Abia is one of the smallest States in Nigeria by land mass, with an estimated population of 4 million people, scattered across the 17 LGA’s of the State.
It is a very special State with unique attributes, which provide it with competitive superiority over its southern neighbours, especially the South-East and South-South States.
Japan, one of the richest countries in the world, is widely known for this saying, ‘We are island nation, with no natural resources’. Despite their lack of natural resources, Japan is one of the most successful nations in the world today. They must have done something differently and must be doing same today!
Unlike Japan, Abia is blessed in so many ways. Despite losing some of its oil wells to Rivers State some years ago, Abia remains an oil producing State. Abia’s major capabilities, which have given it sustained competitive advantage over its neighbours, include the ingenuity/creativity of its people, and its geographical location. Due to its unique geographical location, supported by the business mindset of Abia citizens, most of the State’s neighbours rely on it for most of their purchases. The several markets in Aba, which trade in different types of goods, are the shopping destinations of Abia’s neighbours.
Even with the difficult access conditions into the State over the past few years, Abia remains the preferred trade hub for most South-East and South-South States, who are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
The multiplicity of industries in Aba is also another source of sustained competitive advantage for the state. Aba is famously known for its fashion industry, which has several segments that complement each other. Many people view the shoe making and fashion segments as the best in Nigeria, while Abia’s neighbours rely on Ala Ojii spare parts market for their automobile needs.
These and many more attributes, including the zeal to keep customers satisfied, are the many attributes that make Abia special.
WHAT DOES ABIA NEED IN 2023?
Abians from the governed to those in government, must understand that we are in competition with our neighboring States. We must understand that our environment is dynamic and changes every day, even as we read this article.
Abians must realise that our sources of competitive superiority/advantage will not last forever, if we don’t improve them. Our neighbouring States are not sleeping, they are working hard to improve their capabilities in order to change their competitive positioning. The truth is that they are gradually reducing their reliance/dependence on us. If we don’t react soon, we may soon become reliant on them, for the things they used to rely on us.
No business or society survives without innovation. Any company or society that refuses to introduce innovation in its vision, policies, strategies, and tactics, will gradually decline, become backward, lose its competitive edge and eventually get overtaken by its competitors.
For Abia to continue to serve as a leading business hub in the southern part of Nigeria, the next leadership of Abia must focus on innovation, in all areas of governance. The prospective leadership must be intentional/deliberate about driving CHANGE, anchored on knowledge of the previous and current competitive status of the State, while paying attention to where we have lost ground.
The next leadership must understand where Abia was yesterday, where it should have been today, where it is today and where it needs to be tomorrow, taking into consideration, where our neighboring States are and where they are headed.
The prosperity of a State is not inherited, IT IS CREATED! According to Prof Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, the prosperity of a State does not grow out of the state’s natural endowments OR its labour pool. It results from the deliberateness of its political and business leaders to INNOVATE & UPGRADE.
Innovation in leadership is the key!
Our administration will drive the change required to reposition Abia for greatness in 2023 if elected.
Engr. Nwafor, YPP Guber Candidate Abia State writes from Osisioma