Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia says proposed Enyimba Economic City in Aba will be Nigeria’s “Dubai”.
Besides, he said that the “City” would be a business community that would close the economic gaps in the South-East and South-South.
Ikpeazu, who disclosed this when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja said the economic city which he described as “audacious project’’, would be private sector-driven.
“The Enyimba economic city is conceptualised and designed to close the gap in terms of the economy of Port-Harcourt and that of Aba.
“They are two economically energetic centers in the South-East and South-South.
“If we close the gap, it means that there is a fusion and there will be an explosion in terms of creating a new hub that can compare with what you see in Dubai today.
“When I started my campaign about “made-in-Aba, after a while we changed gear and I said I have moved on from made-in-Aba to “make-in-Aba’’.
“Whether we like it or not, the white man now knows that Aba people and Abia people and Nigerians are capable of producing things.
‘’So, we are now saying come and make, come and produce in Aba; we have created an environment that we can beat our chest and say is good enough.
‘’Abia is the third safest state in Nigeria today; that is what the Police report says.”
The governor said that infrastructure that would be provided in the city included narrow gauge railway line that would link Abonima wharf and Onne wharf in Port-Harcourt to Aba.
He said that the city is situated on a gas basin, adding that Abia was richer in gas deposit than oil.
The governor said the city would also entail the creation of an entertainment center, a manufacturing hub, residential areas, ultra-modern hospitals and school.
This, he explained, were designed to ensure an integrated city that would give investors opportunity to do business and export the products they would be manufacturing.
“We are looking for 11 anchor companies and about four or five have indicated interest and we are encouraged by the response we are getting from China and other parts of Asia.”
Ikpeazu said the Enyimba economic city also had the potential of becoming the most attractive and viable export processing hub in Nigeria.
“It is driven majorly by Crown Realities and they did the concept design as they did in Singapore.
“It has one other unique factor which is that it is not owned by Abia Government, because there is a law in the state today that it is entirely private sector-driven enterprise which will outlive my administration.
“So, anybody coming to invest has the comfort of the assurance that even if he is quarrelling with the governor, he can still do business in the city.
“We are bold to invite Nigerians to come and own a piece of the cake; it belongs to them,” he said.
On a similar project, Obuaku Economic City, abandoned about 15 years ago, the governor said the project failed because the conceptualisation was bad.