Jelani Aliyu, MFR, an accomplished international Automotive Designer, currently holds the esteemed position of Director General at the National Automotive Design and Development Council in Nigeria. He pursued his education at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, United States, and honed his skills while working with General Motors in both the United States and Germany. Notably, he played a pivotal role in designing a range of highly successful vehicles for the company, including the Pontiac G6, Chevrolet Silverado, and the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt Electric Car, a technological marvel that has reshaped the global Automotive Industry.
Hailing from Sokoto State in Nigeria, Aliyu’s deep-rooted pride in his Nigerian heritage is evident. Born in Kaduna and raised in the vibrant city of Sokoto, his family’s origins trace back to Dogondaji in Tambuwal Local Government. He is deeply committed to the development of his homeland, Nigeria, and the preservation of our environment. Aliyu passionately strives to motivate his fellow Nigerians to tap into their innate potential, emphasizing that, beyond careers and professions, it’s essential for all of us to work collaboratively and leverage our individual strengths and modest resources to bring about positive change in our communities.
As the Director General and CEO of the National Automotive Design and Development Council, Aliyu has spearheaded remarkable progress in the Nigerian Automotive Sector. His leadership has attracted substantial private investments from automotive companies, amounting to over 1 billion US dollars. These companies, boasting a combined production capacity exceeding 400,000 units per year, are actively manufacturing diverse vehicle models and configurations in the country. Notable participants include DanGote-Sino Trucks, Innoson, Peugeot, Honda, Lanre Shittu, Mikano/Geely, Toyota, Ford, and Hyundai. Over 30,000 Nigerian youths have been empowered through mechatronics training, with the establishment of 21 Automotive Training Centers nationwide, three Automotive Testing Laboratories, and two additional Service Hubs currently in progress. Aliyu’s agency has successfully completed the construction of a state-of-the-art Research and Development Centre in Samaru, Zaria, dedicated to the production of two Nigeria-specific vehicles designed by Jelani Aliyu.
Under Aliyu’s guidance, the Council has initiated the assembly of Electric Vehicles, such as the Hyundai Kona EV and the Jet Motors Electric Bus and Van. Furthermore, three 100% Solar Electric Vehicle Charging Stations have been deployed at strategic locations, including the University of Lagos, Usmanu Dan Fodio University in Sokoto, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Dan Fodio. These pioneering projects have firmly established Nigeria as a prominent global advocate for e-mobility and the sustainability of the planet’s environment.
Beyond his role as an Automotive/Industrial Designer, Jelani Aliyu is also an accomplished Architectural Conceptualist, Technology and Environmental Sustainability Advocate, and a devoted mentor to Nigerian youth. He is the visionary founder of the Jelani Aliyu Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative social interventions in healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability, all aimed at propelling the progress of Nigeria and Africa. In his own words, Jelani Aliyu believes that Nigeria should be defined not by its current challenges but by its dreams and aspirations. He firmly asserts that there are no impossibilities and that a better Nigeria awaits, ready to be built by the collective efforts of its people.
Eni Ukpai Eni, a public affairs commentator writes from Abuja