FEATURE ARTICLE

Friday, October 8, 2021
keshiafrica@gmail.com

GOV IKPEAZU AS A GOOD BRAND AMBASSOR OF MADE IN ABA GOODS

Obasanjo (left) with Ikpeazu admiring the shoes in 2016.

rand ambassadors, also known as Corporate Ambassadors, are hired by organisations to represent brands positively as well assisting companies to increase the awareness of brands to promote sales. Few characteristics mark out brand ambassadors. One is that they should have an appreciable knowledge of the core principles of marketing. Another is that they should reach out to a wide range of people.

Also, brand ambassadors have the capacity to influence people’s perception of products as well encourage them to patronise the product. Another important function of brand ambassadors is to foster strong relationships between the customers and the brand. They also gather feedback from customers about a product. This will enable the firm to improve on their products and services.

These and more are what Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State is doing for the made -in- Aba wears as brand ambassador. The governor has not relented in his efforts to ensure that these products capture the global market and attract huge patronage. He has taken advantage of every opportunity to market the made-in – Aba wears. One of the occasions was the 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lagos where Ikpeazu did not take chances to launch made-in -Aba shoes. This excited former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as one of the panelists, to place an order for pairs of shoes.

This also prompted the then Senate President, Bukola Saraki to urge other military and paramilitary outfits in the country to emulate the army by immediately banning the purchase of all imported foot wears in preference for locally produced ones.

Obasanjo takes delivery of Made-in-Aba shoes in 2016.

While Governor Ikpeazu is fulfilling his beat in marketing the brand “Aba”, the federal government should not hesitate in fulfilling its own beat. There have been calls from several quarters on the federal government to ban importation of all goods that Nigerians have the capacity to produce locally.

The former Senate President, David Mark in 2013 during a trade fair to launch made-in Aba products in Abuja described Aba as the “catalyst of industrial revolution in Nigeria” and urged the federal government to discourage importation of foreign goods because Nigeria has no business importing those goods which do not measure to the quality being produced in the country.

Abians have no other option than to assist this great brand ambassador (Ikpeazu) in this his marketing efforts, especially now that serious pressure is exerted on our currency (the naira) because of import dependency .This situation is necessitated by weak, narrow export base where revenues generated from oil and gas account for over 70 percent of our foreign exchange earnings.

The time is ripe for us to encourage made-in-Aba goods. This effort if implemented will go a long way in ameliorating the economic woes of the country by saving the nation the foreign currencies expended on importation of good and services( even those we have the capacity of producing).

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