Onyema, Murray-Bruce seek Support For Investments in Nigeria As Innoson Bags Silverbird Award

Photo Caption: Innoson GM Sales & Marketing,  Obum Osigwe, speaking after receiving the Silverbird  Manufacturer of the Year award on behalf of Chief Innocent Chukwuma, CON

Key players in the nation’s business circle, including Senator Ben Murray-Bruce and Chief Allen Onyema, have called on Nigerians to support local investments to boost the country’s economy.

The calls were made on Sunday when Chief Innocent Chukwuma, CON, Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd (IVM), Nnewi, received the Manufacturer of the Year prize at Silverbird Man of the Year Awards 2023 held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos.

In his goodwill message, Chairman of Air Peace, Dr Allen Onyema, charged Nigerians to support local businesses to boost the country’s economy.

He stressed the importance of patronising and supporting local businesses as a means of accelerating the economic development of the country.

He said Nigerians have to ‘support their own to thrive instead of engaging in activities that frustrate such businesses.


In the same vein, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, CEO, Silverbird Group, called on Nigerians to support Innoson and other investments in Nigeria as the country cannot develop its economy sustainably without patronising and growing local businesses.

The Silverbird Manufacturer of the Year award to  Dr Chukwuma on Sunday came about two weeks after The Sun Awards highest honour of Man of the Year was bestowed on him for his feat of being the first automaker in Nigeria to commence the manufacture a range of vehicles that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

The organisers of the two separate awards ceremonies  – The Sun Publishing Ltd and Silverbird Group  –  said they took into consideration the fact that Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Ltd, commenced the manufacture of sundry CNG-powered buses and other vehicles two years ahead of the removal of fuel subsidy by the government on May 29, 2023.

Both The Sun and Silverbird noted that the foresight as well as the ability to assess and take risks exhibited by the IVM management in venturing into the production of CNG vehicles, was commendable.

The Silverbird Manufacturer of the Year award was presented to the General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Nnewi, Mr. Obum Osigwe, who represented Chief Chukwuma at the colourful ceremony held in Lagos.

With Osigwe at the event were other Innoson managers, including  Charles Chukwuma,  Ben Okoye, Francis Nwose, Joseph Okeke, and Onyinye Okeke..

Speaking after receiving the award, Osigwe said the honour would encourage the first indigenous automaker to engage a higher gear in it’s commitment to manufacturing top-quality vehicles as needed by the Nigerian market.

The Innoson Sales and Marketing frontman further remarked, “On behalf of my boss and Chairman,  Chief Dr Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma CON, I wholeheartedly accept this prestigious award of the Manufacturer of the Year.. We are grateful for this honour and we would keep doing our best for our dear nation Nigeria.

“I would like to thank the Chairman, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, the management and staff of the Silverbird Group for this honour.  This award will spur us more at Innoson Vehicles to do more and increase our effort in make vehicles Nigeria and the world will be proud of.

“Thank you for shedding light on the activities of manufacturers in Nigeria. We are immensely grateful because without you, Nigerians won’t know our toils and travails in the manufacturing sector. Thank you so much and God bless our nation Nigeria.”

Chukwuma started the production of CNG vehicles about two years before subsidy on fuel was removed and CNG became the preferred and popular alternative to petrol and diesel,

As at May 29, 2023 when the Federal Government declared that subsidy had gone, Innoson had about 100 units of sundry CNG vehicles at its premises in Nnewi, Anambra State in addition to those already delivered to customers in some parts of the country.

Moreover, Innoson demonstrated long ago that it has the capacity and facility to convert vehicles currently running on petrol and diesel to CNG, even though the service is restricted to IVM customers.

The automaker has embarked on the construction of a much bigger multi-billion naira IVM plant annex covering about 300 plots of land is being constructed in Nnewi, and is likely to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2024 to concentrate on manufacturing autogas vehicles.

Guests at the Silverbird event on Sunday were informed via a video presentation that with just a startup capital of N20,000, a young Innocent Chukwuma started his own business.

“What began with motorcycle spare parts retailing has four decades later grown into the leading proponent of made-in-Nigeria products and one of its biggest industrial success stories

“With just a startup capital of N20,000, a young Innocent Chukwuma started his own business.

“What began with motorcycle spare parts retailing has four decades later grown into the leading proponent of made-in-Nigeria products and one of its biggest industrial success stories.

“1995, Innoson Nigeria established a fully automated motorcycle assembly plant in Anambra State, becoming the first fully indigenous motorcycle maker in Nigeria.

In the same year, the group launched Innoson Technical and Industrial Limited, the biggest Plastic manufacturing plant in Nigeria with over 150 product lines.

in 2007 , Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing was birthed out of a desire to produce affordable, reliable, and durable vehicles that can compete with international car brands.

“Over the years, IVM Innoson has become a household name in Nigeria’s automobile industry, producing a range of innovative and robust vehicles that cater to the needs of the masses..

“Innoson stands apart from other car manufacturers because of its focus on local content development. The company has invested heavily in research and development to design and manufacture vehicles that are tailored to Nigeria’s terrain, climate, and culture.

“Currently, Innoson employs over 7,000 people, most of them Nigerian youths, thereby providing jobs and income opportunities for the masses.

Innoson’s success has not gone unnoticed.

“He was made honorary Life Vice president of the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture on 23rd of November, 2013. Innocent is also a grand fellow of Nigerian Institute of Strategic Management.

“He currently sits on the board of IVM Innoson Group of Companies and is a member of the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria. He also serves as a Chancellor at Imo State University, Owerri.

Innocent Chukwuma who incidentally holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nigeria, has won many awards including: Auto Personality of the Year, Most Innovative Entrepreneur

Professor Barth Nnaji Prize for Technology at Igbo Awards, amongst many others.

“For his years of excellent service to the nation, he was also conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.”

One of the high points of the Silverbird Awards was the display of two outstanding Innoson vehicles at the entrance to the venue: IVM Caris sedan, and IVM De Imperial pick-up.

De Imperial pick-up is one of the newest additions to the fast-growing Innoson Vehicle line-up.