ENASCO: We abandoned Abia Multi-National shoe factory to deteriorate because Abians have a greater share than the Government: Gov Alex Otti | #NwokeukwuMascot


Abia State Government Explains ENASCO Shutdown: Shareholding Dispute and Political Accusations Unfold | #NwokeukwuMascot

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In a recent statement, Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has addressed public concerns regarding the closure of the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO). The company, which was established and commissioned by the previous administration, has remained under lock and key, sparking controversy and criticism from various quarters.

The multi-million-dollar shoe factory, located at the industrial cluster at Obikabia Junction, Ogbor Hill, Aba, employs over 6,000 people directly and supports 15,000 indirect jobs. Since Governor Alex Otti's inauguration, the facility has been allowed to deteriorate, along with other projects from the previous administration, such as the multi-specialist hospital.

However, Governor Otti's media adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, clarified the government's position, stating that the Abia State government holds only a 27% stake in ENASCO, while the remaining 73% belongs to private individuals, all citizens of the state. The statement emphasized that this ownership structure has played a significant role in the company's current status.

The government's response comes on the heels of a strongly worded article by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu's spokesman, Barr. Onyebuchi Ememanka, who accused the current administration of abandoning ENASCO. Ememanka's post, titled "Raw and Undisguised Mischief as a Tool of Governance by Governor Otti," lambasted the shutdown, alleging that the company had been operational and fulfilling orders for various clients, including the Nigeria Railway Corporation and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), before its closure.

Ekeoma's statement, titled "Falsehood and Blackmail as a Strategy for Survival: The Okezie Ikpeazu Example," rebuffed these claims. It accused the former governor's team of spreading deceit and disinformation to tarnish Governor Otti's reputation.

According to Ekeoma,  “It's now very easy to predict former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his team. After clearly seeing the unwillingness of Abians to pay attention to the too many lies and distortions targeted at Governor Alex Otti in the lastfewmonths, they decided to adopt a new strategy that would present Governor Otti as one who so hates and detests Ikpeazu to the point that he wouldn't want to touch any project initiated by the former Governor.

“A few days ago, Ikpeazu's Spokesman, Onyebuchi Ememanka embarked on another voyage of deceit and disinformation.

“In a post he captioned,"Raw and Undisguised Mischief as a Tool of Governanace by Governor Otti" Ikpeazu expressed anger that Genuine Investors are now being received in their large numbers by Governor Otti, and angrily attacked Governor Otti for allegedly abandoning the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) initiated by him.

“Ikpeazu didn't just send his Spokesman Ememanka to lie to the world, he also authorised him to abuse Governor Otti by calling him "Stupid" and also questioning his qualification as an Economist. 

“Before I further my response, let me quote verbatim some of the things written by Ikpeazu through his Spokesman in the said article.

"This factory was established and started work, handling different orders from clients across the country"

"In a bid to insulate the company from government interference, Ikpeazu then inaugurated a Board of Directors for the company and hired a tested hand in shoe manufacturing as Managing Director of the company. The guy was brought from Lagos and isn't even from Abia State"

"I still recall when the Nigeria Railway Corporation placed an order for 3000 pairs of work boots from ENASCO and it was produced and delivered. Boots were done for the NYSC and the Police at ENASCO!"

"Since becoming Governor last year, ENASCO has been under lock and key! He has not said a single word about that company and other similar outfits built by Ikpeazu".

"I thought Otti is an economist and a former bank chief?  What kind of economic theory is he practising by locking up a factory that can at least provide jobs to our people?  Is this not voodoo economics? Isn't this sheer stupidity? Isn't this taking politics too far?

“The lies and insults of the former Governor and his aides have become so disgusting that we do not consider them worthy of any response. However, as usual, we would want to put the records straight in order to disabuse the minds of unsuspecting members of the public whom  they desperately and consistently seek to deceive. 

“The Facts remain as follows: The Enyimba Automated Shoe Company (ENASCO) is jointly owned by Private Investors and Abia State Government. 

“While the Investors own 73% equity, Abia State government owns  27% equity, according to documents available to us. This equity arrangement and other things concerning the company will be thoroughly investigated by the government henceforth to establish all the facts surrounding the company. 

“The Equity arrangement is as follows: Abia State Government:  27%, Chinenye Nwogu-8%, Sam Hart-8%, Macauley Atasie-8%, John Udeagbala 16% and Chidi Nwaike-33%.

“During a recent meeting between the government and staff of the Company, during which they were reminded that government needed to know the profit that had accrued to it from its investment in the company, but they explained that they hadn't been able to break even. Note, this was a company that was said to have commenced operations in 2020, and yet,  has not broken even in 2024. What does it say about that rudderless government led by Ikpeazu?

“Contrary to the misleading idle lies told by Onyebuchi Ememanka on behalf of his boss, the Alex Otti led-government neither shut down the company nor stopped the workers there from working. The only intervention made by the government in the interest of the state was to recover a primary school that was wrongly fenced into the compound of the company, which denied the pupils of the school access to their school, leaving them with only 3 classroom blocks. I challenge Ememanka and his boss, Okezie Ikpeazu to show any evidence to the contrary. 

“If Ikpeazu, according to his Spokesman's false claim, actually insulated the company from government, why did he allow his serving appointees to occupy the positions of Directors in the company?

“If the claims made by Ememanka about the feats being recorded by ENASCO to the point of exporting thousands of shoes to different customers within and outside Nigeria were true, how come the records do not show that, and what suddenly changed, since it's obvious that the present government has not in any way interrupted their operations, contrary to the despicable lies told by him?

“The utterly puerile epistle written by Ikpeazu's Spokesman, shows that they still tenaciously uphold the medieval mendacious mindset with which they elevated falsehood and mediocrity to become an official practice of their failed government, else how do you explain a situation whereby someone holding brief for a former Governor wakes up every day to fabricate outright lies on sensitive issues?

“Governor Alex Otti, even as an Opposition Leader starting from 2014/2015, made it clear that he did not see Ikpeazu as his opponent, rather as a helpless and vulnerable willing tool used by desperate godfathers to steal his mandate in order to perpetuate themselves in power, of course, Dr. Otti was proven right, as Ikpeazu who never had a blueprint nor a manifesto with which to Govern the state, led a calamitous government that left  horrendous traces of ruins, sorrow and agony for Ndi Abia. It therefore beats one's imagination that  Ikpeazu and his Spokespersons and allies have continued to struggle to present Governor Otti as one who is out to fight the former Governor. And we ask; why would Governor Otti want to waste his time fighting a man who is already down and devastated?

“May I use this medium to remind Ememanka and other actors and agents of that failed government that, Governor Otti is preoccupied with the task of rebuilding Abia state, and therefore he is not willing to waste time and energy on a man who is already facing the harsh judgement of the people he once humiliated, and for which they disgraced him at the polls in 2023.

“Finally, while we wouldn't want to call Dr. Ikpeazu stupid like his aide called Governor Otti, I must however remind Ememanka and his boss, that this poor strategy of emotional blackmail and senseless media attacks won't deter Governor Otti and his government from pursuing justice for the people of Abia State against those who violated their rights and stole their commonwealth with reckless abandon, so the wailing by the oppressors of Old Abia, started rather too early.“


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