Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia state governor, says he will do everything within his capacity to promote the locally made products in Aba, commercial centre of the state.
According to Ikpeazu, it is his wish to see such level of technology in Nigeria to ease the shoe making process for the local shoemakers and improve the quality of their products.
“I am still interested in expanding the frontiers of market for the made in Aba products. It is my passion and I drive it with every strength at my disposal,” Ikpeazu said.
“Government will be leading a delegation of these shoe makers to China. We have been to Turkey with them and we are going to China to see the type of technology that China has which will drive eventually, the automation of shoemaking.”
Prosper Chidinma, a female shoemaker, and one of the delegates sent to China, thanked the governor for the opportunity he availed her.
Chidinma says she will pass the knowledge she gathered to her colleagues back in Aba.
“I was among the delegates that went to China for an automated shoe making process. There are so many machines in China we don’t have here in Aba and we really want to have them here to facilitate our production. In Aba, we use our hands to couple and attach all the soles,” Chidinma said.
Another beneficiary identified as Obasi Mba, said if the technological advancement in China is brought to Nigeria, Aba made shoes will meet international standards.
“In Nigeria, we use manpower to do everything from scratch to finish. We are suffering to do it here,” Mba said.
“When someone gives you 100 pairs of shoes to deliver in one month, you can’t do it. You will fail the person and quarrel will come, but there, we do thousands of pairs in a day.
“There should no more be import of shoes again. We can do more than those oyinbo people. Compare the ones we did locally to the ones they do with machines.”
The traders, as part of their appreciation for the governor’s effort, endorsed him for a re-election bid in 2019.
Bridging the gap.