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  Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma is a highly successful Nigerian businessman and industrialist. He is the founder and CEO of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Nigeria’s first-ever indigenous automobile company. Born on October 1, 1961, Chief Chukwuma grew up in a family of six children in southeastern Nigeria. He is the youngest of the six siblings. After completing his education, the young Innocent Chukwuma got his start in 1981 by trading in automobile spare parts. The spare parts business was very profitable in that region of Nigeria. His entrepreneurial journey grew from these modest beginnings.
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Establishing Innoson Group

With the proceeds from his spare parts trading, Chief Chukwuma established the Innoson Group in the early 1980s. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing and Innoson Tech & Industries Co. Ltd. are the main subsidiaries under the Innoson Group umbrella. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing is the first Nigerian company to actually manufacture and assemble motor vehicles domestically. Their product lineup includes buses, trucks, luxury sedans and SUVs made in Nigeria for the Nigerian market. This pioneering achievement made Chief Chukwuma a trailblazer in Nigeria’s industrial sector. Innoson’s vehicles provided an affordable alternative to the imported used vehicles commonly found in Nigeria. The vehicles produced at Innoson’s factory adhere to global quality and emissions standards. However, they can be sold at lower prices since there are no import fees or tariffs for domestically-made automobiles.
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Political Involvement

Beyond his business ventures, Chief Innocent Chukwuma has also been involved in Nigerian politics and advocacy over the years. In 2013, he took on a leadership role with the National Coalition for Jonathan/Sambo Presidency. This group aimed to promote and support the re-election of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Chukwuma served as the deputy chairman of the board of trustees for the coalition during that presidential campaign season.

Awards and Honours

In recognition of his impactful work as an industrialist and entrepreneur, Chief Chukwuma has received numerous prestigious awards and honours over his career, including:
  • Honourary Life Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA)
  • Most Outstanding Indigenous Entrepreneur in the Manufacturing Sector, awarded by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce
  • Recipient of the Nigerian national honour Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)
Most recently, in October 2022, Chief Innocent Chukwuma received the high honour of being named a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by President Muhammadu Buhari. This is one of Nigeria’s highest national honours.
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Final Thoughts

Through his leadership of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Chief Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma has made history as the pioneer of Nigeria’s domestic automobile production industry. His entrepreneurial vision created an affordable automotive option for Nigerian consumers and new job opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Chief Chukwuma’s hard work, business acumen and patriotic spirit over the past four decades have been invaluable to Nigeria’s economic and industrial development. He is an inspiration for aspiring Nigerian entrepreneurs and manufacturers.
Featured Image Source: The News Nigeria
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This article was first published on 18th May 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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