“When you see me in Innoson vehicles or in my Akwete dress with a pair of shoes made in Ogbunike/Nkwelle Ezunaka and Onitsha, we are making a statement.”
The Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, in fulfillment of a promise he made, has unveiled Innoson vehicle as his official car.
Mr Soludo had said, before his inauguration, that as part of his administration’s strategy to promote local brands, he would only use Innoson vehicles manufactured in Anambra State, as the official government vehicles.
Shortly before his inauguration, Mr Soludo made his entry into the Government House, Awka, with a black Innoson SUV.
Mr Soludo later said in his inaugural address that he wanted to make a statement with Innoson vehicles and his patronage of other local goods.
“When you see me in Innoson vehicles or in my Akwete dress with a pair of shoes made in Ogbunike/Nkwelle Ezunaka and Onitsha, we are making a statement,” he said
He said he would open up the local economy by bringing the world to Anambra and also taking Anambra to the world.
He said the light refreshment to be served after his inauguration would be abacha from Umunze, ukwa from Isuofia, Anambra rice with ofe akwu, nkwu enu from Awgbu, ngwo from Awa and Oba, and malt and bottled water from Onitsha.
“As part of our “made in Anambra”, cultural renaissance and healthy living agenda, when you come to the Governor’s Lodge or attend any state government’s function, be sure to be served only “Made in Anambra”.
“If you can produce it in Anambra, I will be your chief marketing officer, provided that your standard meets the “Anambra standard”—which is excellence. The Anambra State Government will only patronize Made in Anambra products and services unless such goods or services are not currently made in Anambra, then made in Nigeria, Africa, etc, in that sequence,” Mr Soludo said.
Innoson vehicles: Rejected by NASS, embraced by Soludo
Meanwhile, the governor’s love and support for made-in-Nigeria products sharply contrasts with the National Assembly’s attitude on such an issue.
The House of Representatives, in February 2020, rejected Innoson vehicles and instead expressed their preference for imported vehicles.
The federal lawmakers went for Toyota Camry 2020 model as their official cars.
Nigerians laud Soludo
Nigerians have applauded Mr Soludo’s preference for locally-made goods, stressing that gains of such a policy would be enormous.
A senior lecturer at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Ike Ndolo described Mr Soludo’s policy as a “master stroke.”
Mr Ndolo told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor’s insistence on the local delicacies would promote Nigeria’s cultural values and heritage.
“I think this is Godsend. That is, for him to say that everything he’s going to use – his clothing, vehicles. I mean, this is progressive,” he said.
Mr Ndolo, a professor of mass communication, said the time had come when Africans should define who they are and not rely on the definition given by foreigners.
“I give him a thumbs up for that. You know, promoting our indigenous products, like I said, is a masterstroke. The Nnewi axis, will now be opened, will improve.
“This is instructive to every other governor in the South-east and aspiring politicians and youths coming up. This is very apt at this moment when we are almost losing everything. I am so proud of him,” Mr Ndolo said of the governor.
For Albert Oguegbe, a medical doctor in Delta State, the governor’s initiative will make a bold statement to the rest of the world and showcase Africans’ giant strides in the manufacturing industry.
Mr Oguegbe said the initiative is also capable of reducing the cost of procuring foreign-made products.
“If anything is damaged in the vehicle, it will be easier to take it to the company for repairs to be carried out by the original manufacturers,” he said.
A spokesperson for Innoson group, Chinazom Amadi, said the initiative would boost Nigerian economy, saying those funds earmarked for procurement of foreign products could help to stabilise Nigeria’s manufacturing industry when adequately patronised.
“Those working in Innoson Manufacturing Company are Nigerians. If the company fails to grow, many Nigerians will lose their jobs,” Mr Amadi said.