Nigerians living in and out of Nigeria show up in international News not only for scam or fraudulent acts. More than that, music, Sports and Technology are industries where some Nigerians have proven to the world that we can also compete on a world-class level. You must remember it well just last year, Burnaboy's 'Outside' was nominated for the Grammys music award for the best album.
How about the auto industry? I have come up with a list to let you know that the many Nigerians are very influential in this field too.
These are people that are on a world-class level when it comes to the aspect of motoring they have chosen as their career path. I am meant to be on this list but writing myself into a list didn't just make sense (why are you laughing ?). Ok! Let's head right in the list of the most influential Nigerians in the auto industry!
Top 7 Most Influential Nigerians in the Automobile Industry
1. Cosmas Maduka
This man today is the biggest importer of high-end luxury cars in Nigeria. He is the CEO of Coascharis group, a car dealership company for all your favorite brands; Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Ford, and Mini-Cooper.
From spare parts to a luxury car distributor and assembly plan owner
There is no other luxury car dealership like Coscharis in Nigeria that has a direct affiliation with over 5 high-end automakers. This is why he is very influential in the automobile industry of the world.
Aside from that, he launched an assembly plant in Nigeria for Ford trucks. However, a few years later government policies are making Cosmas Maduka regret that investment.
The new BMW X7 and X5 were officially launched last year in Nigeria by Coscharis Motors. It is rare for you to see a high-end automaker organize a launch ceremony for cars in Nigeria. This is how influential the Coscharis group has become over the years in the automobile industry.
A Ford pick-up truck assembly plant in Lagos Nigeria commissioned
His story of grass to grace is also a very popular one in the automobile industry. He started out life as a car parts seller moving into Lagos and today, he is amongst the richest men to come out of Africa, not just Nigeria.
I have personally seen Cosmas Maduka step out of his car on a third mainland bridge traffic, only to trek to a venue where he was running late for around the Ebute-Metta area of Lagos Nigeria.
2. Micheal Ade-Ojo
Chief Micheal Adeojo is the CEO of Elizade Motors in Nigeria, the biggest Toyota dealership network in Africa.
This man's company imports a very large volume of brand new Toyota cars and distributes around Nigeria. He has a direct affiliation with Toyota and his company determines 70% of the Toyota cars that will be sold to Nigerians immediately when they are released.
The Toyota Legend of Nigeria
The Elizade group now moved from just cars into setting up a University, Elizade University that has a special course outline for automobile engineers. This is why Chief Micheal Adeojo is very influential in the automobile industry of the world apart from having billions of Naira in net worth.
3. Innocent Chukwuma
This is a 59-year-old Nigerian that had a dream of single-handedly starting up an automobile brand here in Nigeria since his late 20s.
In 2007 this dream came to life when the Innoson group was set up in Nnewi, Enugu State. I mean, with over 8 different IVM models released and sold in and out of Nigeria, Innocent Chukwuma has put Nigeria on the map of the world as it also tries to assemble some cars within Nigeria.
Innocent Chukwuma beside one of his awesome innovation; Innoson Carrier
The Nigerian government has been part of the success story of the Innoson brand though I expected more support.
Innoson has also been facing financing issues with some Nigerian investment companies. The brand is fully indigenous but production is 70 percent outsourced.
Innocent Chukwuma has done what nobody has ever done before in the history of Nigeria.
>>> Read more about Innoson Motors: Innoson Motors: price list 2020, facts about its owner, logo, & Nnewi factory
4. Jelani Aliyu
Jelani Aliyu is a Nigerian automotive designer that works with America's General Motors as the senior program designer and currently, the Director-General of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) appointed in 2017 by president Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigerian that designed two GM cars
Jelani Aliyu was born in Kaduna but grew up in Sokoto, attending the Federal University of Zaria and a Polytechnic in Birnin Kebbi. He then furthered his studies In 1990. Aliyu was sponsored by the Sokoto State Scholarship board to study in the United State at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit to study automotive design. He won two awards while in school with Ford and Michelin which gave him an opportunity to be employed by General Motors.
Aliyu Jelani designed the Chevrolet Volt and the 2004 Pontiac G6. The Chevrolet Volt is a hybrid electric vehicle with a very sleek design.
Two cars designed by Jelani Aliyu for GM
A Nigerian man that designs cars for General Motors definitely put his country on the map while still being a full Nigerian that proudly associates with Nigeria.
5. Prince Malik Ado Ibrahim
This man's influence and achievement in the automobile industry is the weirdest on this list. Prince Malik is a wealthy man from the Igbira tribe of Nigeria that was homeschooled in Britain and he loves motorsports and automobiles in general.
The only Nigerian to ever be part of F1 even though it was in a weird way
In 1999, this man came forth as a potential investor to the sinking Arrows F1 team with a $125,000,000 investment which is equivalent to N58,750,000,000 today. The Arrows team really needed this money and Ado even claimed he had participated in the 24 hours of Le Mans race. Prince Malik then introduced the T-Minus brand as a motorcycle and energy drink brand which failed.
By the end of the 1999 F1 racing season, Prince Ado was nowhere to be found with his money for investment because he saw no future in the Arrows racing team which letter got dissolved in 2002.
6. Bisi Ezerioha
Bisi Ezerioha is a Nigerian-American professional race car driver, engine builder, and entrepreneur.
Bisi started life as a researcher in a pharmaceutical company then switched to sales and rose to a high ranking staff. He then started manufacturing high-performance parts for motorsports. Bisi has a reputation for building and driving some of the fastest carbureted front-wheel drive vehicles in the world.
Nigerian-American Pharmacist turned engine builder
He has also built notable cars like a 700 hp Honda Civic wagon, 1000+hp Honda Odyssey, a 602 hp Hyundai Elantra GT, and many high HP twin-turbocharged Porsche 911s.
This is a Nigerian defying the odds in the motorsports industry. He has featured in Jay Leno's garage show at some point because of the fast cars he has built out of regular performing cars.
A Nigerian-American that has consistently exceeded expectations by creating automobile masterpieces has definitely put Nigeria on the map for great achievements.
World's fastest carbureted front-wheel-drive car by Bisimoto
7. Ribi Adeshokan
Ribi Adeshokan is the founder and team principal of the first pan-African racing team; Nigeria Racing Eagle.
Nigeria Racing Eagle competes in the European GT series and recently joined Formula Ford race series too. He is an engineer by training, Ribi's association with motorsport first started as a hobby in early 2000. But he soon turned his passion into a business and in 2007 he set up a racing company called GRC Motorsport.
Ribi himself in front of the Nigerian Racing Eagle's Audi R8
Ribi Adeshokan initially put together a racing side to compete as "Team Nigeria" at the World Cup of Motorsport. But right before he was about to realize his dream, the World Cup series went bankrupt. In 2012, he then founded Nigerian Racing Eagle.
Ribi Adeshokan makes sure that the team is filled with individuals of African origin just to put not just Nigeria on the map but Africa at large. He even has plans of bringing a race series to Nigeria where Lagos Marina gets converted to a street race circuit temporarily which will thus generate 100s of millions of revenue for Nigeria.
You should never let anything hold back your dream in life because to be very honest with you, anything is possible. Some of these most influential Nigerians in the auto industry had the grass to grace stories while some were given an opportunity by life from birth.
You should check out our ranges of car reviews that show you the strength and weaknesses of your favorite car brands before you go ahead and buy them. NAIJAUTO.COM also provides up-to-date car-related news and tips that will help you enjoy every moment spent with your car.