Road Transport Entrepreneurs and Road Transportation Revolution in Igboland, 1920-1999: A Case Study of the Nnewi Igbo of Nigeria
Between 1990 and 1924, the British colonial administration embarked upon a massive road-building programme throughout the colony. The rapid expansion of road development was accompanied by the introduction of motor vehicles. Motor transport industry was dominated by expatriates in the 1920s. From the early 1930s, however, a number of indigenous transporters became involved in the road transport enterprise. More than any other Igbo sub-group; the Nnewi Igbo emerged as pioneer road transport entrepreneurs and charted this novel economic enterprise with huge success. Some of these pioneer transport capitalists were J.C. Ulasi, L.P. Ojukwu, and A.E. Ilodibe. These indigenous entrepreneurs commercialized the revolution in road transportation in Igboland in the face of challenges of bad roads, rickety wooden bridges, high maintenance costs and cut-throat competition with expatriate interests. They emerged from the ravages of the civil war and continued to blaze the trail in vehicular road transportation by making innovations and expanding the industry to an enviable and unprecedented level. Employing their vast enterprising skills, spirit, initiative, vision and capital, the Nnewi Igbo brought about a profound revolution in this economic enterprise that by 1999, road transport industry had become a formidable and vital sector of the national economy.
Key words: entrepreneur, revolution, transportation, indigenous
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