Aba is a town of settlers – most of whom have been attracted by the lure of doing business in an energised community.
The people care about production, distribution and revenue generation.
There are so many success stories in Aba. The bare-chested millionaires are one. They are the extremely wealthy producers who care so much about giving value that they forget to wear shirts.
Aba has a population of about 600,000, based on the last Census carried out in 2006. Over one-tenth of this population are artisans producing garments and leather shoes and fabricating machines. One in six of these people is a manufacturer and an employer of labour.
The normal average in Aba is one shop owner to between five to seven workers. This is where it gets interesting – some are learning the trade and some are working the trade. The worker is paid wages while the apprentice pays to learn the trade. Revenue circulates.
The most common refrain in Aba is, ‘When I finish I will get money to start my own’ and that is why you would get so many people who have more than two decade’s experience doing the same thing. These business owners continue to mentor others. Sustainability is guaranteed.
Going through the town of Aba exposes you to a people who are extremely hard working – a people bent on sharing knowledge to sustain the future. In this town, there will always be work!
There are 14 manufacturing clusters in Aba which are divided into leather products [shoes, belts and bags]; Garments; and fabrication. With over 50,000 artisans, the only thing that cannot be manufactured in Aba presently is a human being.
But all that is needed by a human being to survive and thrive are manufactured in this economic capital of Abia State. The first thing you will notice at Ehi Road is the preponderance of two and three-story buildings, which are very wide spread.
Most of the time, you will see where the building starts from but you will likely be unable to see where it ends. In one of the buildings – 156, Ehi Road, there are about 70 stores, where clothes – shirts, trousers, dresses, etc. are manufactured from 6:30am to about 6pm everyday, apart from Sundays.
One of the propietors in the building, Kalu said he had been domiciled there for the last 23 years. “Do you have a picture of what you desire to make,” he asked. “Whatever you want will be created here,” he continued.
Full of confidence is a trait common in these parts. These men and women of Ehi Road do not believe that there is nothing that is beyond them, even though they are the first to admit that they can definitely get better – if some circumstances are corrected.
You can see it firsthand where suits were cut and made; shirts, women dresses and the speed at which commerce was done. What would also amaze many is that most of these manufacturers do not do retail – they have contractors who ar waiting to ship out their goods when completed. On a good day of business at No.156 – over 30,000 garments of various shapes and sizes are completed and packaged, mostly for export. Truly, Aba makes things!
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