A former presidential aspirant under the All Progressives Congress, APC platform, SKC Ogbonnia, has in a recent statement he solely signed condemned Nigerian leaders over patronage of foreign-made products while the same could be purchased locally.
The APC chieftain noted that the dream of Nigerian citizens that its leaders will adjust in the display of their leadership towards harnessing the full potential of the local economy may not come to fulfillment if President Muhammadu Buhari who is supposed to lead by example is not doing so.
He challenged the president to do away with his official car which was made by foreign companies to patronize the Nigerian local motor brand, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, IVM.
SKC alleged that the president including other leaders in the country are not been patriotic enough, adding that their negligence on patronising locally made products is not helping the growth of the Nigerian companies.
He statement reads: “The consensus around the world is that the lessons from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) would provoke commonsense among Nigerian leaders to harness the full potential of their local economy, but this dream may never come close, if President Muhammadu Buhari does not lead by example.”
Speaking about the made-in-Nigeria policy recently introduced by the federal government, the APC chieftain applauds the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, noting that the country has aligned itself with the likes of Asia and China whose economy is now better than the former following the adoption of the same policy.
He said, “It is not surprising, therefore, that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari demonstrated visionary leadership by declaring that Nigeria will henceforth promote and patronize made-in-Nigeria products over foreign goods. Buhari’s vision is laudable and mirrors the case of Asian countries, particularly China and India, which for several decades banned a good number of foreign products to enable their local industries to thrive. Today, both Asian nations have become economic envy of the world.
SKC, however, regretted the fact that the same government that charged its citizens to patronize home-made-products can shun the same policy and opt for foreign-made products.
“Interestingly, not long after the made-in-Nigeria policy went public, instead of patronizing Innoson Motors, the sole local auto manufacturing outfit, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) hurriedly approved a whopping sum of N683, 613 million for purchase of 19 Made-In-Japan Toyota vehicles for the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA),” SKC noted.
He added, “According to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the justification for the abrupt breach of the policy is that the need for the foreign vehicles predated the COVID-19 pandemic. As if her logic lacks in folly, the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, followed that the approval became necessary, because “it’s the first time in four years that NPA was buying any vehicle.
“The simple takeaway from both Ahmed and Amaechi is that Nigerian leaders embrace lunacy as legacy. This goes without saying that the rationale behind the choice of the foreign vehicles over local brands has nothing to do with the common good. Instead, it has everything to do with the manic competition for financial profligacy among the different arms of the Nigerian government.
“This pattern of lavishness by public officials, particularly under the prevailing COVID-19 crisis, is plain cold-blooded. It is impunity going too far.
He pointed out that though the President’s move on the local product policy was commendable, he has, however, failed in practising the same nor was able to influence other leaders in his administration on the same noted.
He said, “But President Muhammadu Buhari must own full blame. Though his call to patronize local products is commendable, he is neither able to influence his appointees to implement the policy nor able to lead by example himself. Rather than demonstrate patriotism, by proudly using the Made-in-Nigeria goods that he preaches, Buhari appears to be emulating the ostentatious style of the regime before him.
“Mister Buhari should quickly revert to the tenets of his 2016 “Change Begins With Me” slogan. The core principle demands that he declares Innoson as the official brand for all government agencies, beginning with the Presidency. If a General Buhari, as a military head of state, could endear himself to the Nigerian people over 30 years ago, by embracing jagged foreign Peugeot—then assembled in Nigeria—as a badge of honor, it is only patriotic for him to replicate such gesture for wholly made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
“It is worth mentioning, however, that the Innoson Motors is on record to have stated that the company has seen more patronage from the Buhari government than the one before it. That is commendable, at base. But the mediocrity of the previous regime can never be substituted as a gold standard for success.
“President Buhari is a man widely known as ascetic and who assumed power on the mantra of revolutionary change. He should, therefore, embolden his change vision, as well as the authenticity of his policy on local goods, so that others can follow. The message, if it is not already explicit, is that the Nigerian president should, without further delay, replace his official car, a German-made Mercedes Benz, with a Nigerian-made Innoson brand.”
Meanwhile, Naija News reported a while ago that the United Kingdom has rolled out a new policy to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic among its citizens.