By James Emejo
The Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu has said going forward, the annual Argungu Festival will serve as an avenue to showcase the country’s locally manufactured and assembled vehicles.
The federal government said the festival would be more of an automobile rally going forward, which would be done predominantly by local assembly plants.
Aliyu, told THISDAY that the NADDC would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to develop the automotive industry in line with international best practice.
He said: “The Argungu Motor Rally is the premier motor sport in Nigeria, and this year it is being run with nothing but vehicles assembled in Nigeria.
“We are very excited about this because it is an invaluable opportunity for Nigerians to be shown the high quality, durability and ruggedness of these locally assembled vehicles.
“The very fact that we have these vehicles here and ready to race shows the immeasurable contribution that the local automotive assemblers have made, first by investing in Nigeria to produce them and secondly, by making them available to be in this historic race. We very much appreciate this commitment.”
He added: “We, the NADDC are proud to have reached this stage in local automotive assembly, we have gotten to this phase with the huge support of our parent Ministry, the Presidency and the National Assembly.
“This race will show that these vehicles are configured to be in tune with local Nigerian conditions so as to provide many years of hassle free service.”
However, Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, had said the festival was previously suspended due to insecurity challenges, adding that it is now, “back and better,” with the indigenous assembled motor rally which constitutes one of the 16 items of the celebration.
He added that the famous festival was rebranded and repackaged to meet global standards for general development of the state.