By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Anambra State Government has dismissed allegations that it dumped the first indigenous vehicle manufacturing company, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM), which incidentally is owned by an Anambra son, for Toyota Prado SUVs, as its choice of official vehicles for lawmakers in the state.
Reports in a section of the media had last week stated that lawmakers in the state assembly had rejected the governor's choice of 2019 Toyota Prado SUV as official vehicles for them, opting to be given locally manufactured SUVs made by IVM as a way of showing support to the company.
The state commissioner for information, Mr C Don Adinuba, in a press release made available to Fides in Awka, stated that the report was false and sponsored by an opposition political party to smear the image of the governor.
Adinuba said the Anambra State Government had continually patronized IVM, owned by Nnewi born businessman, Mr Innocent Chukwuma, and that its choice of Prado SUVs for the lawmakers was to be in tune with what lawmakers in other states were using.
Adinuba said, 'For purposes of historical accuracy, let it be stated in the public domain that it is the executive arm of the Anambra State Government which has been leading the campaign to make the Innoson SUV its official vehicle.
'In March, 2018, for example, following the second inauguration of the Obiano Administration, an order for a fleet of Innoson SUVs was placed with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) for Anambra State Executive Council members.
'The order, however, could not be met early enough, apparently on account of several orders from even outside the country. The government was consequently constrained to seek another brand. It settled five months later for Ford because a worthy son of Anambra State, Dr Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group, holds the Ford franchise in Nigeria.'
Adinuba further stated that as for Innoson Motors, both the management and staff acknowledged that the Anambra State Government was not only its best customer but also its greatest supporter.
'On Thursday, March 29, 2018, for instance, the state government handed over 40 Innoson pickups to the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security, Anambra Vigilante Group, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Navy and National Security and Civil Defence Corps to enhance their capabilities in making Anambra remain the safest state in Nigeria.
'In November, 2019, the state government will donate 60 Innoson SUVs to the security and intelligence agencies. It is a well acknowledged fact that not only does Gov Obiano patronize Innoson Motors more than any other governor, he has been marketing the vehicles to fellow governors and executives of corporate organizations across the nation.
'Indeed, the Anambra State Government is eminently proud of its relationship with Innoson Vehicle Motor Manufacturing Company. Its founder, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, is a role model. We are proud that he is a major investor in our state,' Adinuba stated.
The state government cautioned the opposition in the state to desist from politicizing everything as such was capable of undermining the state. It said election into the governorship position of the state was still far off, and should not be a reason to heat up the state's polity.