By Chuks Moses, Awka.
A wholly made-in-Nigeria executive model of tricycle, popularly known in local parlance as “Keke Napep” would be hitting the Nigeria market next week.
This was disclosed by Engr Chidi Chukwudubem, an executive of the National Engineering Design Development Institute (NEDDI), Nnewi Thursday at the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Anambra state government and some mechanical/engineering/computer engineering services training institutions on information technology in the state.
NEDDI, a creation of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) with a mandate to develop human capacity in the area of engineering design, Chukwudubem stated, commenced work on the project about a year ago when the Minister of Science and Technology charged them to go ahead after seeing other bikes they produced.
The project has reached above seventy percent production level, and would have participated in the on-going national fair, but for funds and time.
“So it would be ready to hit the road and markets within the next one to two weeks”, he said.
The partners to the MoU were to train students/teachers of all technical/vocational colleges across the state with a view to revolutionize technical and vocational skills and knowledge for self-employment away from white collar jobs in the state.
The special training programme, according to the state Commissioner for Education, Prof Kate Omenugha who represented Gov Willie Obiano, was designed to take students/teachers on automobile, industrial machine production, computer education software design, computer/GSM phone servicing, effective communication skills.
Prof Omenugha pointed out that the governor has continued to give high premium to the education sector, stressing that students of technical/vocational colleges represent creative and innovative minds capable of bringing technological changes to the society.
She said the state government has invested so much in technical and vocational colleges across the state to be self-dependent and charged the partnering firms to put in their expertise to keep the students off the streets.
In her address, the director of state’s Post Primary Schools Commission, Lady Joy Ulasi, applauded the partners for their avowed zeal and commitment to the programme and expressed confidence that the students upon graduation would no longer wait for white collar jobs but become employers of labour.
The Consultant to the state government on Technical and Vocational education and Chief Executive of Kiara College, Mr Endi Ezengwa, expressed delight with the state government’s training initiative which he saw as a great challenge geared towards improvement of technical and vocational schools in the state.
Participants at the MoU signing ceremony commended NEDDI on their breakthrough projects including the earlier ones like the made-in-Nigeria passenger and cargo-carrying tricycles tagged “NASENI M1” and “NASENI M2” respectively.
These, together with the made-in-Nigeria motor cycle, according to Chukwudubem were recorded with 70 % local content and has attracted international applause and orders.
He regretted that lack of funding has remained NEDDI’s biggest challenge and that the institute was ready to go into partnership with interested manufacturers for mass production.