The Oasis Reporters
August 31, 2019
If former President Goodluck Jonathan were to be a leader in Cuba, they’d probably describe him as one with ‘Laz luga’. The one with foresight, or someone with insight. That was how Cubans saw Fidel Castro over his leadership qualities.
When Chief Innocent Chukwuma more popularly recognized as Innoson dreamt of manufacturing automobiles, little did he envisage that his own country’s president would put a clog in his wheels. It was reported that the Obasanjo government seized his moulds and grounded his plans, until Goodluck Jonathan became Acting President and Peter Obi took Innocent Chukwuma to see him.
The rest became history, as Jonathan ordered for the release release of the Innoson moulds which kick started the beginning of the indigenous vehicles manufacturing by a private Nigerian citizen.
Innoson’s success buoyed the spirit and the zeal in Jonathan, such that he rolled out the new Automotive policy, calling the bluff of the likes of Toyota and other companies who made Nigeria only as a sales destination. Jonathan ordered that any vehicle company selling more than 500 units of their vehicles in Nigeria must commence manufacturing in Nigeria, or quit the Nigerian market. The Asian companies had no choice but to start making plans, or lose it all to homeboy Innoson.
While in Japan, President Buhari was courting and offering incentives to Toyota :
BUHARI MEETS TOYOTA COMPANY
— Buhari Media Organization (@BuhariMediaORG) August 30, 2019
This seems to be a negation of Jonathan’s automotive policy that would rather put policies in place to encourage indigenous vehicle manufacturers that surely would have followed in Innoson’s footsteps.
It certainly would have paid Nigeria better if the visit and the deals offered to Toyota, were instead, granted to Innoson Automobile Manufacturing company in Nnewi, and for Nigerian banks to fund the vehicle mortgage plans that Japan Bank for International Cooperation got in Yokohama, Japan.
It is still not too late for President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Nnewi and meet with Innoson Company.