IT is an established fact that most industrialised countries like USA, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, France, Russia and China have as their identity the brand of vehicles they manufacture.
For example America is synonymous with Ford, Britain with Rolls Royce, Germany is known with Mercedes, Sweden is Volvo and so on. It is therefore a thing of joy that Nigeria has started to develop a brand as we have in Innoson brand of locally manufactured vehicles. Obviously, this was how other great economies of the world developed.
Before Innoson vehicles were introduced into the Nigeria market, it was unthinkable that such dream will be realised someday in our country. Here was a man who started the importation of motorcycles from China but he soon realised that if he could bring them as completely knocked down parts, he will save some costs and provide jobs for our teeming youths.
He also thought it wise that by bringing the motorcycles to Nigeria as completely knocked down, it will be easier to discover the technological mechanics that enabled the Chinese to succeed.
This idea worked wonders as soon after he started assembling motorcycles locally he led the effort to crash the cost of motorcycles across Nigeria. Before then only two foreign companies dominated the motorcycle market in Nigeria.
There is no doubt that the abrupt drop in prices of motorcycles led to huge employment opportunities for our teeming youths. The simple reason was that it became affordable to the poorest families and they were able to eke out a living from it. Today, Innoson is replicating the same effort in vehicles manufacturing by doing what was previously unthinkable - manufacturing vehicles locally.
It is therefore gratifying that the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has decided to partner with the company by patronising their products. This is indeed the way to go if Nigeria can make the desired progress in local auto manufacturing.
At a time when the country is facing tremendous
challenges in youth unemployment with its attendant drawbacks, only value-added enterprises like Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing plant can mitigate the effects through the job opportunities they offer our youths. Again this can only be made possible if they have ready markets for their products. It is worthy to note that the benefits inherent in supporting companies like Innoson to succeed are multi-dimensional. First, apart from the thousands of employees earning their livelihood, as well as their dependants, they would acquire necessary skills that can help them to be self-reliant and creative.
As it is well known, ideas drive a nation, and from the abundance of ideas generated from such an environment, the country's industrial development will get a major boost. There is no doubt that Innoson Vehicles plant emerged at a period in Nigeria's history when all odds seemed to be skewed against the setting up of such enterprise in the first place.
Talk of power challenges and other drawbacks militating against entrepreneurial endeavours, but notwithstanding, he was able to ride the storm and today Innoson has become a household name in auto manufacturing in Nigeria. The company is indeed a pride to Nigeria and Africa, and there is no doubt that sooner than later they will be the brand face of the African continent like Ford of America and Mercedes of Germany.
To save capital flight and create jobs locally, it is advisable that all states of the federation take a cue from the Federal Government by patronising Innoson vehicles. Already, some West African countries like Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin Republic, Niger, Liberia are ordering Innoson vehicles in huge quantities due to their durability and value added services. Gladly, the Federal Government has set the pace, and it behoves all tiers of government to take advantage of this creativity and promote our indigenous vehicle plants.
Chukwudi Enekwechi, a journalist and public affairs commentator, wrote from Abuja.