By Chukwudi Enekwechi
Developed countries of the world such as Germany, Sweden, USA, UK and many others have been known with and are synonymous with the brand of vehicles they manufacture. This method of branding is perhaps the oldest, unacknowledged and unadvertised means of branding, yet it remains the most portent means of showcasing a country and its products.
We can easily remember Germany as the source of Mercedes, Ford and Chevrolet are made in the USA, UK manufactures Rolls Royce, Sweden is known for Volvo, Japan is synonymous with Toyota and today we can be proud to say that Nigeria is known with a car manufacturing company – INNOSON. As the first indigenous automobile manufacturer, it is remarkable that this company delved into an area that if well tapped can indeed be Nigeria’s brand across the globe. It is possible and realisable when we take pride in our own products.
It is indeed comforting that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has made the promotion of made in Nigeria products as one of its cardinal objectives. This policy can be put into practical action by patronizing the company’s vehicles, especially now that the budget has been signed into law. There should be a deliberate effort to encourage the ministries, departments and agencies to procure only made in Nigeria vehicles such as, those manufactured by INNOSON, Nigeria’s first automobile manufacturer. This patronage will have multiplier effects, as jobs will be created for Nigerian youths, while the elusive technology transfer will be brought to our doorstep.
It is pertinent at this juncture to dismiss spurious claims or allegations by some vested interests against the company, as they tend to set the hand of the clock backwards. As a people, we must abandon petty issues, and join hands with patriotic corporate organisations like this company to move the country forward.
Additionally, we owe it as a duty to fully support President Buhari in his administration’s policy of diversification. With the nation’s dwindling oil fortunes, it will be foolhardy to put our eggs in one basket, hence the need to support the company in providing alternative avenues for revenue generation, foreign exchange earnings and job creation.
Before the company ventured into the sector, we were totally dependent on the importation of foreign vehicles as a nation. Today, the vision has crystallized into the manufacturing of Nigeria’s first indigenous vehicles ranging from buses, trucks, cars, sports utility vehicles and refuse trucks. Needless to say that our over-dependence on imported vehicles has led to capital flight, loss of jobs for our teeming youths and backwardness in skills acquisition.
As a patriotic Nigerian company, INNOSON has assisted the federal government in the area of skills acquisition for Nigerian youths. This approach has widened the scope of technological know-how in our youths, especially those from the Niger Delta region.It is therefore desirable that all hands should be on deck to support the efforts of the vehicle company at repositioning Nigeria’s automobile sector.
It is pertinent to note that on account of the company’s innovative ideas, other auto manufacturers who hitherto saw Nigeria as an export destination have started setting up assembly plants in the country. This move has the potentials to create additional jobs for our numerous unemployed youths, and will facilitate the much-awaited technological transfer.
So far, both the local, state and federal governments have lent their appreciable support to the company through patronage of their products, but we need to go a step further by ensuring that some disgruntled elements don’t kill the lofty dream of Nigeria to become an automobile manufacturing country. It seems that some vested interests want to return the country back to the era when we totally depended on imported vehicles.
As a company that has made Nigeria proud by venturing into an area previously reserved for Europeans and Asians, it ought to be given necessary incentives to grow and expand as a conglomerate. Such expansion will enable it provide more jobs for Nigerians, ease the transportation problems in the country, and provide an enabling environment for the nation’s technological and economic growth.
It is the considered view of most Nigerians that this patriotic company should not be maligned on trumped up charges by any group or individuals bent on executing any hideous or premeditated agenda.
The company is the pride of the nation and so far its untiring effort at lifting the image of Nigeria as an automobile – manufacturing country should be supported.
Additionally, this firm will serve as a catalyst in driving President Muhammadu Buhari’s diversification agenda. The company’s untiring effort at lifting the image of the country should be supported by all and sundry.
Rather than maligning or impugning the integrity of the company and its chief executive, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, all efforts should be geared towards ensuring that the dream is kept alive for the benefit of all Nigerians. This company has demonstrated that it has the capacity to uplift Nigeria to a technologically advanced country and what is needed is the support of all local, states and federal governments, including corporate bodies. Therefore, Nigerians need to see through the deliberate plot to smear the image of the company and its chief executive, Chief Innocent Chukwuma in the form of trumped up charges.
It therefore behooves all discerning minds to discountenance any deliberate effort aimed at disparaging Nigeria’s first indigenous automobile company The company remains Nigeria’s hope to rise to the global arena as an automobile manufacturing company, and we can only realise that aspiration by supporting the company with the vision and passion to chart the way forward.
• Enekwechi writes from Abuja