See How We Hurt Ourselves, By Babafemi Ojudu

The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa but would have been on the same scale with China and the USA had we combined foreign and indigenous economies to push up economic sustainability.

Below is a list of companies operating in Nigeria in the early 60s.

  1. African Timber & Plywood ( Nigeria ) Ltd, Sapele
  2. Paterson, Zochonis &Co. Ltd
  3. Hazlehurst & Sons ( W. A.) Ltd
  4. Unilever Export Ltd
  5. Anglo French Trading Company
  6. The West African Lines Conference
  7. Kingsway
  8. Nigerian Breweries
  9. Esther Beauty Parlour
  10. C.F. A. O
  11. Grizi ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  12. Engineering & Metal Industries Ltd
  13. Pepsicola
  14. Bhojsons Departmental Store
  15. BP ( West Africa ) Ltd
  16. Sick – Hagemeyer ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  17. Buck ( Nigeria ) Iron & Steel Merchants
  18. Lion of Africa Insurance Co. Ltd
  19. Texaco Africa Ltd
  20. Bank of West Africa Ltd
  21. BOAC – British Overseas Airways Corporation
  22. Brazendale & Co Ltd
  23. Cow & Gate Milk/ Food
  24. Nigeria National Line
  25. Lennards ( Lagos ) Ltd
  26. Elder Dempster Lines Ltd
  27. Air France
  28. Lea & Perrins
  29. Nigeria Tobacco Company Ltd
  30. UTC
  31. M. El -Kalio Transport Ltd
  32. Mitchels ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  33. The Shell- BP Petroleum Development Company Of Nigeria
  34. Palm Line Ltd
  35. Rolls – Royce Limited ( Oil Engine Division )
  36. J. Allen & Company Ltd
  37. Nigeria Hotels Ltd
  38. Hercules Bicycle
  39. A.G Leventis & Company Ltd
  40. Apapa Chemical Industries Ltd
  41. Gulf Hotels Ltd
  42. Federal Palace Hotel Ltd
  43. Guinea Construction Company Ltd
  44. The Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd
  45. Leventis Motors Ltd
  46. Usha ( Makers of Sewing Machines & Fans
  47. Chellarams
  48. Ovaltine
  49. Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd
  50. Bewac
  51. SCOA Motors
  52. Glaxo Allenburys ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  53. Thomas Wyatt & Son ( W.A. ) Ltd
  54. G. Gottschalck & Co
  55. Caleb Brett And Son ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  56. Daimler- Benz A.G. Stuttgart
  57. Armel’s Transport Ltd
  58. Hawley Russel & Baker Ltd
  59. G. Cappa Ltd
  60. Nigeria Cement Company Ltd
  61. Pimms
  62. Development Corporation ( W.A.) Ltd.
  63. Bhojsons & Co
  64. W. Biney & Co. ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  65. John Holt & Co
  66. Cambridge University Press
  67. S. Nassar & Sons ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  68. Heinekens ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  69. The Nigerian Plastics Company Ltd
  70. Wiedemann & Waters ( Nigeria ) Limited
  71. Electrolux Limited
  72. Assan Umbrella Factory
  73. Lucky Drinks
  74. Taylor Woodrow
  75. Total Oil Products ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  76. Lever Brothers ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  77. Messrs J. T. Chanrai & Co. ( Nigeria ) Limited
  78. Shell
  79. Motoren & Craft Wagen Fabriken ( Manufacturers of “ Krupp” Range of Vehicles)
  80. Carl F. W. Borgward ( Manufacturers of “Isabella “ car )
  81. The Nigerian Technical Company Ltd
  82. Semperit Tyre Manufacturers
  83. G. B. Ollivant ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  84. Guinness ( Nigeria ) Ltd.
  85. Alagbon Industries Ltd. Aba
  86. Leventis Motors Ltd.
  87. Fiat S.P.A
  88. Oredola Okeya Trading Co.
  89. Vivian , Younger & Bond Ltd
  90. United Africa Company
  91. Barclays Bank D.C.O.
  92. Strabag ( Nigeria ) Ltd
  93. J. Allen & Co.
  94. Fraissinet & Fabre Line
  95. UAT
  96. C. F. C Furniture ( W.A. ) Co. Ltd.
  97. Law Union & Rock
  98. Cope’s Pools Ltd.
  99. Cappa And D’Alberto Ltd.
  100. Royal Exchange Assurance
  101. Mobil
  102. Beck’s Beer Mentioned above are the elite companies that put out adverts in the Daily Times at Independence celebration on October 1st 1960 congratulating the government and people of Nigeria .

Today so many of those companies are no longer in existence. Over time they have been victims of mismanagement brought about by indigenization and other hare brained policies not well thought out before implementation .

Foreign owners and managers of the companies were hurriedly sent away and the companies handed over to Nigerians many of whom may not have had the know how to manage such organizations . Today we are the worse for it. Here we are saddled with mega unemployment and majority of our people looking for job where they do not exist.

When these decisions were taken we were blinded by nationalism or outright selfishness and greed. We wanted to own what we didn’t create. Blue chip companies that would have grown to employ millions of our people were sacrificed on the alter of ‘we must take over’. Imagine what Daily Times would have been today if we have not taken it from the original owners. It would have continued to set professional and ethical standards, a standard that would have rivaled The New York Times. Other businesses and organizations would have sprung from it. The Times Institute for training journalists would perhaps have by now become world class rather than being history. Maybe by now DT would have had a newsprint manufacturing plant and a big tree plantation to feed it. Its property development arm that owned several buildings in Ikoyi and mainland would have gone into real estate and developed estates.

Growing up in the 60s and 70s my holiday trip from Ekiti to Ibadan was not complete without visits to Kingsway. Well stocked, a sparkling clean environment and an ever functioning escalator, With my cousins we took trips there daily going up and down the escalator with stories to tell my school mates in Ado Ekiti when school resumes. Imagine having Kingsway since then and with presence in all towns in Nigeria. There perhaps would have been no need bringing Shoprite and Spar from South Africa. Imagine the spin of effect of that on agriculture and manufacturing as well as distribution , and stock management , and supply chain expertise. Millions of Nigerians would have had direct and indirect employment. Don’t mind me , just having random thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *