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Jelani Aliyu: The Design Revolutionary

51-year-old Jelani Aliyu is one of the few Nigerians whose mark in the automobile industry cannot be bluffed.

Born in Kaduna, he attended Federal Government College, Sokoto where he emerged as the best student in Technical Drawing.

Filled with passion, he proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University to study Architecture but soon dropped out. He, then, attended the Birnin Kebbi Polytechnic where he graduated as the overall best graduating student with a degree in architecture in 1988.

He had a few stints with the Ministry of Works before the Sokoto State government awarded him a scholarship to attend the College for Creative Studies where he graduated with a degree in Automobile Design. An intellectual orator, he engaged his professors to seek answers to questions that hounded his coursemates.

Chevrolet Volts. Photo: Quartz

He soon got a placement at General Motors, the second largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. He claims that the company did not request for his credentials before allowing him to work for them. He is credited as the team lead for the exterior design of the Pontiac G6 and worked on the Astra.

He, however, had his big break in 2007 when his design was chosen among the 200 submissions for the Chevrolet Volt. The car would later be described as the battery-powered electric car, the “American revolution and one of the hottest concepts in the design line” and “most technologically advanced vehicle.”

In 2017, he left his post as the lead exterior designer of General Motors to become the Director-General of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC). Aliyu is the man behind the Chevrolet Volt, the battery-powered electric car, the “American revolution and one of the hottest concept in the design line.

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Jelani Aliyu
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