By Kemi Yesufu
President Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Engineer Ali Rabiu has announced that the council will be collaborating with Zeetin Engineering a Nigerian firm pioneering the manufacture of electric cars and other car spare parts for the training of engineers and technicians.
Speaking with the media after a guided tour of Zeetin Engineering’s factory in Abuja on Friday, Rabiu described the facility as world-class, adding that the Council is fully interested in sending its young members for training.
He said: “When we travel out, people take us on excursion to some factories and they are really not better than this. I would like to commend the promoter of this venture, that what we travel out to find, we now have it right here in Abuja.
“We have issues with training engineers and technologists, but I want to believe that this place will be a good training ground for upcoming engineers and technologists”.
Rabiu went further to commend the Managing Director of Zeetin Engineering, Barr. Azibaola Roberts, who took him on the tour for making a huge investment in technology and engineering, despite being a lawyer.
“You are not an engineer, but you have taken me round and spoken well. Congratulations on the good work you are doing and I pray that God continues to guide you for being of great assistance to promoting technological development in Nigeria”, he stated.
On his part, Roberts assured that his firm will soon commence operations as its factory has reached 70 percent installation capacity with a 6-month target for installing the remaining 30 percent installation capacity.
“We have spent around N3.5 billion and we are still spending. We are only about 70 percent complete, we still have about N2.5 billion as estimated investment needed to complete the project. I’m relying on my bankers to give us the facility we are asking for and in six months maximum, we will start rolling out. I know that we will receive the facility in the next two months, when we do, we will import the remaining machines and close our window to importing machines” he said.
Aziboala opined that Nigeria must significantly improve investment in science and technology based industries to record rapid economic growth, improve developmental outcomes and create jobs.
He also expressed hope that the operations of a big engineering company like Zeetin will trigger the establishment of smaller and medium sized businesses as part of a value chain.
“My short term goal is to develop technology in Nigeria. I am so pained that in our country, we have to look outside to solve the problems of our teaming population. Any little metal you get is imported from abroad.
“What I am doing here is simply working to start a process that may catalyse others while I am still alive and energetic. If you look at a car, it has about 3000 parts. No car manufacturer manufactures all of these parts. If I am here building cars and I am unable to manufacture the glass, if an investor thinks he can break even by making glass for my cars, he will move here or set up not too far away”, he explained.
“If I am not interested in making bolts and nuts, somebody could take notice that Zeetin Engineering consumes so much bolt and nuts and he builds a factory to produce it. He can even come here to ask that we make a machine to produce bolts and nuts. We do it for him and he goes into the business.
“Why should we import bolts and nuts? I am looking at Aba, thinking, I can ask them to make good leather seats for my cars. Can we open a competition for people in Aba to make quality upholstery for our cars? The fact is, if we don’t give local manufacturers a chance, they will not improve. You talk about experience, but experience is based on being given the opportunity to start”, he added.