By Moses Akaigwe
President Muhammadu Buhari has re-appointment the director-general/chief executive officer of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu for another term of four years.
Though the reappointment letter was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, on April 7, 2021, the news did not filter out until mid last week.
Aliyu’s first appointment was announced in April, 2017, thereby ending speculations on whether the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), inherited by the Buhari government from the previous administration, was still on course.
It was believed that Aliyu earned President Buhari’s recognition then following the marks he made in the automotive industry, particularly his notable contributions as General Motors’ senior creative designer in the United States of America. He replaced Aminu Jalal, an engineer, whose tenure officially ended on May 12, 2017.
Aliyu was re-appointed on the recommendation of the Minister for Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo.
As would be expected, some stakeholders who got an early hint of the development last week described his re-appointment as a welcome development, even as others believe he has a lot of challenges ahead of him as he tries drive the auto industry out of the woods in an atmosphere of economic crisis.
Among those who have so far congratulated him in an interview with The Sun are the chairman of PAN Nigeria Ltd, Kaduna, Alh. Ahmed Wadata Aliyu; chairman, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Ltd (IVM), Nnewi, Dr. Innocent Chukwuma; and the managing director of DVC Limited, Dr. David Obi.
The stakeholders, however, enjoined him to see to it that government addresses the challenges in Nigeria’s industry that have been diverting investments by original equipment manufacturers to Ghana.
To Wadata, the major tasks before the DG as he begins his fresh tenure is to prompt government to look into the plight of the ailing auto industry, which is “almost grounding to a halt.”
This is in addition to liaising with the Industry Trade and Investment Ministry to ensure that the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) Fiscal Incentive and Guarantees Bill is revised and returned to the National Assembly, and subsequently signed into law by the President. President Buhari had previously declined assent to the original version of the bill passed by NASS.
Also saluting Aliyu over the weekend, Innoson Charirman, agreed that giving the NAIDP a legal framework should be made top priority.
“I want to use this medium to congratulate the DG on his re-appointment by the President. I wish to say that he will make a good name for himself if he will use the next four years to look into the challenges the auto industry is facing in the country. He should also ensure that locally made vehicles are truly patronised, particularly, products from serious auto plants, like Innoson and PAN,” Chukwuma said on Saturday.
This was echoed by Obi, one of the most vocal advocates for a viable local auto industry who leads the local content suppliers group in the sector.
Upon graduation in 1994 from College for Creative Studies in Detroit,Michigan, USA, Aliyu began his career with the design staff of General Motors, where he worked on the Buick Rendezvous, and later became lead exterior designer of the Pontiac G6 and Astra; moved to General Motors’ Opel Division and soon designed the Chevrolet Volt which was unveiled in 2007.