Earlier today, Nigerians went wild on Twitter after discovering that Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State allegedly overlooked Innoson Vehicles to patronise America’s Ford Motor Company.
The Issue at Hand: Apparently, the Imo State Governor purchased hundreds of trucks and donated them for official use in the state. However, the fact that none of the trucks was purchased from Nnewi-based Innoson Vehicles sparked outrage.
For this reason, the Governor was dragged across social media and called “unpatriotic”. Some people even pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari recently patronised Innoson Vehicles. Why then didn’t Governor Ihedioha do the same?
The Government’s Response: Following the Twitter outrage, The Imo State Government issued a brief statement explaining that the trucks were not purchased directly from Ford Motor Company. Instead, the purchased vehicles were assembled in Nigeria by Cocharis Motors Assembly Limitedwhich is owned by another Igbo businessman Cosmos Maduka. It should be noted that Cocharis Motors Assembly Limited is in partnership with the American automaker to assemble Ford vehicles in Nigeria.
The Role of competition: Based on the foregoing, two things become clear about this entire situation. The Imo State Governor did not exactly overlook made-in-Nigeria products to purchase their foreign counterparts. Instead, competition played a major role in influencing the Imo State Governor’s preference. After all, Innoson Vehicles is not the only auto assembler operating in the country.
Innoson has to do more: The company has been called upon to endear its products to average Nigerians through better marketing/advertising. More so, the company was advised to make its vehicles durable and affordable.
In the meantime, Nigerians have also called on the Nigerian politicians to lead by example by patronising made-in-Nigeria products, as well as work towards implementing favourable policies that will enable local businesses to thrive.