We are pleasantly gratified to note that the Made-in-Nigeria campaign is finding more willing advocates, especially at the commanding heights of the Federal Government. Gradually, this important inward-looking crusade is catching the fancy of people in leadership positions.
In March last year, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, on behalf of the Nigerian Air Force, signed an MOU with Nnewi, Anambra State-based Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM) for the manufacture of certain parts for their Alpha Jets, which had been grounded due to lack of foreign exchange. The Army later followed suit, and ordered for 50,000 pairs of military boots from Aba shoe makers.
Since then, we have seen the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu and Hon. Ossy Prestige, who represents Aba in the House of Representatives pushing for Nigerians to buy Made-In-Nigeria goods.
At the Senate, Ben Murray-Bruce (the Common Sense Senator) who represents Bayelsa East Senatorial District) has also turned to Innoson and other locally-made products for his personal and corporate uses, and he proudly displays them. He is a great advocate of the Buy-Nigeria campaign.
The latest entrant into this patriotic advocacy is Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. Beyond mere rhetoric, Saraki has launched the #MadeInNigeria Challenge, which is scheduled to run for an initial three months. It is meant to showcase local alternatives for imported goods. The finalists will be invited to a Made-in-Nigeria Roundtable at the Senate. Saraki was inspired to embrace the effort after encounters with local manufacturers and their products in Aba.
It is quite disappointing that this campaign is not being majorly headlined from the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, perhaps as part of this regime’s package of “change” which the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigned for during the 2015 electioneering activities.
This should have taken the missionary form of General Muhammadu Buhari’s War Against Indiscipline (WAI) in 1984. Instead, the use of foreign-made goods and services by leading members of the regime are so obvious, even in the face of severe foreign exchange crunch. The campaign is being inchoately picked up by concerned individuals. Happily, they spread across the major political parties and non-partisan institutions – the APC, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Nigerian armed forces.
This campaign requires a central arrowhead, and only the Presidency can provide leadership, using all organs of the Federal Government to fan its embers to total ownership by the citizenry. Nigerians are showing their patriotic instincts and readiness to be part of it. The growing popularity of producing and consuming Nigerian rice is an encouraging case in point.
We strongly believe that if all Nigerians get into this inward-looking bandwagon, Nigeria’s journey to self-sufficiency and prosperity would have begun. Let the President lead us.