It is in the Obuaku, Ukwa West LGA, and the site lies by the Azumini River that flows into the Atlantic Ocean. And what is more, since it is just five nautical miles from the Ocean it qualifies technically as a seaport, not a river port, going by the UN’s laws.
Stalled Efforts To Dredge
Many administrations in the old Imo State and current Abia State stated their intentions to dredge that river to allow for ships to berth, but strangely something always seemed to stop them from completing it.
The truth is that dredging Azumini will cost a whole lot of money, but I would say I have not seen a serious effort to garner the money needed to dredge it.
There is no doubt about the commercial viability of the proposed Obuaku port, as the Igbos are a trading people.
If reestablished, it will not take much effort for the port to become a thriving commercial centre. Already, plans have been made for a planned city in Obuaku to be built to service the port, but it is still not yet operational.
Proximity To Other Ports
A lot of noise is also made by naysayers who don’t have Igbo interest at heart about the fact that the port is ’30′ minutes drive from the proposed Ibaka Seaport in Akwa Ibom State. These deceivers say it will be an erroneous duplication to build another port 30 minutes from the proposed Ibaka Seaport. But apart from the fact that there are many rich countries that have ports close to each other, the naysayers, whom I would prefer to call enemies of the Igbos do not know or are not willing to acknowledge the great commercial prowess of the Igbo.
If a port is built today at Obuaku, it will become an international hub, receiving goods directly from Japan, Germany, US, China and other industrialized nations. It will also promote trade withing the Gulf of Guinea with countries like Gabon, Sao Tome, and Equatorial Guinea.
And at the same time, neighboring ports like Ibaka, Calabar, PortHarcourt(Igwe Ocha), Bonny and Onne would not suffer but instead the resulting competition would create innovation and therefore increase in quality in these ports.
Whats Happening Now
The current Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, has stated his commitment to build the Obuaku Port as a legacy of his administration, but one thing I regret is that this new initiative is coming about one year to the end of his administration, so I doubt if he will have the time to do much. I would have preferred a situation where he started this project long before now, considering the financial and other complexities of such a project.
Another day, I’ll talk about another Igbo port; I mean Igwe Ocha also known as Port Harcourt. But for now, send me your thoughts and comments about how this port (Obuaku) can become a reality.
What do you think this port will mean to the Igbo economy? What do you think various Igbo stakeholders; the politicians, philanthropists, investors and you can do to make it come alive?