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Innoson Automobile And Nigeria’s Quest For Domestic-driven Economy



There has always been the need for the federal, state and local governments to diversify their sources of revenue. This reality prompted previous governments to mute roadmap to economic recovery. However, all attempts so far, failed to yield the desired transformation of the Nigerian economy.

The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari rolled out “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan” last year. But economists have postulated that, such ambitious plan requires the active support of the major private sector player in the Nigeria economy, especially, sectors that gulps huge resources like the automobile industry.

In this respect, Dr Innocent Chukwuma of the Innoson has indispensable role to play. Analysts has praised the pioneering role of Innoson Motors in Nigeria’s Automotive Industry, explaining that, with Innoson Motors, Nigeria will be able to reverse the pathetic scenario, where statistics from the National Automotive Council (NAC) puts Nigeria’s automobile import at whopping N600 billion annually.

NAC director general, Mr Aminu Jalal revealed in 2017, that about 50,000 new and 150,000 used vehicles were imported into the Nigeria, yearly.

“Nigerians spend an average of N400 billion on importing passenger cars. By the time you add trucks and other vehicles, the amount Nigerians spend on imported vehicles will be running to N600 billion annually

Innoson’s journey to become an automobile giant in Nigeria dates back to 1978, when he started business. His untiring efforts culminated in the first made-in-Nigeria vehicle by Innoson Vehicle manufacturing Company Ltd. (IVM) in February of 2009. This added an impetus to the role Innoson is playing in the Nigerian economy.

One potent explanations, adduced by economists to explain the Nigerian economic predicaments, is that, Nigeria runs fowl of Adams Smith’s theory of the wealth of a nation. On March 9, 1776, the Adams Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” was first published.

According to Smith, nations should sell their goods to other countries while buying nothing in return. Conversely, this theory is impracticable but helped in greater extent to shape the economic policies of the United States, to the extent that it imports far less than it sells. This explains why, statistics has it that, as at 1971, the US already had over 200 of its multi-national companies doing business, all over the world. This explains why, some nations accumulates huge national wealth to the detriment of others.

To an indispensable extent, Innoson Motors has huge roles to play actualize the Adams Smith’s idea of accumulating national wealth. If the ‘N600 billion being expended on foreign automobile imports is spent on local automobile manufacturing companies, one of the immediate implications is that, the Nigerian economy will have the benefits of recycling the huge fund that would have gone abroad.

Secondly, it will create unprecedented employment opportunities in Nigeria’s labour market. Imperial evidence has proven over times that, where the youths are employed, there is less likely chances of youth restiveness, kidnapping, armed robbery and other sundry crimes. No wonder, the youths rose in unison to condemn the recent Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) altercation with Innoson.

Another demonstration of gratitude by Nigerians to the leading role Innoson is playing in the Nigerian economy, was the way, those suspected to be behind Innoson’s fallout with the EFCC, was nearly crippled by massive withdrawal and account closure.

Some distinguish and high profile Nigerians like the minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the ‘Commonsense’ senator, Ben Murray Bruce etc, have since adopted Innoson Motors as the signpost for the ‘Buy Naija’ campaign.

Similarly, the last administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan, understood the logic of ‘buying naija’ and grow national wealth, so much, that it, during its time, directed ministries, parastatals agencies of government to patronize Innoson Motors as their utility vehicles.

Also, few weeks ago, the Nigerian Army reaffirms its commitment to encourage participation of local manufacturers in developing Nigeria’s military industrial complex, The Nigerian Army went into a partnership with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, to conceptualize, design, modify and produce armoured fighting vehicles and other military hardware.

This understanding was arrived at, on Tuesday, 2nd January 2018 during a meeting between the management of Innoson Vehicles led by the Chairman, Dr Innocent Chukwuma OFR and the leadership of the Nigerian Army led by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai at the Army Headquarters, Abuja

Speaking during the meeting, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai congratulated Innoson Vehicles for giant strides it has recorded in the production of various brands of vehicles lately. He said that the essence of the meeting was to further formalize the business relationship between the Nigerian Army and Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Company.

The Chief of Army Staff recalled with delight that the Nigerian Army being patriotic and in a bid to encourage local entrepreneurs asked Innoson Vehicles to supply three vehicles early last year which were found to be durable and performing very well as they were employed in combat and proved to be useful, comfortable and convenient in military operations.

Based on that the Nigerian Army acquired over 70 more variants of the Innoson vehicles which were deployed in the North East for Operation LAFIYA DOLE. He further stated that the Nigerian Army desires to deepen its cooperation by partnering with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited to conceptualize, design, modify and produce military hardware’s.

The specific areas of partnership between the Nigerian Army and the company include; immediate supply of 100 vehicles, supply of appropriate gears, engines and chassis required for immediate modifications and repairs of armoured fighting vehicles in the North East Theatre of Operations. Identifying requirements for production of armoured fighting vehicle in Nigerian Army Central Workshop in Kaduna and enhancing capacity of Nigerian Army personnel to actively participate on the successful implementation of these joint ventures.

In his remarks, Dr Chukwuma expressed happiness that the Nigerian Army has found his vehicles working perfectly and commended the Chief of Army Staff for his great sense of patriotism. He promised to assist the Nigerian Army in its quest for better vehicles for its troops and resuscitation of its Special Vehicle Plant and Workshops.

Dr Chukwuma further thanked the Chief of Army Staff for the commendation, maintaining that his company would continue to improve and expand its capacity in vehicle manufacturing. He further appreciated the Nigerian Army for the patronage, describing the critical role the Nigerian Army is playing in national development through the fight against insurgency in the North East and Nigeria in general.

If Nigeria is bank on experience on how to stay true dreams, the best candidate is Dr Chukwuma, haven grown throw thick and thin to become a pioneer Automobile entrepreneur in Nigeria,

In retrospect, 1978, Innoson founder Dr. Chukwuma discovered his natural talent as an entrepreneur in his elder brother’s pharmacy (Chemist) after his Secondary School Education.

He later became an apprentice with Chief Romanus Eze Onwuka, (Rojenny), then the biggest dealer on motorcycle spare-parts in the Nnewi Market.

In 1979, after 6 months of apprenticeship with Rojenny, he returned to his elder brother, Chief Gabriel Chukwuma who promptly registered Gabros International Limited to trade on motorcycle spare-parts. He was given the sum of N3,000 to start, and allowed the freedom to run the business.

In 1981, he launched out independently backed with the startup capital of N20,000 from his elder brother to start his own motorcycle spare-parts business.

In 1982, Innoson Nigeria Limited was incorporated to merely sell Tyres and Motorcycle spare-parts at Nkwo Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria.

In 1984, ventured out to Asia in search of foreign suppliers when unfavourable economic policies from the Nigerian military hindered local suppliers from meeting the growing market demands.

In 1987, to beat the price of Japanese motorcycles, Innoson Nigeria Limited brought in the first Jingcheng brand of motorcycles from China. Jingcheng is the direct equivalent of Suzuki from Japan and Jiachi, Chinese equivalent of Yamaha from Japan.

In 1995, a fully automated motorcycle assembly plant was established at Nnewi, Anambra State, becoming the first fully indigenous motorcycle maker in Nigeria.

In 2002, he launched Innoson Technical and Industrial Limited, the biggest Plastic manufacturing plant in Nigeria with over 150 product lines.

In 2002, the Innoson group brought down the price of a brand new motorcycle from N150,000 to N60,000, and drove out Tokunbo (foreign-used) motorcycles from Nigeria.

In February 2009, the first made-in-Nigeria vehicle emerged! Under another subsidiary, Innoson Vehicle manufacturing Company Ltd. (IVM) the dream became a reality at Nnewi

Once upon a time, owning a brand new motorcycle used to be a pipe dream to many Nigerians, until Innoson Nigeria Limited made it possible.