By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—A UNIVERSITY don, Professor Ihegazie Okpara, has called on Nigerians to patronize home made products, saying such attitude would help to grow the nation’s economy.
Okpara, who decried Nigerians’ love and patronage of foreign products to the neglect of made-in-Nigeria products, which he said has led to closure of many local manufacturers resulting to increasing unemployment.
Okpara, a professor of marketing at the Abia State University, Uturu, spoke while delivering the university’s 31st inaugural lecture.
He condemned what he called “crazy” patronage of foreign products by most Nigerians to the detriment of local products, which he said is injurious to the economic growth.
He said: “Patronizing home-made products will boost industrial activities and grow our economy; new jobs will be created and the companies will pay their taxes to enable government discharge its financial responsibilities.
“This will also result in reduction in crime rate because the youths will be positively engaged. Local companies are folding today because of lack of patronage.”
In his lecture entitled “Project Naija: Deconstructing the consumption complex syndrome for national development”, Okpara urged Nigerians to unite against the craze for foreign products to save local manufacturers.
According to him, “Project Naija was a coinage for national rebirth rooted in attitudinal change in favour of Nigeria products, services and values”. He lamented that Nigerian consumers spend over $100 million on imported products annually.
Okpara noted that even some of the imported products especially clothes, shoes and leather materials which some Nigerians jostle for are actually made in Aba and taken to Dubai where they are polished and imported back to the country.
Campaigning for an end to the practice, he commended Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for promoting made-in-Aba products, which he said has led to increase in demands for Aba products in the recent times.
“Further impetus has exceptionally been added to project Naija lately by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, a passionate Ambassador of the project. Not only has he unapologetically reflected this value in his dressing sense, he also directed that foreign rive be removed from his menu.
“He has unremittingly assumed the role of the Chief marketing officer of Aba-made shoes and clothing. This informed the choice of Aba by the Presidency for the national MSME Clinic, an incubatory hub for micro, small and medium- scale entrepreneurs in Nigeria”, Okpara said.