EFULA ABBA (Motoring World’s General Editor)
Inquisitivity, it is said, kills the cat; and yet asking bares no grudge, because it enlightens and broadens knowledge. There are reasons to begin to ask questions now concerning the August visit of the Association of Africa Automotive Manufacturers, AAAM, to the country recently.
From the planning of the visit, the arrival and the reception; the meetings, the participation, the presentation and the agreements reached, stakeholders of the Nigeria Auto Industry seem to be indubitably absent and one is concerned to know if their absence was deliberate or if there was some kind of premeditation to exclude the Nigerian Auto manufacturers (or assemblers), in a matter that is paramount to their existence.
When Motoring World International learnt about the August visit, it dropped in the mind of the editors to seek clarifications from some close relationships in the Industry, as to why there was not at least a Press Release to that effect. Surprisingly, most of those communicated with were even more astonished to know where the information came from, suggesting they had no idea about the visit, let alone the rationale behind it.
But, even though they showed optimism that the visit was very useful at the time, the tone in their voices was that of rejection and denial, which makes one to wonder what exactly, is happening? Because, ordinarily the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association, NAMA as the umbrella body of all auto manufacturers in the country, should have been well represented at what ever meeting that borders on the auto industry in the country, no matter who is organizing it; and the visit of the AAAM was no doubt a participation environment for NAMA, if not as sub-host to the National Automotive Design and development Council (NADDC) the apex body, serving as government’s monitors of the auto industry.
Therefore, if NAMA members had exuded ignorance about Mr. Jeff and his team’s visit and yet not in the fulcrum of the meeting with Mr. President, then something is certainly not right from somewhere and no doubt a lapse by the organizers.
Even if the AAAM had stormed into the country without pre-information, the first thing to have been done was to contact Nigerian stakeholders, via the leadership of NAMA, which then should have informed all members of the Association, at least for the sake of awareness. That is, if there is nothing fishy going on.
Insinuations had been making the rounds from many quarters how some influential people in the country are fighting tooth and nail to jeopardise the sincerity in the effort of the President Buhari government concerning the implementation of the auto policy. And it is somehow becoming clearer now that it goes beyond mere insinuations, but a reality that some people are not in support of developing the country.
But the big question is why on earth would any reasonable Nigerian or group have problems with such move to bring great development in the auto manufacturing industry, when they themselves and their families stand to benefit from the unquantifiable growth it will bring to Nigeria?
Auto manufacturing has remained a major mainstay of the economy of most industrialized nations of the world. And instead of relying on their outstanding exploits and achievements over the years; they are still exploring available means to expand.
Then what is the problem with these Nigerians? Big time vehicle importers in the country are only concerned about the profits they would lose; Customs executives want to die of hypertension, when they think about the amount of kick backs they are likely to lose; and the smugglers? Every one is thinking only about selfish gains and not concerned about the level of industrialization, massive employment opportunities and foreign exchange that local manufacturing of vehicles will bring to Nigeria. And this can only be possible if the auto policy is operational, because it will provide auto manufacturers with the dos and don’t to follow.
Suffice it to say that all those kicking against effective realization of the auto policy in Nigeria must be corrupt. And so government should as a matter of urgency annihilate them from the system, because they will continue to pose problems to the goodwill of both government and Nigeria.
The country deserves to move forward, as detrimental elements as such self-centered people do not warrant being in position. If they are not in position, they won’t be able to exercise threats against good policies that are meant to better the economy and in turn the lots of Nigerians.
And NAMA itself needs to stand up to its responsibility, do more to foster unity among its members and map out strategies to identify government functionaries , who are said to be putting spanners against industrializing Nigeria, especially auto manufacturing and petition them before President Buhari.
One finds it difficult to understand why top echelon of NAMA was not involved in the meeting, which has to do with the AAAM, the parent body of the Association in Africa.
In fact Mr. President should call the whoever was responsible for organizing the AAAM-President meeting to question. Why should the visit of AAAM be made top secret and announced only via @aso rock twitter? Why were NAMA executives and their members excluded from the meeting with Buhari?
Somebody needs to start talking or else the presuming gang ups might kill all efforts by present administration to rebuild the auto industry as well as the economy.
NAMA, as the first constituency of the auto industry and the embattled auto policy should not keep quiet, but stand up on its feet to correlate effectively with Mr. President’s good gesture to sanitize the industry and provide an enabling environment for vehicle manufacturing operations.