[dropcap]F[/dropcap]idelis Anozike, controversial publisher of Daily Times Nigeria, is an auto lover. In a recent encounter with Motoring World’s editorial crew in Lagos Island, Nigeria, Mr. Anozike responded to questions ranging from why he bought Daily Times to his dream car and only car he would drive in outer space. The Daily Times Publisher also sends safety messages to young drivers. And more…
Motoring World: What does a car mean to you?
Mr. Anozike: A car means everything to me. It’s one of the few life impacting inventions of the world, because most of the day, you spend it inside the car. So the issue is: What car? Movement is something you have to do, from your house to your office and so forth. It is the comfort while you move that is the issue. Car is like a home. Compare how many hours you spend in your house with the number of houses you spend in a car, you’ll realise that car means everything?
Motoring World: Have you a dream car?
Anozike: I have dream cars
Motoring World: Which are they?
Anozike: I like Mercedes-Benz a lot. Jaguar is a great driving machine and the sports cars, the Ferraris, the Lamborghinis. But the point is that car is also about value. Car is one thing that holds value. If you pay for your car today, it’s in a car you experience value every other day. It’s something that helps your operations achieve its objectives.
Motoring World: What do you do in a car?
Anozike: You drive a car, when you want to get the feel of this great invention called car. You drive it. You relax in it. You think in it. These days, cars are becoming intelligent also, so you work in it. You do everything in a car.
Motoring World: What sort of music do you listen to in a car?
Anozike: I listen to Nigerian music and Jazz. I also listen to R&B. And while driving on a long distance, I play verities so as to take ones mind out of the journey.
Motoring World: Were you to travel to outer space with a choice of going with only one car, which car would you choose to go with?
Anozike: That’s a very tricky question. If I’m going to drive the car there, I’ll prefer BMW.
Motoring World: Why?
Anozike: Because BMW is the ultimate driving machine for a driver. BMW is built for the person driving it. You see, every car is built for a particular purpose. Some cars are built to be chauffeur-driven, which means the back part is more luxurious and more protected. But the “luxuriousness” of BMW is around the cabin, where the driver drives it.
Motoring World: All over the country now, this is a safety talk season. How would you advise young Nigerian drivers about safety and driving style?
Anozike: Safety is very key. They have to understand that a car is a machine. Machines don’t think. It’s the person behind the wheel, who controls the machine. So what I tell everybody is that safety is all, for you can’t use your money to buy problem for yourself. And also remember that the reason why you work is to be able to acquire value and value-able things. You can’t buy something that is supposed to be valuable and in just a second, allow your carelessness destroy it and then, in turn, destroy yourself. You must be safety conscious. Before you get behind the wheel, don’t drink. If you drink, ensure you are in other compartment of the car, where you don’t have to be in control, because you must be sane hundred per cent before you take control of an auto machine. Aside drinking, if you need to do text messaging or make call with your phone or engage in any form of distracting activity, let someone else drive you. You should know that there are other road users, many other vehicles on the road. You might easily cause chaos, by loosing focus. Driving is an activity that requires your 100% focus.
Motoring World: What do you do at pastimes?
Anozike: I play table tennis and I swim.
Motoring World: Why did you buy Daily Times?
Anozike: I bought Daily Times, because I wanted to rebuild it. I like rebuilding stuffs. I am an impact investor, that is I only investing in things that can have impact, over and above myself, on the society. And most of that kind of things is things that sometimes are not profit-driven. People are remembered for what they give, not what they take. I bought it, because I am in that field, first and foremost; I understand that business (publishing) and I saw it going down. And I understand Nigerians and things that might be difficult for people to handle. Anything that looks difficult in Nigeria, I believe I can solve it.
Motoring World: What’s your impression about the nation’s auto policy?
Anozike: One thing that Nigerians have to understand is that you don’t legislate growth. Nigeria is part of a global community. Automobile manufacturing is a highly capital intensive business. It requires high efficiency. It requires return on investment. And we are talking of millions of dollars investment. A government should always think about the need that its populace require acquiring those things at an affordable cost. The problem is not about policy forcing people to come and invest. Money follows, where it can get returns. So what the government must do is that for every policy it wants to embark upon, has to make sure it is founded on a sound monetary and fiscal policy. Once that is there, the investment will come, because you have what is called active demand. Once you have active demand, next is how good is the government to be able to be able o create the structures that will bring jobs, jobs, jobs and make those products in a cheaper way so that people can assimilate those products and in turn create the capital you need to push forward the economy. And when you push forward the economy, everybody is happy.