By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Happy new year everyone. Welcome to 2020, the year Nigeria turns 60. Our collective goal should be to make it a turning point for our beloved nation
(2) Let me lighten your day up with some mouth-watering data. Do you know that the global footwear industry was worth $290bn in 2019?
(3) By 2024, this is set to rise to $330bn as more shoes get sold worldwide
(4) Nigeria is in the unique position of feeding the African market, which has the potential for the greatest growth simply because more Africans will cease to be barefoot then anywhere else on earth. Just imagine how many shoes you are producing if 100m people cease being barefoot
(5) Now, Aba is central to this plan as it has established itself as the footwear capital of Nigeria. I look forward to Aba and its environs becoming one big footwear company
(6) Virtually every Abriba and Ohafia family has one shoe and clothing retailer. It is time to turn them into manufacturers
(7) For me, anyone importing finished goods into Nigeria is just an enemy of the people. Such money is blood money as those importers are only impoverishing our people. Their crimes are greater than those of public officials who embezzle state funds in my opinion
(8) I have a lot of respect for the Aba producer, even if his products are sub-standard and comical for now. I have shown some Aba-made products here but hey, who says we cannot turn this round soon?
(9) Japan, Taiwan and China all started out as manufacturers of cheap and sub-standard goods but look at them today. I remember Skoda too was once the butt if every car joke but look at their vehicles today
(10) I want to see 500 footwear operators from Aba, Abriba and Ohafia join forces to create a consolidated company named something like Ngwa Enterprises and set itself the target of matching Bata at the least for now