebere Uzoukwa, Ph.D
“I am delighted to announce the formation of the Abia Global Economic Advisory Council (AGEAC). This esteemed group comprises distinguished personalities from various fields, who have agreed to advise our administration on economic matters.
“AGEAC is integral to our strategic initiative for the economic revitalization of Abia State.
“After years of neglect, our goal is to rebuild and reposition our state as a leader in innovation and economic growth, both regionally and globally.
“We plan to capitalize on our rich resources, entrepreneurial spirit, and strategic location.
“The AGEAC will offer insights and recommendations on fostering innovation, attracting investments, forming robust partnerships, and enhancing our state’s economic resilience amidst global economic shifts”.
The above quotation formed part of the speech of Gov. Alex Otti OFR, the Governor of Abia State, on the inauguration of the Abia Global Economic Advisory Council (AGEAC), a few days ago.
The council comprises the Governor as a member and other esteemed Nigerians, including Ms. Arunma Oteh, OON, Co-chair, H.R.H Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II, CON, Co-Chair, Mr Bolaji Balogun, Co-chair, Mr Victor Onyenkpa, member, Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru, MFR, Member, Mr Chidi Ajaegbu, Member, Mr Uche Orji, member, Mrs Ndidi Nwuneli MFR, member, Mr Chika Nwobi, member, Dr Olugbenga Adesida, member and Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, also a member.
Others are Mazi Clement Owunna MFR, member, Dr Uzodinma Iweala, member, Mrs Ezinwa Okoroafor, member, Mr George Agu, member, Mazi Uzo Nwankwo, member, Mr Chinedu Azodoh, member, Prof. Peter Tufano (Havard Business School), member, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, GCON and
Dr Benedict Oramah CON as honourary advisors.
The governor in his wisdom and for strategic reasons drafted into the Committee some members of the State Executive Council, in the persons of Mr Ikechukwu Uwanna, the Attorney-General and Honourable Commissioner for Justice, Mr Kingsley Anosike, the Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr Michael Akpara, the Honourable Commissioner for Finance and Dr Chimezie Isaac Ukaegbu, the Honourable Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Industry.
The economic revitalization of Aba and Abia State unarguably motivated the governor to think outside the box and activate upon his assumption of office certain Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives to lure investments and create economic opportunities that will translate to prosperity and social wellbeing.
Owing to the limitations of the monthly federal allocations and internally generated revenue, Gov. Otti considerably resolved to catapulting Abia to the global arena for economic partnerships, collaborations and grants to effectively drive the vision of returning Abia to the path of socio-economic growth and sustainable development. This ranks amongst the reasons for setting up a powerful economic Council strategically positioned to advise and guide the government of Abia State into achieving the lofty goal of repositioning God’s Own State for greater development.
A background check on the members of the Council indicates the intentions of the governor to unlock global opportunities, using distinguished and intergrity purified Nigerians with vast global acceptability and outreach.
Gov. Otti appears to be reaping from his excellent career as a successful banker and economist alongside his unblemished relationship with key global economic players of Nigerian origin. With the likes of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, HRH Mohammed Sanusi 11, Ms Arunma Ote and others in the Council, it is obvious that Abia under the leadership of Gov. Otti is set to do something new that will roundly change the face of governance and accelerate socio-economic development within the confines of public service.
On the flipside of the inauguration of this historic Council is the coordination of the socio-economic and infrastructural rebuilding of Abia and Aba in particular. The governor’s desire to fast-track development and provide enablers of economic progression and job creation anchored on entrepreneurship necessitated by the passage of Greater Aba Development Authority (GADA) Law. Recall that the governor promised to do things differently to ensure Aba is repositioned and made attractive for economic activities that would be dominated by trade and commerce.
Interestingly, the GADA law has infused some measures of legitimacy and legality for government to develop Aba and other surrounding LGAs as it empowers the Authority with the capacity to source fundings even outside government coffers for the purpose of rediscovering the great Enyimba City and its environs.
It is therefore predictable that officials of GADA will work closely and in collaboration with the AGEAC to reposition Aba as an investment destination for socio-economic deliverables under Gov. Otti’s New Abia mantra.
It is therefore pertinent to reiterate that Gov. Otti’s disposition to create business opportunities and jobs leveraging the natural and skilful endowments of Abians and Aba residents will enhance the governor’s ability to maximize the gains of a well-planned PPP.
Gov. Otti has proven via his achievements so far that he is not thinking like a typical Nigerian politician but a leader committed to creating opportunities for economic survival of the people, job creation and shared prosperity for the people.
No doubt, the governor is touching every key sector of the economy to extract inherent potentials for the benefit of the people. A typical example is the Abia Industrial and Innovative Park, which monumentally is receiving every attention to enable its completion, thus unlocking hidden treasures, especially in the Oil and Gas sector.
As disclosed by the Honorable Commissioner for Petroleum and Solid Minerals, Prof. Joel Ogbonna, a few days ago, the first ever Modular refinery in Abia would be delivered next year (2025) at Owaza in Ukwa East Local Government Area. Beyond an unhindered supply of petroleum products in Abia and neighbouring states, such lofty economic idea will potentially activate other socio-economic developments and commerce in Ukwa axis, Aba and Abia state in general.
While recognising and also applauding Gov. Otti’s strategic steps to reposition Abia for greater development that will be driven by transparent and good governance, it is equally expected that the people shall always reciprocate this ingenuity and commitment of the governor through their support and prayers.
Ebere Uzoukwa is a policy analyst and media consultant. He writes from Obingwa.