BY OSOLOKA NNAMDI in Awka•
United States-based international development organisation, the Ford Foundation, has adopted Abia State as a key partner state in Nigeria based on the quality of leadership the state enjoys now.
Ford Foundation’s West Africa Programme Manager, Prof. Paul Nwulu, disclosed this when he visited the State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, in Umuahia, the state governor.
He informed the Governor that to further show the commitment of the Foundation to supporting the Made-in-Aba campaign, the organisation is putting together the highest prize-winning Hackathon in Aba on March 14-16, 2018, further stating that the foundation is investing about $200,000 as prize and idea development.
Nwulu told the Governor that the event will bring to Aba some of the brightest minds in ICT solutions from across the world. He therefore formally invited the Governor to support the programme which will strengthen the global reach of the made in Aba campaign.
Nwulu congratulated Governor Ikpeazu for the huge success the Made in Aba campaign has recorded within a short time in office.
He thanked the Governor and the Abia State Government for supporting Ford Foundation-funded initiatives in Abia, especially in Aba.
He informed the Governor that their support for Aba redevelopment efforts, which started with the Aba Urban Development Summit in January 2016 –an activity funded by Ford Foundation –, has culminated into several other engagements for the benefit of the people of Abia State.
Nwulu told the Governor that the Made in Aba brand campaign produced by Lagos-based advertising and branding agency TBWA won an international award in South Africa late 2017.
An elated Governor Ikpeazu expressed gratitude to Prof. Nwulu and the Ford Foundation for their huge support for the Made in Aba campaign. The Governor stated that he embarks on the promotion of Made in Aba products based on his conviction that there abound enough creativity and ingenuity in Aba to compete with the best in the world and also as a means to boost Nigeria’s economic recovery.
He explained that having seen the efforts those creative entrepreneurs in Aba he wanted to ensure that his administration provides the needed push and enabling environment for entrepreneurship and businesses to thrive in Aba.
The Governor informed Nwulu that the State Government has taken the promotion of made in Aba products to a global level and there is need to improve the quality of products, just as he told the Ford Foundation chief that as part of government to build the capacity of the producer, 30 Abia shoemakers are currently in China undergoing automated shoe production training.