Anyone who visits Ariaria market will weep at the opportunities wasting away. This market is unarguably one of Africa’s largest markets with tens of thousands of shops and production clusters. This market that used to be a pride to not just Aba or Abia State but indeed all Igbos has been reduced to a source of shame and embarrassment.
That Ariaria was allowed to decay is an indictment on all the governors that have ruled Abia State since 1999. It shows they’re all a bunch of mediocres who are not fit to govern a state. I was going through my Twitter page a couple of pages ago only to be embarrassed at gory pictures that were trending and they called it Ariaria! The worst is that some of the handles displaying it has hundreds of thousands to millions of followers cut across the globe! In a modern world where information travels at the speed of light, this was nothing but gross demarketing of Aba, Abia State and to an extent SE region. It was indeed a huge shame!! Then I wondered why Ariaria would be like that, a market hub and production centre?!
Ariaria is not just a marketing hub but also a massive production cluster where goods like shoes, bags, cloths, belts are mass produced. However, it makes one to cringe when you look at how irresponsible governance has allowed a goldmine to be wasting away when it requires just policy making and passion to turn the tide and make Ariaria the money spinner it ought to be for Abia State.
It has become critical for Ariaria to be demolished in phases and be replaced with either a massive mall or several mid sized malls and plazas clustered together. There is nothing modern or international about Ariaria in its present state. I don’t know if Okezie Ikpeazu is just plain wicked, bereft of ideas or an ogboni man to have left Ariaria in that state. Can’t he look at what is going on in Ebonyi State and the revolutionary works of Umahi. Ebonyi is supposed to be a far poorer state than Abia but the sort of projects Umahi builds is something all the idiotic governors of Abia State combined can’t achieve since 1999!
I had written severally in the past on the need to replace the archaic lock up shops in Ariaria with massive malls or plazas but nothing seems to change. Instead of having 30,000 derelict shops that get flooded and has leaky roofs whenever it rains, build modern malls and plazas. Construct a dual carriage way and connect it to the Osisioma end of the Enugu/P.H expressway.
What makes it more ironical is that the state government does not even need to spend its own money to achieve this because private investors and banks will be falling over themselves to invest on an extremely viable project such as Ariaria. Again, Ariaria already has a small power plant and Shell recently constructed a gas pipeline to Aba that will be supplying cheap and reliable gas for power generation. In addition, Geometric power is also in Aba, generating huge megawatts of electricity. What this means is that massive malls can be built and they will still be affordable, safe, and conducive since traders won’t have need to be wasting money on fueling or repairing their noisy generators and suffering losses from flood or leaking roof.
The multiplier effect on Aba would be massive because international brands like LG and Samsung will start coming in to open branches in Aba. Employment will increase, revenue will increase, quality of life will improve and people will start rushing back to Aba like it used to be in the past.