See the First Black Man to Design and Manufacture a Car in Africa

Do you know that in 1997, a Nigerian by name, Dr Ezekiel Izuogu, an Electrical Engineer and lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, came into public limelight when he designed and developed the Izuogu Z-600, the first African indigenous manufactured car which was described by the BBC as the ‘the African dream machine. See what happen to him later and his manufactured car.

See the First Black Man to Design and Manufacture a Car in Africa

I know you will be surprise to see this post here but off course; it wouldn’t have been an easy task for Dr. Izuogu to embark on a mass production of Z-600 without the intervention of the then Military government in Nigeria as of 1997. As a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede in Imo state, the engineer had invested almost all his life savings into the research and design of the new brand, with expectation that the government would take it up.

According to Dr Izuogu, the idea of the Z-600 took him 14years to design and manufacture.

At a ceremony to unveil the car, Nigerian government and about 20 other governments from around the world were in attendance, and there, the innovator was promised a grant of N253 million to improve on the smoothness of the car’s body.

“It was the first car we produced in Africa. We finished it and the government at that time, the government of late General Sani Abacha supported it after he saw it display in owerri, the Imo state capital, South East Nigeria. Infact, the government wrote a letter that I should receive N253 million in order to smoothen the body of the car,” Dr Izuogu said in a 2019 interview with Vanguard newspaper.

“The government was very impressed by the design and everything but no money came to me. Nigerians kept attacking the Z-600. The problem in Nigeria is jealousy, there is a lot of jealousy in Nigeria, they kept attacking this product in the press and I didn’t have time to be replaying to them. I was more concerned with emagnetodynamics. So, that is the position. I thought the businessmen in Nigeria would take on the car and mass-produce it but they didn’t do so. And I have a more important design which is the invention of this emagnetodynamics engine or what they called Izuogu Engine by the World International property Organisation.”

Not much of a surprise that the then Military government in Nigeria headed by the Late General Sani Abacha, set up a 12 – man panel made up of Professionals to check the roadworthiness and authenticity of the car. The car was given a pass mark after days of critical checks by the panel.

How Robbers Broke in and stole the Design and History Notebook of the Z-600

Do you know South Africa was interested in Dr Izuogu Z-600 car? South Africa was reportedly making plans with Izuogu for mass production of the Z-600.

In 2006, the government of South Africa invited Dr Izuogu to a presentation about the car in the presence of several world-class engineers. They invited him to set up a plant in South Africa and begin the production of the car and he reluctantly agreed, though he wasn’t happy that the benefits of employment generation will be lost on the locals of Naze- owerri and the Nigerian human resources environment.

But on Saturday, March 11, 2006, no fewer than 12 heavily armed men broke into Dr. Izuogu’s factory in Naze, Owerri and carted away various machines and tools including the design and history notebook of Z-600 car, and the moulds for the various parts of the car!


Different machines, tools and the design file labeled ‘Z-MASS’, were stolen.

“It seems that the target of this robbery is to stop the efforst we are making to mass-produce locally made car in Africa,” Izuogu had said.

The loss, according to Izuogo, was worth N1 billion.

Before his demise, Dr. Ezekiel Izuogu was engage in the research of emagnetodynamics, a car engine that works with nothing. It produces its own energy and if you put it in your car, you can drive the car for 50 to 100 years, the engine works without petrol and if you have emagnetodynamics engine in your car, you can drive your car without petrol. It is not an electric car but a car in its category. It is being perfected in 130 countries across the world.

Lastly, Nigeria would probably have been listed among countries that manufacture automobiles if Ezekiel Izuogu received all the needed support in 1997 when he came about a design for a Nigerian, and largely, African made car.

Izuogu’s idea then was prompted by a desire to make a car that would be affordable to the common man. Describing it as the first ever all African car in a 1998 publication, BBC wrote that Izuogu’s Z-600, first in the Z series, had 90% of its parts locally produced.

If it is ever made it into mass production, the BBC reported that the car would “cost just $2,000, making it the most affordable car then in Africa – and probably the world.”

Izuogu’s Z-600 never moved beyond the celebrated prototype. And just like that, the dream died, and then, 23 years, izuogu died, too. He died on July 18, 2020, He was 71.

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