Friday, 24 July 2020

‘IZUOGU Z-600’ - THE CAR, THE MAN & HIS DREAM, DIED.



My meeting with Dr Ezekiel Izuogo in December 1997 was an eye opener for me and a challenge to do something unique in life, since then I never looked back and has no plan to look back. On July 21 2020, Dr Izuogo passed on and went with his dream to make Nigeria a vehicle self-producing country.

In about July 1997, Dr Izuogu an Electrical Engineer and Lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, designed and developed the ‘Izuogu Z-600’, the first African indigenous manufactured car.



The car was described by the BBC as ‘the African dream machine as 90% of its parts were sourced locally. At a projected sales cost of 2000 dollars, then which could be approximated to be less than N43, 780, it would have taken the world by storm and become the cheapest and most affordable car on earth. With mass production planned under ‘Izuogu Motors Plant’ in Naze Owerri, the prospects of an industrial revolution in Nigeria, would have taken place.

The car 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. Front Wheel Drive (FWD) was chosen over Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) because a transmission tunnel, which RWD would require, would be more expensive to fabricate.




So 90% of the car’s components were made locally. General Sani Abacha, Nigeria head of state on hearing the news was so fascinated that he set up a 12 man panel of inquiry made up of professionals to ascertain the road worthiness and authenticity of the car and after several days of probing, the committee gave Dr. Izuogu’s car a clean bill of health, recommending that some of the bumps on the body of the car be smoothened.

At a well-organized unveiling ceremony General Oladipo Diya, Nigeria’s defector Vice President represented General Sani Abacha with over 20 foreign ambassadors and thousands of people in attendance, the federal government promised a grant of 235 million naira to Dr. Izuogu.



Oh Nigeria my Nigeria, the excited Dr. Izuogu waited for that grant until July 21, 2020 when he died. Not even .01 percent was released to him.

In 2006, the government of South Africa invited Dr. Izuogu to do a presentation about the car in the presence of several world class engineers. Being impressed with his presentation, they invited him to come and set up a plant in South Africa and begin the production of the car. Dr. Izuogu reluctantly agreed, though he wasn’t happy that the benefits of employment generation will be lost to Nigeria.

On Saturday, March 11th, 2006, at about 2.00 a.m, a total of about 12 heavily armed men broke into Dr. Izogu’s factory in Naze and carted away various machines and tools, locally produced timing wheel, locally produced camshaft, locally produced crankshaft, locally produced engine tappets, all 20 pieces each. Ten pieces of locally produced Z-600 engine blocks, ten pieces of locally produced pistons, four pieces of engine block mounds, four pieces of top engine block moulds, ten pieces of engine fly wheel and two pieces each of rear car and front mudguard moulds also stolen was the design history notebook of Z-600, the design file Z-MASS, containing the design history for mass production of the Z-600 car, and the moulds for various parts of the car.



When he was interviewed by the press, to Dr. Izuogu, explained thus: “It seems that the target of this robbery is to stop the efforts we are making to mass-produce the first ever locally made car in Africa. To worsen the matter, our design notebook was also stolen.”

Dr Izuogu regretted that not only did they lose over one N1 billion in monetary terms, but also time (about 10 years) and the energy it took to design and produce the moulds.

Nigeria manufactured its own car five years ahead of India but today India is using its own manufactured car ‘Indi’ while I was got missing in action.

The set back and governments attitude frustrated Dr Izuogu, Nigeria lost a technological and intellectual property and his dream died and now he is dead too. I weep for my continent.


2 comments:

  1. Why have we chosen darkness by snuffing every light The Lord had lite in our country?
    The devil and his agents should know that their time is up. God's deliverance must take root in Nigeria henceforth in Jesus name.

    ReplyDelete