Osinbajo to declare 2021 Abia Business Summit open

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will today, May 26, declare open the 2021 Abia Business Summit, which holds at the Aba Sports Club, the commercial hub of the state.

The theme of the two-day business summit titled, “Transferring Tested and Proven Business Models to the Next Generation,” aims at finding solutions to the termination of enterprises after the death of the founders.

Sam Hart, director-general, Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency, explains that the rationale behind the summit is to ensure the longevity of businesses in Aba.

He stresses that an economically vibrant Aba is important to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Abia State, which must not be allowed to lose her important businesses.

According to Hart, history is replete with a long list of successful businesses from time immemorial. These businesses, sadly, are only now being talked about with nostalgia and in the past tense, because they are no longer in existence and the ashes of their glory have long since evaporated.

He explains that Aba, as a cosmopolitan business melting pot, has had its own share of these great businesses, which are no more, noting that Aba remains the economic livewire of Abia State.

Government and the business community must continue to work to ensure the continued vibrancy of the business ecosystem in the city for the overall good of the state, he said.

The Vice President is expected to be the special guest at the summit, which is being organised by the Abia State government in conjunction with the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA).

Peter Obi, the vice-presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the 2019 general election in Nigeria, would deliver the first keynote speech on the opening day.

The lead discussants are Alex Alozie, group head, operations, United Bank for Africa (UBA), and Nana Nwachukwu, a development expert.

Panellists listed to take part in the event include Emeka Onwuka, chief financial officer (CFO) and executive director of Seplat Petroleum; Gregory Ibe, chancellor, Gregory University, Uturu (GUU); Nnamdi Ezeigbo, CEO, SLOT Systems Limited, and Darl Uzu, CEO, Crown Realities plc.

Other panellists are John Udeagbala, chairman, Udeagbala Holdings Nigeria Limited; Barth Nnaji, a professor and former minister for power; Uche Orji, managing director/CEO of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); Lawrence Obetta, president of ACCIMA; Leo Nnnodum Okoye, a renowned businessman, and Jerry Kalu, a principal member of Aba business community.

Trade and commerce comes naturally to people of the South-East and particularly Abians, and that is why it is featuring prominently in Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s economic blueprint, the “Five Pillars” of economic development.

The other four pillars are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Education, Agriculture and Oil and Gas.

In drafting the “five pillars,” Governor Okezie Ikpeazu (PhD) in conjunction with his economic team, considered those economic activities the people of the state do better than others in Nigeria, those things the state has both comparative and competitive advantages over, and trade and commerce.

Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, has the largest population of any city in the South-East/South regions of Nigeria and the commercial hub of the regions. Its industrial prowess could be seen in the production of finished leather goods – shoes, belt and bags, garments, steel works, plastics, paints, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The city’s Ariaria International Market is one of the biggest markets in Nigeria and the West African sub-region and attracts patrons from the West Coast and Central Africa.

It is however the governor’s belief that trade and commerce cannot thrive in the absence of infrastructure, including good road network and security, which serves as enablers to economic development.

Consequently, the state government is investing in infrastructure, especially roads and security, to open up the state and make it safe for investment.