Abia plans innovation centre, to partner  Israeli on  innovation, digitisation 


From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia

Abia State government has revealed its  plan to build an Abia Innovation Center to further strengthen the government’s resolve to drive businesses in the state through innovation and digitisation.


Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti, disclosed this when he received the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Michael Freeman, who visited him in Government House, Umuahia, saying that the state was desirous of partnering Israel in the area of innovations and digitisation.

“We have just started. This is dress rehearsal and I believe that in the next one year,  a lot would have been achieved in human capital development, digital economy and innovation.

“Our people don’t want to be multinationals, they just want to excel in their different trades in very creative and innovative ways. I am very sure that by the next trip you will make in less than one year, you will see something different,” Governor Otti told his guest.

Otti noted that the every successful transformation begins with an initial leap forward, adding that government was determined to translate ideas and intentions that were discussed into action.

“I have listened to you speak about things that are so important to us as a government.

“I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the state government will partner with you and work with you.

“You have a clear understanding of how the economy works, particularly the modern economy,” the Governor said.

Governor Otti described the  people of Abia as the most important resource of the state government that were desirous to build their businesses in innovative and creative ways for best results.

He said that the determination and resilience of the citizens, even in the face of the current economic situation and failures of past administrations, were  serving as encouragement for him to keep evolving policies and programmes that would improve their welfare and make their businesses to thrive.

“After extensive research about the things that are important to us and the resources that are available, in fact, I would say that the most important resource we have are the human beings.

“The can-do-spirit of our people, the creativity, the innovativeness, the never-say-die attitude are things that actually keep us going.

“Our people, despite the difficulties and failures  of governance they have faced in the past, have continued to trudge on,  fight on. They are so resilient and when I look at this, I am encouraged to work for them,” Goveenor Otti stressed.

Earlier, the Isreali Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Micheal Freeman, had  said that there was so much that Abia and Isreali governments could do together in the area of agriculture.

“We are blessed to have leading agriculture experts in the world and specifically in areas of cassava, rice and cocoa production.

“It takes 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogramme of rice. It is huge amount of water, but Isreal has discovered a technology that allows you to grow one kilogramme of rice with 1, 500litres of water and using the drip technology, you can grow it anywhere.

“Agriculture is an area that we will very much want to work with Abia Government in partnership,” Freeman said.

Freeman also said that Abia has a growing reputation of working in education and technology, adding that the Isreali government  was poised to partner with Abia in this area.

“In the area of technology, we run a programme called Innov8 that takes young Nigerian entrepreneurs and innovators.

“We  mentor  them for  6-9 months and at the end of the programme, we help them attract funding,” the Israeli Ambassador said.

Freeman said that the achievement of having full-time electricity in Aba  was very commendable. He said that such potential would allow both governments to work on digital economy, technology, science and agriculture.


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