Vanguard (Lagos)

31 January 2013

Nigeria: Research and Devt - Our Aim Is to Industrialise Nigeria - Ike Okeke

A popular Pidgin English adage says; 'Na condition make crayfish bend' literally, the shape of the crayfish is a result of the conditions it found itself in, (the difficulties of life make people do what they do). This best describes the case of Mr. Ikechukwu Okeke, the Managing Director, Bonachuks Chemical Industries Nigeria Limited.

The Nnewi, Anambra State-based company is into household cleaning products and chemicals. In this chat with Vanguard Learning in Nnewi, Okeke speaks on how he went from Peugeot spare parts trading to a manufacturer of note. The company which can be described as a child of circumstance, is into manufacturing, research and innovation. Excerpts.

The beginning:

According to Okeke, on completing his secondary education at Okongwu Memorial Grammar School in 1983, he went to learn Peugeot spare parts trade also in Nnewi between 1984 and 1985 after which he started his own business in 1986, dealing on only Peugeot rings and slick gasket.

Some products from Bonachuks Chemical Industries Nigeria Ltd.

"In 1990, I started going overseas to import Peugeot rings. I went to Argentina and then to Hong Kong for used motor spare parts. It was in the process I encountered a Chinese chemical engineer who is into cosmetics, we later became friends. It was from there that the idea of going into production started," Okeke said.

Although he learnt a lot from his friend, he was not interested in going into manufacturing but life had other plans for him as he soon found out.

"In 1993/94, I had financial problem so could not continue my importation business. This made me to go into soap production. We were producing in Nnewi and selling in Kano. We later graduated from soap to motor grease but since we did not have enough funds to package the motor grease in cups, we were selling in drums until 2001 when I registered Bonachuks International Company as an enterprise. It was then we started production of insect killer, air freshener, toilet cleaner and detergent. Today, four of our products are registered with NAFDAC," he said.

Products:

Carbon remover: "This protects your engine by removing carbon deposits from the engine. Just pour it into the fuel tank, it mixes instantly with the fuel, and cleans all carbon deposits in your engine system, the top cylinder, valves, carburetor, plugs, injector etc. Most of the problems people encounter with their generator (diesel or petrol), have to do with carbon deposit. It also saves fuel. Example, if your Tiger generator, popularly called I better pass my neighbour, takes four litres of fuel and lasts four hours, it will last for five hours with carbon remover, same applies to other engines. Your exhaust can never be blocked because every carbon deposit is removed. The raw materials for the product are all sourced locally."

Fabric conditioner: "The secret behind second-hand clothes popularly called Okrika or Bend-down-boutique,(imported used clothes), most of which have been worn for 2 - 10 years but still look new, is fabric conditioner. Our people wash clothes without fabric conditioner but overseas, they apply fabric conditioner which neutralises excess alkaline in the soap that causes dullness in clothes. What makes your clothes look old or dull is the detergent used for washing. Any detergent that does not have excess alkaline cannot remove an atom of dirt.

"If you take any soap to the laboratory, analyse it and the soap is neutral, it cannot remove an atom of dirt from your fabric. But when it has excess alkaline, that excess alkaline is what removes dirt from clothes. Whatever soap you use, as long as that soap can remove dirt, it contains excess alkaline and as long as excess alkaline is in that soap, after washing your clothe, even if you rinse it 1000 times with ordinary water, the excess alkaline will still be there.

"When you spread it to dry and it comes in contact with the sun, it reacts with the excess alkaline causing dullness. But just a small amount of fabric conditioner in the final rinse water neutralises the excess alkaline. As a result, your clothes will continually look new."

Car polish: "This helps to hide all those ugly marks usually made by children on vehicles. This liquid auto polish hide those marks perfectly."

Sweat-free liquid: This product helps drivers to see clearly while driving in the rain as it prevents the formation of mist on the windscreen and glasses which affects visibility. Some drivers wind up the glasses to prevent rain from drenching the occupants.

As a result, the glasses become misty because of the carbon dioxide given off by the occupants, this has caused accidents in some cases. But a little amount of this liquid used to wipe the glasses will clear the mist and keep them mist-free all day."

Okeke said they also have rust remover which works by oxidation process, mildew remover, ink stain remover etc. He said research has been completed on puncture seal and production will begin soon. "If you inject the required quantity of the product into a tyre, once the tyre gets a puncture, the puncture seal in the tyre seals it immediately."

Our dream:

"We want a situation whereby we can industrialise Nigeria. We want to have foundries, metal works, cosmetics and paint industries. I want government to come to our aid. The truth is that if the entrepreneur is not settled, there is no way the country can get the best out of him, but if he is settled, then he will be able to raise people. We are here to help the country and help the GDP of the country to grow.

I must confess that President Goodluck Jonathan is really trying because with the You Win programme, I have seen so many lives changed."

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