By Chukwudi Enekwechi
NIGERIA’s quest for rapid industrialisation remained a pipe dream until a few years ago when the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company emerged on the scene and invested billions of naira in the local manufacture of automobiles in the country.
Since then the company has remained focussed at supporting the efforts of the federal government towards diversifying the economy. The huge investment of the company in this sector has promoted not only the industrial drive of the federal government but provided employment for thousands of Nigerians.
While many people considered the local manufacture of motor vehicles a herculean task, the innovative idea of Innoson to embark on the venture despite initial teething problems has proved pessimists wrong, and attracted the interest of various tiers of government and foreigners alike to the company.
While Innoson has been in the forefront of making Nigeria a vehicle manufacturing country with the attendant job creation, it is expected that all Nigerians should lend their support to the company to enable it succeed in its mission of driving the industrialisation of the country. Having set the ball rolling, what remains is for all hands to be on deck to enable the company and by extension Nigeria to accomplish its mission of being an industrialised country.
As a company that is growing in leaps and bounds, and recognition coming from all parts of the world, the Innoson Group has made Nigeria proud and presently the Innoson brand has become a household name both in Nigeria and outside the country.
The Innoson Company has already laid a solid foundation for the industrialisation of the country, and most Nigerians have acknowledged and applauded the innovative ideas of its founder Chief Innocent Chukwuma, especially for his patriotic zeal to make Nigeria an industrialised country through automobile manufacturing.
So the question is why anyone would resort to character assassination and denigration of a personality already recognised within and outside Nigeria for making the bold move of pointing the way towards Nigeria’s accelerated industrialisation? To do that will amount to truncating the federal government plans and clarion calls on the private sector to lead the way in driving the fast industrialisation of the country, which Innoson is already a pioneer.
Based on the efforts of the Innoson Group, Nigeria has saved billions of dollars which would have been ploughed into the importation of foreign vehicles. Today, many foreign automobile manufacturing companies have set up their automobile plants in Nigeria with the attendant job opportunities and reduction in capital flight.
The deliberate policy of the federal government of directing foreign automobile companies to establish plants in Nigeria was as a result of the initiative of Innoson to lead the way in setting up a manufacturing plant rather than depending on importation of foreign and used vehicles.
The promoter of Innoson Group, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has through his innovation proven that it is possible for automobile manufacturing to thrive in a third world country like Nigeria. On account of his patriotism and innovative acumen, Chief Chukwuma has been honoured both locally and globally, and it becomes amazing why some vested interests will decide to disparage his person and malign his character for no justifiable reason. Surprisingly, simple business transactions became complicated and obvious facts are being twisted to suit the whims and caprices of some vested interests. Regardless of these challenges, Nigerians are relieved that the resilience of the company will help it to prevail in the end.
In other climes, Innoson would have been appreciated and adopted as a national brand with the government making overtures to lend support to the company where it is needed, all in a bid to encourage it to stay afloat.
This approach is desirable in Nigeria because in the end all Nigerians will benefit from today’s innovative efforts of the Innoson Group. Apart from creating jobs, there will be skills acquisition and rapid industrial development of the country. It is also a thing of pride for a country like Nigeria to be reckoned with as an automobile manufacturing country, and with Innoson Nigeria has already scored a first in this regard.
Having invested several billions of naira to establish the first automobile manufacturing plant in Nigeria and by extension Africa, it is expected that all well-meaning people and organisations should collaborate with them to enable the venture continue to grow from strength to strength.
By doing so, the jobless youths of Nigeria will be guaranteed employment and will be inspired to aspire towards attaining great height like Chief Innocent Chukwuma who has never looked back in his desire to contribute in the development of the country and its peoples.
*Mr. Enekwechi, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Abuja.