Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu presenting a pair of shoes to former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during his visit to showcase efforts of local manufacturers in Abia state on shoe production.
Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu presenting a pair of shoes to former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during his visit to showcase efforts of local manufacturers in Abia state on shoe production.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has further reiterated his position on local production and internal trading as a way out of the economic recession.

The former President who maintained that there was no easy option out of the present economic situation, said hard work in the local production and the trading of the products there from is the only option out.

Obasanjo said this on Monday while playing host to the Abia state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu at his Hilltop Presidential residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

The former President on Monday, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the local manufacturers of shoes from Abia state.

He said, “When we use what we make by ourselves, for ourselves, others will support and they will be willing to try and make use of what we make here.

“Indeed we need a thing like this at a time like this, if we are going to get out of our recession, we can only produce and trade to get us out of our recession.

“We have to get ourselves away from an easy option, there is no easy option to get out of this situation. The hard options are hard work, production and trade.”

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Obasanjo, who was obviously thrilled by the samples of the shoes presented to him said the the shoes are better on him, it should be better for every other person in Africa and the world.

Obasanjo added, “We have to trade internally, trade within ourselves in African and trade with the rest of the world. If the shoes that I am wearing are good for me, I believe they should be good for anybody in Nigeria, for anybody in Africa and indeed anybody in the world.

“Governor, I can’t thank you enough and truly I can’t thank my brothers and sisters who have decided to adorn me with these wonder gifts enough.”

Obasanjo added that the governor’s visit was significant in many ways adding that the African Industrial Bank was interested in African products.

He said, “In fact the message I want to deliver to you is the message of African Industrial Bank (AFRIXIM) who are spearheading made in African and they came when I was away in Colombia but I knew they were coming for the annual African Bank meeting which was hosted in one Island in South African.

“You talked about made in Africa products. AFRIXIM Bank encourages and
supports products made in Africa by Africa and for Africans. When they came they met representatives from Benue, Eboyin and Anambra States.

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“They also came to Ogun State and met the governor and other officials of the State. They left me a message that they have heard about Aba, it was AFRIXIM Bank and the Chinese and they will want me to get in touch with you so that they can come back and pay a special visit to Aba and really establish an industrial park in Aba for the sort of things like this.”

The governor had earlier in his remarks said the former President, had at the 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos, ordered for made in Aba shoes.

The Governor who described himself as the Chief Marketing Officer of the products said the onus lies on him to be in Abeokuta to personally deliver some for Obasanjo.

“Sir, you made an order for made in Aba shoes through me when we met last in Lagos two weeks ago, I am here today to deliver the shoes to you sir. These shoes, including the one I am wearing are made by our people in Aba.

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“We want you to wear them and tell others about them. As promoters of made in Aba products, we have taken it upon ourselves to promote made in Aba goods by wearing them and by telling others about them.”

Reacting, Obasanjo said, “These shoes are so comfortable and they are so good. Anybody watching me, no matter how high or low, who wants to help Nigeria get out of recession quickly should call the makers of these shoes in Aba to make for them.”

The governor in a chat with newsmen said, “the industry’s worth is well in excess of over N150billion but we are yet in clusters and we are trying to provide electricity, we are trying to provide common facilities so that quality control will be high up there.

“The government has established a quality control agency whose duty is
to ensure that the products meet minimum standards in terms of what
they are doing. We are also working hard on packaging so that the shoes can be beautifully packaged. We may also have to go into inputs like leather, tannery and provision of gum and other accessories like buckles and so on.”