By Bennett Oghifo
The Honorary Degree of Industrial Engineering the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) recently conferred on the Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Innoson Group, Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma is a welcome development, an ally has said.
The commendation came from a Lagos-based legal luminary, Chukwuemeka Daniel Okonkwo, who described as huge Dr. Chukwuma’s contribution to the development of the socio-economic and educational sectors of the Nigerian economy.
He said the Innoson Motors chairman was an exemplary Nigerian businessman who has impacted Nigerians, particularly the youths with his ingenuity, adding that such recognition was in order.
As part of activities marking its 14th Convocation ceremony, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, conferred the Chairman of Nnewi-based indigenous auto giant, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM), Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, with the prestigious degree of Doctor of Industrial Engineering (Honoris Causa).
A letter addressed to Dr. Chukwuma and personally signed by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, conveying the decision of the Senate and Council of the University, to honour the automaker read in part “the decision of the council and senate was predicated on your enviable track record in the manufacturing sector of Nigerian economy.”
He noted that while Dr. Chukwuma waited for admission into the university to study Engineering, he “fortuitously found yourself in the trading business for which you seemed to have flair, but the urge for engineering production never died in you.” Adding that such innate business acumen led to the founding of Innoson Nigeria Limited which gave birth to other subsidiaries including the number one auto manufacturing firm, Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM), Innoson Technical and Industrial Limited (one of the biggest players in Nigeria’s plastic manufacturing business with over 150 product lines) Innoson Tyres and Tubes, Innoson.
An elated Innoson Chairman who was ably supported by his wife, Mrs. Chukwuma, while expressing his delight at the award expressed his readiness to partner with the institution in the development of its engineering department to attain its Vision 200 aimed at becoming one of the top 200 universities in the world.
This honour brings to about seven Doctorate Degrees conferred by institutions of higher learning in Nigeria in addition to Chancellor of Imo State University. Dr. Chukwuma is a holder of Honorary Doctorate Degrees of Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna (Management Science), Enugu State University of Science and Technology (Business Administration), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Business Administration), Bells University of Technology, Ota Ogun State (Technology) and Wellspring University, Edo State (Management Sciences).
It is not surprising that Dr. Chukwuma has continued to demonstrate his love and support for education of Nigerian youths as well as creation of elusive employment for thousands of Nigerian youths while empowering others to be self-reliant through various initiatives by Innoson Group. It will be recalled that Innoson Group single handedly built and donated a building housing the Department of Business Management at the Enugu campus of University of Nigeria. He is currently building a tractor manufacturing plant at Lions Science Park of Nsukka main campus of the university. Known as the Lion IVM 20HP Agricultural Tractors, the multifunctional tractor will be produced by Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing (IVM).
On hand to witness the conferment of the award on him were President Muhammadu Buhari, Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, Chancellor of the University and Gbong Gwon of Jos, His Majesty Dr. Da Jacob Gyang Buba, Acting Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Alhaji Isa Modibbo, the VC Prof Esimone, Royal Fathers and many other dignitaries.
From a humble beginning in 1981 when he set up Innoson Nigeria Limited to trade on motorcycle spares, Dr. Chukwuma has distinguished himself by making a formidable footprints in by transforming from trading to renowned manufacturer and employer of international repute. His unique businesses acumen, wizardry and can-do spirit have combined to give birth to other thriving subsidiaries in the field motorcycle and spare parts manufacturer, household and industrial plastic making with over 150 product line and auto manufacturing, health and safety accessories, tyres and tubes, communication equipment and accessories and auto manufacture. He is reputed to be the only local auto maker in Nigeria specializing in manufacture of
High capacity City Bus, safe and cost-effective Mini and Midi buses, Pick-Up trucks and garbage collecting vehicles.
Innoson is also into wood processing for local consumption and exports; exploration and distribution of hydrocarbon energy, products and services.
There is no doubt that Dr. Chukwuma has contributed immensely to industrial and technological advancement of the country as well as advancing the quality of education and creation of employment opportunities and development of various communities in Nigeria which have earned him recognition and celebration from different spheres of life.