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

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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 of a range of vehicles that run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Chief Innocent Chukwuma, CON, has again earned another top award.

This time, the founder and Chairman of Innoson Group of Companies, owners 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, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday.

The organisers of both awards – The Sun Publishing Ltd and the 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 government on May 29, 2023.

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 Dr. Chukwuma at the colourful ceremony held in Lagos on Sunday, March 3, 2024.

Speaking after receiving the award, Osigwe assured that the award would encourage Innoson to intensify it’s efforts towards manufacturing sundry top quality vehicles as needed by the auto market in Nigeria.

The Innoson GM said, “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 of Silverbird Group, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, the management and staff of the Silverbird Group for this honour. This award will spur us 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.”

The Innoson team to the Silverbird Award included Charles Chukwuma, Ben Okoye, Francis Nwose, Joseph Okeke, and a Sales Representative, Onyinye Okeke.

It has been reported that Dr. 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.

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.

According to a Press Statement, currently, Innoson employs over 7,000 people, most of them Nigerian youths, thereby providing jobs and income opportunities for the masses.

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 Manufacturer Association of Nigeria. He also serves as a Chancellor at Imo State University, Owerri.

Innocent Chukwuma who incidentally holds a 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.

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.