Once again, one of Nigeria’s best universities, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, has recognised the rare technological feat achieved by the Chairman of INNOSON Company, Chief (Dr.) Innocent Chukwuma, in bringing to fruition the manufacture of Nigeria’s first made-in-Nigeria vehicles. The vehicles, which come in different types such as cars, buses, trucks and sports utility vehicles, are visible and plying all Nigerian roads today.
It is pertinent to note that before the emergence of INNOSON as an indigenous automobile manufacturing company, it was a mere pipe dream and almost impossible to realise. Today INNOSON has broken the jinx and shown with their innovation, that indeed, it is possible to manufacture automobiles in black Africa and Nigeria in particular.
It is, therefore, worthy of commendation that reputable institutions like the Nnamdi Azikiwe University has found the company deserving of recognition and reward for placing Nigeria’s name among the automobile manufacturing countries of the world. The university also found Chief (Dr.) Innocent Chukwuma, CEO of INNOSON GROUP a worthy pacesetter in the drive to industrialise Africa and honoured him with an Industrial Service Award.
From all intents and purposes, the award and recognition are deserving as they will serve as a morale booster and ‘adrenalin’ to propel him to greater heights and achievements for the benefit of the country.
Nigerians from all walks of life have never stopped to be amazed at the ingenuity that Chief Chukwuma displayed in proving cynics wrong about the capacity and capability of the black man to accomplish a rare feat like automobile manufacturing, which expertise was previously reserved only for the white man. With this achievement, there is no limit to the height any black man can reach once there is the determination and courage to dare where others fear to tread.
It is also remarkable that INNOSON’S venture into local automobile manufacturing has spurred other companies to embark on local production of vehicles. Presently companies like NISSAN, TOYOTA, MERCEDEZ, DANGOTE are emulating the good example of INNOSON in this direction.
The federal and many state governments, ministries, departments and agencies as well as media organisations have at different times appreciated and recognised the chief executive of INNOSON, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, for making Nigeria proud with his innovation and creativity.
As commendable as these recognitions are, it is important for other institutions that are hell bent on pulling down the flagship of Nigeria’s automobile industry to retrace their steps. Rather than toeing the pulldown approach, which is negative, they should focus on joining majority of Nigerians in lending the needed support to INNOSON in order to lift Nigeria from the lethargy of believing that only the white man is capable of possessing the innovative ideas for car manufacturing.
Already, INNOSON has successfully disproved this line of thought as the durability and functionality of his company’s vehicles can be compared with other well-known automobile manufacturers in the world. This is not a mean feat by any standard and the company is poised to take further steps towards consolidating on their achievements in this sector.
Apart from creating over 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country, INNOSON Company remains the fastest means of technology transfer from the developed countries to Nigeria as he is already leading the way. The company has also helped the federal government in finding a lasting solution to the youth restiveness in the Niger Delta as many of them have benefitted from the skills acquisition programme provided by the INNOSON Company at their Kiara Academy Emene, Enugu State.
Government, on its part, should endeavour to render the necessary support to INNOSON so that they will continue to play a role in the economic growth and overall development of the country. As it is commonly known, the private sector has an important role to play in reducing unemployment in the country, but this can only be done when the conducive atmosphere is created by the federal, states and local governments for patriotic companies like INNOSON to thrive.
Additionally, there is need for the federal government to incentivise job-creating companies like INNOSON by removing those obstacles that tend to hinder their operations and maximal output. The reason is not far-fetched as we cannot in one breath be campaigning for foreign direct investments while allowing some man-made obstacles to continue to stifle the patriotic efforts of local investors like INNOSON, who has taken the risk to invest billions of dollars in Nigeria’s economy.
In conclusion, the decision of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University to honour INNOSON is timely and will serve as a source of encouragement for him to continue to contribute to the fast development of Nigeria’s economy.
Enekwechi (JP), Abuja-based Public Affairs Analyst, writes via [email protected]