By Moses Akaigwe
Popular explorer and environmentalist, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, has been named Suzuki’s brand ambassador in Nigeria, following recent signing-up formalities in Lagos.
This is not the first time the “Desert Warrior,” founder of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), is being enlisted to represent the brand and its vehicles in the country.
Speaking after the deal about his new role was announced, the Suzuki lover, who has crossed the Sahara Desert (London to Lagos) three times, said his emotional attachment to the brand spans over 30 years. “I still drive Suzuki cars, so I don’t think I ever stopped being a brand ambassador.
“I truly believe in the brand and have personally experienced its value. However, I must say that it is a good thing to be able to officially stand for them in this capacity. I certainly feel honoured about the recognition and encouraged by their commitment to providing quality cars and after sales-service,” he said.
Dr. Jibunoh also said his new role was an opportunity to share his desert stories with Suzuki and the many things that can be done for the environment with the platform.
Sharing his perspective on Nigeria’s automotive industry, he opined that the country needs more cars that are adaptable to the environment, particularly due to the exceptionally rough terrain, dotted with potholes and flood-prone areas.
This is where Suzuki comes in and, according to him, he can attest to the vehicles being durable and suitable for the average Nigerian road: “If the Suzuki vehicles I used could withstand the desert terrain with little to no issues, our potholes and floods cannot pose a big challenge. More brands need to replicate this.’’
He also expressed concern over the high cost of vehicles, which are beyond the reach of the middle class, ‘’There is also a need for cars to become more affordable in the country. I recently read that just about 2 per cent of the population could afford to buy a new car.
“A lot of our cars are old and badly maintained, and this is bad for the environment. However, there’s little that can be done without the right policies in place and the will to implement them. I am, however, encouraged that Suzuki has established partnerships with leading Nigerian banks to provide suitable financing offers’’.
Speaking on what informed the decision to appoint Jibunoh the brand ambassador, the General Manager, CFAO Motors (Suzuki), Aissatou Diouf, disclosed that the auto maker was excited by Jibunoh’s exploits following his crossing the desert three times with Suzuki vehicles.
‘’He also has a few in his fleet and we believe he will be a credible ambassador because he trusts the products and can testify about them’’. She added.