Historical Development of Operations Management in Nigeria

The history of production and operations management in Nigeria is rooted in the activities of Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM) led by Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga, Engr. A.D.Adekoya and Mr. Adebowale Thompson who mobilized key organizations within the organized to subscribe to high standards of professional production and operations management practices in Nigeria.

Historical Development of Operations Management in Nigeria

Historical development of professional operations management in Nigeria has been succinctly clarified in NIPM News and Production Management Review (PMR) edited by Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga and published by his company, Steadfast Publications limited as well as unpublished papers, library resources and others in the archives of Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM).


The history of production and operations management in Nigeria is rooted in the activities of Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM) led by Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga, Engr. A.D.Adekoya and Mr. Adebowale Thompson who mobilized key organizations within the organized private sector (OP) to subscribe to high standards of professional production and operations management practices in Nigeria in the 1980s.

The pioneering efforts of Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga and his colleagues in establishing Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM) remain a watershed of professional production and operations management in practice Nigeria.

The idea to establish an organization for the promotion of production and operations management was nursed by Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga in 1984 prompting his letter to the Editor of Financial Punch Newspaper published on September 5 titled “How productive is the public sector”?

His interest grew even further when he was contributing to Business Times, The Guardian, Business Concord and Times International as a freelance writer between 1985 and 1987. Dr. Opanuga owned press data services Limited which later became Steadfast publication Ltd. This journalism engagement brought him into contact with Dr. Dayo Alao, the Editor of Times International later Professor Dayo Alao, formerly Chairman/CEO of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc. and presently resident/vice chancellor Adeloke University who became one of the invitees to the inaugural meeting of the Institute hosted by Engr. (now Reverend) Deen Adekoya, then Works Manager, Chemical and Allied Products (CAPL) on March 26, 1987 on his company’s premises. Others at the meeting include Mr. H.O.S kayoed, Works Manager, (International Paints West Africa IPWA Ltd.), Engr. F.A. Oke, Chief Engineer, (Dunlop Nigeria Plc.), Mr Nse Enoch, Plant Manager, (Sterling Products Nigeria Ltd.), Engr. M.J. Bakare (AGM, Engineering services, Nigerian Textile Ltd.), Mr. B.A. Ige, (Processing Manager, CAPL.), Engr. C.O. Onuoha, (Factory Manager, Nigerite Ltd.), Mr V.O. Bamidele (lant Manager, Smithkilne Beecham Nigeria Ltd.), Mr. K.O. Salami (Process Manager, CAPL.), Mr. A. Thompson (Works Manager, Berger Paints Nigeria Ltd.) and Mr. M.O. Afolabi, (Production Manager, Berger Paints Nigeria Ltd.)

Dr. Opanuga had sold the idea of a professional body of production and operations management with focus on efficiency, safety, quality, productivity and ethical standards when his training and consultancy firm, Optimum Resources Limited was carrying professional sensitization and factory staff training in Ikeja Industrial Estate area of Lagos State in early 1987.  

Nigeria had existed thousands of years as independent tribes, empires and states before the arrival of British colonialists. Pre-colonial occupations in Nigeria include farming, hunting, blacksmithing, making of leather, soap, mats, pots, baskets, clothes and bricks. The people were involved in wood work, metal fabrication, beer brewing, canoe building, thatch roof making, palm oil, groundnut oil and garri processing, fishing and fish smoking and other kinds of production operations relating to agriculture, mining, construction and manufacturing using simple tools and appliances. Thrift societies served as a banking system for personal savings and loans while indigenous labour co-operatives helped to drive agricultural productivity among the farmers.

The vast mineral resources and organized commodity production systems attracted British imperialism in 1900s.

Modern Nigeria dates from 1914, became independent on October 1, 1960 Nigeria adopted republican constitution in 1963 with agriculture as its economic mainstay.

Industrial production and industrialization in Nigeria did not take root until the 1960s and 70s. The British colonialists developed the rail and telecommunication network to facilitate trading activities in the 19th century. British and other foreign companies were engaged in exportation of such commodities as cocoa, cotton, rubber, groundnut, palm oil, palm kernel etc. to feed their industries with raw materials while they ship to Nigeria such import goods like textiles, soaps, cosmetics, bicycles, motor cycles, vehicles and a wide range processed food and household products. However the state-led import substitution industrialization in the 1960s and 70s facilitated the practice of production and operations management in Nigeria as local manufacturing intensified.

The origin of professional operations management practice can be traced to the establishment of Nigerian Institute of production Management (NIPM) which is the brainchild of Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga who started a national advocacy that production and operations management should be practiced as a profession, organized and led series of industrial visitations, consultations, meetings, training courses, national workshops, seminars and conferences whereat Federal and State Governments, regulatory agencies, academics, consultants and manufacturers’ representatives reviewed burning issues, shared knowledge, information and best practices right from the mid-1980s  when severe economic recession hit parts of the world and particularly Nigeria which culminated in the Structural Adjustment programme (SAP) introduced by the Babangida Administration in Nigeria in 1986.

The second national development plan (1970-1974) launched after the civil war for reconstruction and rehabilitation followed by the 1972 indigenization decree and particularly the import substitution strategy in the 1960s and 1970s, import restriction and export promotion strategies in 1980s to drive industrialization expedited modern industrial production and operations management practice in Nigeria.


Prominent among the pioneer manufacturers and other organizations that joined Nigerian Institute of Production Management (NIPM) as from 1980s-2000s as corporate members include the Federal Government owned Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Plc., a subsidiary of Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), May & Baker Nigeria Plc., Fidson Drugs Ltd., Chemstar Nigeria Ltd., Regency (overseas) Comany Ltd., Ashaka cement Plc., Berger Paints Nigeria Plc., West African Portland Cement (WAPCO) now Lafarge Cement, Friesland Campina (WAMCO) Plc., African Petroleum Plc., Vitamalt Plc., Steadfast Publications Ltd., Johnson Wax Nigeria Ltd., GlaxoSmithKline Consumers Nigeria Plc.(formerly Beecham), UAC Foods, Swiss Pharma Nigeria ltd.(formerly Roche), Eleganza Industries Ltd., Johnson Products of Nigeria Ltd., Evans Medical Plc., Jos International Breweries Plc., Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Afrotech industries Ltd., DN Meyer Plc., Optimum Resources (Consultants) Ltd., Livestock Feeds Plc., Henkel Chemical Nigeria Ltd. and Galvazing industries Ltd.   


The activities of Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga within and outside the Nigerian Institute of Production Management have contributed immensely to evolution of professional operations management practice standards over the past decades in Nigeria. the Institute has produced many notable alumni including CEOs, industrialists, entrepreneurs, academics, consultants, operations management practitioners and leaders in various walks of life and globally.


  • Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga who was the National Executive Secretary and Director General over a span of 22 years was a resilient servant leader who later became the President and Chairman of Council on April 29, 2009. Dr. Opanuga featured prominently as a Resource Person at various training workshops organized by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and as a consultant to key Federal Government agencies, multinational, international and indigenous manufacturing companies with over 35 years of experience in operations management, general administration, public service, manufacturing and industrial consultancy.
  • Present at the first National Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Institute. Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga is the publisher/editor-in-chief of Production Management Review (PMR) Journal of Production & Operations Management, The Human Capital and NIPM News. 


  • A.Deen Adekoya, who was the first Chairman in 1987 and later, President of the Institute and Technical Director of CAPL provided temporary meeting point before Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga built his own house in Ketu, Lagos which was used as the Secretariat of the Institute for many years.
  • Mr. Adebowale Thompson, who was NIPM Vice President, a former Operations Director and later Managing Director and CEO of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc became the President and Chairman of Council on 21st May, 1997.


Notable representatives of Federal and State Governments, heads of Government agencies, CEOs, directors and mangers of manufacturing companies and academics from various universities who had presented papers or participated in the Institute conferences, seminars and training workshops include:

  • Air Vice – Marshal Mohammed Yahaya (rtd), former Hon. Minister of Industries, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  • Phillip Asiodu (Chief), Special Economic Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.
  • A.D. Adekoya (Engr.) FNIPM, Technical Director, Chemical & Allied Products (CAP) Plc.
  • A. Thompson (Mr.) FNIPM, Managing Director, Berger Paints Nig. Plc.
  • Olaniyi  Opanuga (Dr.) FNIPM,  Managing Consultant/CEO, Optimum Resources Ltd
  • G.O Olukoya (Chief) FNIPM, Chairman PFIZER Group.
  • M.O Akinrele (Chief/Dr.) FNIPM,  Executive Chairman, Gacol Nigeria Ltd
  • I.O Allinson (Dr.) FNIPM,  Managing Director, Lynson Chemicals Ltd
  • Sam I. Ohuabunwa (Mazi) FNIPM,  Chairman/CEO, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Fola Tayo, (Prof.) FNIPM,   Dean School of Pharmacy, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
  • Simbo. A. Banjoko (Dr.) MNIPM, Senior Lecturer/Consultant Department of Business Administration, University of Lagos.
  • Bunmi Oni (Mr.) FNIPM, Managing Director, Cadbury Nigeria Plc.
  • R.C Getting (Mr.) Managing Director, May & Baker Nigeria Plc.
  • Dayo Lawuyi (Mr.) Managing Director, Dunlop Nigeria Ltd.
  • F. Ajibade oke (Engr.) MNIPM, Technical Director, Dunlop Nigeria Ltd.
  • C.O. Onuoha (Engr.) MNIPM, Manufacturing Manager, Nigerite Ltd.
  • K.O. Salami (Mr.) MNIPM,  Production Manager, CAPL
  • D.O. Akinsanmi (Mr.) MNIPM, Managing Director, Rhodia Nigeria Ltd.
  • Nse Enoch (Mr.) MNIPM, Managing Director, Worldwide Technologies Ltd.
  • Eme Francis Abiayi (Engr.) MNIPM, Technical Director, Friesland Campina, WAMCO Nigeria Plc.   
  • M.O. Afolabi (Mr.) MNIPM, Works Manager, Berger Paints Nig. Plc.
  • J.A. Adewunmi (Engr.) MNIPM, Production Manager, Studio Press Nigeria Plc. 
  • J.O. Adekoje, (Pharm.) MNIPM, Johnson Wax Nigeria Ltd. 
  • Maria Oshodi (Mrs.) MNIPM,   General Manager (Production) May & Baker Nigeria Plc.
  • Tajudeen Asimi (Mr) ANIPM, Lecturer, School of Science and Technology, Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun State.  
  • HOS Kayode (Mr.) MNIPM,   Managing Director International Paints West Africa (IPWA) Ltd.
  • F.K. Obayomi (Mr.) ANIPM, Packaging Manager, May & Baker Nigeria Plc.
  • M.K. Owoade (Engr.) MNIPM, Managing Director, Dusam Ltd.
  • Y.A. Adediran (Engr.) MNIPM, Department of Electrical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Minna.
  • O. Fadulu (Engr.) MNIPM, Asst. General Manager (Training), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria.
  • S. Adegbenro, Director, Management Service, Ministry of Establishment and Job Creation, Lagos State.
  • A.F. Spinnler, Chairman/Managing Director, Swiss Parma Nigeria Ltd.
  • Bayo Olaniyi, Director National Planning Commission (NPC), The Presidency, Abuja FCT.
  • J.N Akanya (Dr.) Director General Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).
  • L.E.A Aimiuwu (OON, FNIPM) pioneer Presidency National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), former Executive Director in Unilever.
  • R.A Alabi (Chief/Engr.) Chairman, Guinness Nigeria Plc.
  • E.O Ola manpower Director, PZ Industries Plc.
  • Femi Mokikan, Head, Human Resources Management, Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc.
  • Kehinde Apata (Pharm.) MNIPM, Managing Director, Braxos Industries Ltd.
  • Adeniyi Oyemade (Hon. Prince), Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Lagos State.   
  • Lola Okanlawon (Mrs.) MNIPM, Technical Director, Afrotech Industries Ltd.
  • Bako Kop Arri (Mr.) MNIPM, Technical Director, Jos International Breweries Ltd.
  • Mike Okolo (Engr.) MNIPM, Executive Director, First Aluminum Nigeria Plc.
  • Ranti Sokunbi (Mr) MNIPM, Asst. Managing Director, West African Portland Cement Co Plc. 

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