From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
A group of Igbo leaders under the auspices of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), yesterday, visited Innoson Vehicle Motor (IVM) manufacturing company in Nnewi, Anambra State, as part of its effort to know the real stakeholders in the development of Igboland.
Those in the delegation included President of the foundation, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala; former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State; Board of Trustees Chairman of the group and former President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Chairman, Business Committee; Abia Onyike, Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee; Col Justin Ezeoke.
The Igbo leaders said their visit was to meet with the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Innosons Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, and see for themselves what he had been doing as an industrialist to bring honour to Ndigbo with the attendant economic development of the zone.
Having gone round the vehicle manufacturing firm section by section, the visiting Igbo elders said they were not only convinced but overwhelmed by the level of production activities going on in the factory.
They said the group was proud of Chukwuma and advised other Igbo men and women who had the financial muscle to come home and invest so as to contribute their own quota to the development of Igboland.
They called on all the governors of the South East to encourage the company through making Innoson’s vehicles the official vehicles in their various states. They announced an award, Akuruo Ulo, given to Chukwuma in appreciation of his think-home philosophy in business.
Chukwuma, who said he has up to 7,200 workers in his employ, explained that what motivated him to go into vehicle manufacturing business was to help satisfy the demand for new vehicles when fairly used vehicles took over the market. He explained that vehicles are manufactured at Innoson from scratch to finish, placing it as the first vehicle manufacturing company in Africa.
He expressed gratitude to former Governor Obi who, he said, made huge purchases from his company to encourage him while he was the Governor of Anambra State.
“Former Governor Peter Obi motivated and encouraged me in a very wonderful way. He bought a good number of security vans, buses for schools and other establishments and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) he distributed to traditional rulers in Anambra State. Obi is a true Igbo man by that encouragement. I’m very grateful to him,” Chukwuma noted. He also recounted the patronage of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State whom he said had almost made Innoson vehicles the only official vehicles in Imo State stressing he was set for expansion to employ more Nigerians.