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Stats: 1063382 members, 1237103 topics. Date: Saturday, 25 May 2013 at 10:27 AM
|What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by Hillso: 11:35am On Oct 15, 2009|
I like asking questions. And I don’t know why. But I seem to think that it has got to do with my quest to understand. I reckon it has been said that he who ask questions rarely misses his way. I sure agree with that in the same way I have come to read Bernard Lonergan and his treatise in epistemology. He creates the levels of knowledge to indicate that there are questions for understanding and questions for knowledge. In this regard, I am asking the question for understanding and I believe somebody somewhere has the capacity to make me understand.
I was thinking of what next to write about when my thoughts feel on Z600. I did not immediately recall exactly when that identity hit the national scene but I recall it was associated with an Igboman, Ezekiel Izuogu of Izuogu Motors Limited. I recall also that the hype then was that an Igbo man had built Nigeria’s first car using bare hands. I mean, without any robots or superior technology and a fantastic workshop like you would find at any of the auto makers shop out there in USA, Europe or Asia. The thought of Z600 kept hitting me like it was my invention. That forced me to do a little internet search on that brand of car which never saw the light of day.
My internet search led me to a page on Wikipedia, an internet encyclopedia of knowledge. What it told me about the Z600 was at first encouraging, and latter, disturbing.
The Wikipedia said this of Z600: “The Z-600 prototype was the first indigenous Nigerian car. It is also the first automobile of indigenous all-African technology. It was the brainchild of Engineer Ezekiel Izuogu. Launched in 1997, it caused a stir in the hearts of many Nigerians who hope for a personal car and stimulated the Nigerian media. The car was touted by the then Nigerian chief of Staff, General Oladipo Diya.”
Describing its design and specification, the Wikipedia said: “The prototype was equipped with a self made 1.8L four cylinder engine that got 18mpg and allowed the car to achieve a top speed of 140 km/h (86 mph). Front Wheel Drive (FWD) was chosen over Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) because a transmission tunnel would be more expensive to fabricate. FWD avoided this. 90 percent of the car's components were made locally. The design of the car was very utilitarian resembling a Renault 4 with its upright stance and a front end that resembles the locally assembled Peugeot 504.
“To be priced at $2000 it would have been the cheapest car in the world. Clever features like a door bell used in place of a horn ensure it achieves its low price target. Mass production was planned under Izuogu motors located in Naze, Imo state, but too many hurdles mainly financial and political prevented the car from going past the prototype stage.”
I have highlighted two issues that caught my fancy as I perused the Wikipedia. Information that 90 percent of the car’s components were made locally and that both financial and political hurdles prevented the car from going beyond the prototype stage, got me worried.
I also learnt from Wikipedia that the South African government in 2005 invited Izuogu to deliver a lecture on African technology at which they sold the idea of moving over to SA and manufacturing the car from there as a made in South Africa car. Izuogu refused the offer. I am just imagining what would have become of the car had he agreed to dump Nigeria in 2005 for SA.
My curiosity however is that Nigeria ranks among world biggest consumers of auto. We have some form of mad rush for the latest designs and models, yet, an idea, which has been said to be what rules the world, sprung up in Nigeria, was nurtured in Nigeria and latter killed in Nigeria by Nigeria.
By killing Izuogu’s idea, we gave visa to Asians, Americans and Europeans to flood our markets with their own cars. As we do that, we also forget that these cars we rush to patronize and enjoy actually started off as ideas espoused by an individual. Let’s not talk of the capital flight involved. In India for instance, Tata brand of cars started off as a family business. It was the brainchild of Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata who died in 1993. He started off as an engineering and locomotive company. Today, Tata Motors has consolidated revenue of $16 billion after the acquisition of British automotive brands Jaguar and LandRover in 2008.
But what makes me feel like hating Nigeria is that the Wikipedia records that ‘financial’ and ‘political’ issues killed Z600. I am amassed because the amount of money stolen from public coffers since 1997 alone, would have handed Nigeria, and indeed Africa, a world class motor company with all the necessary robots and manpower to make it competitive. On the ‘political’ dimension, I can only summarize that the idea was killed simply because Izuogu is an Igbo name. I have a feeling that Z600 would have been a national pride if the name behind it derived from the caliphate. I strongly challenge Nigeria to prove me wrong on this.
Today, Nigeria is all hallow to Jelani Aliu, Sokoto state born guy for designing the Cherry Volt for General Motors in the US. Remember, he only designed it with the aid of modern technology and everything he needed to work with. But Izuogu not only designed but also assembled raw materials, built from scratch and test drove the Z600 with bare hands. I am not sure Izuogu and those who worked with him on the Z600 had all the robots and additives that Aliu is exposed to at GM.
Beyond Izuogu’s Z600, Nigeria also has, in the same GM motors family, another Nigerian of Akwa Ibom state, Dr. Patrick Usoro, described as a prolific inventor, an expert in mechanical and powertrain systems at GM. He holds more than 160 U.S. patents and has published more than 50 technical papers and reports. Many of his innovations have been implemented on GM products and have earned him the GM R& Master Inventor Platinum Award, Campbell Award for Outstanding Contributions to Science and McCuen Special Achievement Awards for Extraordinary Technical Accomplishments. In 1996 he was recognized as the U.S. Black Engineer of the Year for outstanding technical contributions. Yet, he remains unsung by Nigeria. Does it stop him from being who he is?
Still pained that Z600 was killed for ‘financial’ and ‘political’ reasons, I feel something of mental recolonization whenever I see the sort of glory the Nigeria government is giving to Chery Volt made by GM in the USA. In fact, we can argue that what we are doing with that re-branding advert on television (sorry, I keep referring to rebranding) is glorifying American products as ours. Those at GM, whose task it is to market the Cherry Volt to Nigeria, would only but be all thanks to Dora Akunyili and her campaigners for giving them primetime mention on national television for dash.
Akunyili keeps advertising an American car for free on NTA sustained with tax payers’ money. Yet, the same government would see ingenious local efforts at technological advancement to the cemetery and ensure that the grave is laced with sulphuric acid such that nothing of it resurfaces.
While I weep for Nigeria over the Z600, I remember that thousands of Nigerian youths, especially from our numerous universities of technology, had made innovative discoveries during their time in school. Some of them had inventions that earned them first class degrees or doctorates. Those inventions end as matters of academic pursuit. These young men graduate to join the army of job seekers or swell the rank of kidnappers, hijackers, advance fee fraudsters or even seek to create their own bank of crooks and criminals. Yet, we go to China to hire scientists to host a satellite for us. We run to Asia, America and Europe to import cars. Shame. I am sure some of the factories that produce the cars we gladly showcase on our roads started about the same time Z600 was premiered.
Culled from achilleusuchegbu.blogspot.com
Written by OMENUKO
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by MrCrackles(m): 12:08pm On Oct 15, 2009|
Ask Izuogu himself. . .
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by PAD: 3:31am On Dec 31, 2009|
It is indeed disheartening what is being done to Africa by the help of Africans. Tribalism is destroying Africa. Unless we get a handle on it, Africa will be recolonized. What do we do?
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by aieromon(m): 11:44am On Jan 01, 2010|
His brilliant idea is being showcased in the Museum Of Brilliant but Unimportant Treasures where mine used to be.I collected mine and sold to China so he berra do the same
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by pleep(m): 4:54pm On Jul 08, 2011|
Nland is filled to the brim with fools.
This is probably one of the most important topics on here and all we have are 3 idiotic responses.
The story of the z600 makes me want to weep.
Now Tata moters has created the cheapest car for 2000$
who knows if they copied izeogu designs.
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by lagerwhenindoubt(m): 9:21pm On Jul 08, 2011|
Sad but true, unfortunately there is strength in numbers and Nigeria has well over 140 million retard5 who sit by and watch 79% of the nation's budget get spent on re-current expenditure leaving very little that will still be frittered away in failed white elephant projects and flying satellites to space to show how pictures they would never put to good use anywayz. History will accuse us every decade, 50 yrs on and we have turned from Oil-Producing to Fuel-Importing, Agro-based to Crayfish-importing
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by mbatuku1: 10:01pm On Sep 04, 2011|
I have a strong feeling that Izuogu wasn't too committed to this project.
What stopped him from building new molds after the original ones were stolen?
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by pleep(m): 10:32pm On Sep 04, 2011|
^ Oh so its his fault right? despite spending 16 yrs making plans he "wasn't very commited".
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by Abgovernor: 6:46am On Sep 05, 2011|
It is a pity that an invention that would have place nigeria as a car manufacturer was allowed to go extint. I know that millions of inventions have been developed but due to tribalism,politics and finance sprung up and terminated those ideas. Most technological advanced nations are were they are today because of peoples creativity and ingenuity that applauded govt support. In nigeria reverse is always the case,no support. Where is this nation heading to? Izuogu would have sold that z600 to SA. What has he gain so far? Nigerians abroad are doing marvelous well because the support they received from the host nation. Our politicians are here busy looting public fund that is mearnt to develop this nation. May God help us.
|Re: What Happened To Izuogu’s Z-600 Nigeria Made Car? by xerxes456(m): 11:55am On Dec 18, 2012|
Nigeria is a consumer based country, we do not produce n can not even produce cause we are more of administration a bad one at that, producers r nt selfish n greedy they try to meet the need of the society n make life better, we lack these qualities as such we dnt encourage it...
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