‘Truth is stranger than fiction ’these days, it seems. This may be a hyperbole to some, but to cautious optimists like me, this expression is fleshing out slowly but surely in the Nigeria of our time.
My optimism is coming on the heels of recent spate of activity in Nigeria, driven by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), with its Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Engr. Prof. Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna in the driver’s seat.
Haruna, it appears, has been on the wheels of change since the turn of the year, as evidence points to a track record proving that the man literarily hit-the-ground-running in the year 2021, at a time when many are still dizzy from the hangover of COVID-19 lockdown and drowsy from post Corona Virus socioeconomic displacement.
And if what NASENI and Haruna are doing is anything to go by, it may appear that our darling Nigeria is on the brink of an agricultural and industrial revolution – strange as it may sound in a clime as ours – what with the corruption bug which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our national system and the unhealthy dose of pessimism hanging over the nation like some ominous Sword of Damocles.
But you will agree with me that, looking to the future through the prism of our bleak past, is akin to driving a car forward with our eyes permanently fixated on the rearview mirror. This without a shadow of doubt, is a recipe for catastrophe and national disaster, which you and I are in consensus that we must avoid.
On this note, I crave your indulgence as I seek your permission to walk you through the Nigerian breakthrough plans afoot – courtesy of NASENI and the man with the Midas touch.
In a rare move to revolutionize the Nigerian agricultural sector, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ebonyi State Government, for the establishment of an Industrial Machinery and Equipment Development Institute in the state.
This ground-breaking partnership deal was sealed on Tuesday the 27th of April 2021 at the Agency’s Headquarters in Abuja, when Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugballa led a delegation from Ebonyi State government House to sign the MOU, in a corollary visit to anearlier one which occurred in the first quarter of this year 2021 at the Ebonyi State, when the Chief Executive of NASENI led a team of eggheads from the agency to woo the Ebonyi State government on the proposed Institute, alongside the development of agricultural clusters.
What this development translates into is that, NASENI will now have a development institute in Ebonyi state, to carry out its engineering and infrastructural development, for the purpose of providing Skill Acquisition, Training and Technical Know-How for budding Engineers and Scientists in particular and Nigerian youths in general.
Signing on behalf of NASENI during the ceremony, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, said the technology and infrastructural development and transformation that were going on in Ebonyi state is so amazing that one could not but partner with the state governor, whom he described as a developer and one who touches the lives of an ordinary men and women.
In his words “while it is our duty to carry out technology and infrastructural development in the States, Ebonyi State has shown us how to strategize and develop infrastructure, so we are also learning from them. We are happy to identify with such a state. What is happening in Ebonyi state is a thing of joy and today we are partnering with them in order to solidify the efforts of the Ebonyi state governor”.
“We are happy to associate and be part of the development that is going on in the state. The State has made giant strides. The establishment of the institute in the state will help to carry out developmental projects for job and wealth creation for the nation.” He concluded.
Responding, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State – represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugballa- said that Ebonyi State was committed to the agreement, noting that the Governor was happy with Prof. Haruna, as he is the type of Professor Nigeria should produce. He said the NASENI boss has demonstrated tremendous passion in national development, using science innovation and technology as strategy”
Says Ugballa,“Ebonyi State is committed to the MoU signed today. We don’t commit ourselves to what we cannot do. We will make sure that the vision which NASENI and Ebonyi State share together will thrive” Our Governor believes that work must be done to the best of our abilities and that we stand on.”
Taking the vote of thanks, the Managing Director of Scientific Equipment Development Institute (SEDI-Enugu), one of NASENI institutes, who is also the Chairman of NASENI-Ebony State Joint Technical Committee, Engr. Dr. Samuel Ndubuisi, said “the Ebonyi State Governor has shown dedication to the technology and infrastructural development of the state. The Governor has opened the door for more collaborations with the Agency and we are committed to partnering with them in infrastructural and industrial development.”
According to Ndubuisi, “during our previous meeting, the Governor promised to forfeit road projects so as to ensure that the institute – Industrial Machinery Equipment Development Institute (IMEDI), Uburu in Ebonyi State – takes off immediately.”
And on this victory note, the epoch-making event was brought to a resounding close amidst pomp and pageantry, with a lot of goodwill handshakes and paparazzi sessions.
In another development, Haruna yet again scored another grade A point – by initiating what seems like the opening of the floodgates for commercial activities and patronage of made-in-Nigerian goods.
This happened on Tuesday the 4th of May 2021 at Abia State, when the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of NASENI – Engr Prof. Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna – led the management team of the Agency on a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Dr. Victor Okezie Ikpeazu at the Abia State government House, to seek areas of possible collaboration with the State government.
Addressing the Governor during the visit, Haruna said “NASENI offers to collaborate with Abia State Government in priority interest areas, for the benefit of the people of Abia State.”” NASENI ‘s approach to the vision of President Buhari’s Administration, is to enable local ownership, job creation, technology advancement and sustainable industrial revolution through bridging technology gaps for economic diversification.” He added.
He further noted that NASENI could coordinate the proliferation of technologies developed either within or outside of its development institutes.
“Technologies so developed in the areas of spares, components and systems engineering, are to be transferred to entrepreneurs and SMEs for production of goods and services for rapid technology development “, the CE stated.
Haruna seized the moment to \ask the Governor to allocate the Metallurgical Complex at Umuakolika – established since 1976 but not functional till date – to NASENI, so that it can establish a new development institute there to revive the complex, rehabilitate and install some of its machines so as to make it functional for wealth and job creation for Aba people.
“Also NASENI can collaborate with the state government to resuscitate the facilities at IBB Technology Village, by providing shared facilities and modern manufacturing machines for technology innovators to turn their ideas into technology business”, he pitched.
According to Haruna, other areas NASENI would like to partner with the Abia State Government is in the Textile industries at Aba. He noted thatAbia tailors supported the Federal government in the mass-production of facemasks.
“Your Government has done a lot. For instance the 30 artisans you trained in 2018 on leather production and the proposed footwear academy, palm oil processing amongst others are remarkable.
NASENI can collaborate with the state government to locally develop machines and equipment needed to grow these booming industries “, he promised.
In his response, the Executive Governor of Abia State – Dr. OkezieIkpeazu- said that he was delighted with the achievements NASENI has recorded and would support the 1% allocation from the federation account to the Agency, to enable it continue with the development of engineering infrastructures across the country.
According to him, “This is an eye-opener and has boosted my confidence that Nigeria will one day be competing with other developed countries of the world, in promoting products and equipment made in Nigeria.”
He said NASENI was dealing with contemporary issues with its dynamic ventures like;Keke NASENI, COVID-19 Interventions and other modern technological innovations.
The Governor noted that Nigerian youths are very talented and must be encouraged, adding that when an inventor sees his innovations in the hands of the authorities he will be motivated to do more.
“In Abia State, we have talents and we have been doing all we can to support them. We are into so many things both in industry and agriculture. So we are interested in reverse engineering. We have cottage industries, palm oil producing factories among others, but we need support in agriculture to create jobs and stop youth restiveness.” Says Ikpeazu.
On that note, the governor promised to collaborate with NASENI and as a gesture of this goodwill and a handshake of partnership, Ikpeazu offered NASENI the options of the Youth Game Village or the Metallurgical Complex to build its institute,while promising to follow that up with a trip to Abuja for the signing of all the necessary documents for the smooth take-off of the partnership.
And just when one would think enough is enough, Haruna and his NASENI gang took it a notch higher, this time with a trip to the ailing and failing power sector of Nigeria,
In what appears to be a rescue mission, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) agreed to close ranks and proffer lasting solutions to the challenges facing the power sector in Nigeria.
This epic move happened when the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of NASENI – Engr Prof. Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna – yet again led the management team of NASENI on a courtesy visit to NAPTIN ‘s head office in Abuja on Thursday the 6th of May, 2021.
During the brainstorming session, Prof. Haruna said NASENI’s visit was to demonstrate the Agency’s readiness and committment to the Memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two organizations in 2020, in the areas of; Transformer installation, Training, Design, Maintenance and Repair including renewable energy amongst other areas of possible collaborations.
“it is our mandate to collaborate with institutes like NAPTIN for National development and job creation. Haruna stated.
In his remarks, the Director General of NAPTIN – Mr. Ahmed Bolaji Nagode – said NASENI ‘s proposed breakthrough in the power sector will go a long way in stabilizing power in the country and he commended the Agency for the recent training of Nigerian engineers in China, for transformer production and high voltage testing plant to be established in Nigeria soon.
According to him, “The essence of the collaboration is to optimally bring resources together and build a better economy. For instance, NASENI is collaborating with China for Transformer production and other areas of power generation. NAPTIN also has collaboration with China, so if we bring our expertise together we will build a better economy for ourselves and create job opportunities for our youths.”
“Collaborating with NASENI will make us to learn a lot, especially in infrastructural development, power, workshops etc. We need to be building on what we have already done with respect to the MoU and give account by now, so as to ensure that we build our own economy and provide jobs for young Nigerians “he continued.
The NAPTIN Boss opined that investing in vocational training will help train young entrepreneurs, who will in turn pool their resources together to create employment and be self-employed, plus build the economy, not only in power sector but in other sectors.
“NAPTIN is committed to collaborating with NASENI and making available its resources to enable Nigeria move forward and also take Nigeria’s power sector to the next level “.
Building on the momentum of the moment to birth a technological revolution in Nigeria, NASENI took another giant leap towards its dream for Nigeria, this time in a masterstroke deal with HALIBIZ.
It is heartwarming to note that NASENI and HALIBIZ Industries have also agreed to work together in areas of machine maintenance and infrastructural development, as well as reverse engineering.
The agreement was reached when NASENI paid a visit to the newly established industries which deals on confectioneries and foods production.
After a detailed tour of the facility, the President of HALIBIZ Industries – Alhaji Adamu Aliu– told the visitors that virtually all products in use by Nigerians are imported, unlike countries such as China which doesn’t import but make use of what they produce, adding that the whole idea of setting up Halibiz Industries in Nigeria, is to produce and manufacture the products in Nigeria and in the same breath create jobs for Nigerian youths.
He took the opportunity to call on NASENI to explore possible areas where the Agency can help the industry grow and evolve – especially in technical training and maintenance of their machines.
“We are building AFRITOS Mega factory Nigeria very soon and this is where we want to collaborate with NASENI. We want NASENI to come in. There are also several agricultural products we want but we have technical challenges and that is why we want NASENI to bring in engineering ideas and machines to make it happen”, he stated.
Responding, Prof. Haruna said he is impressed with what he saw and promised to send a technical team from NASENI, to explore areas of possible collaboration with HALIBIZ Industries.
As I bring this narrative to a close, I am upbeat about the prospects ahead for our fatherland – owing to these series of breakthrough developmental plans afoot – courtesy of Engr. Prof. Maiwalima Mohammad Sani Haruna and his NASENI Change Agents.
Now, am I sure these plans will see the light of day? Am I certain the goodwill of Haruna will not be sabotaged by some fifth columnists or that some mole is not lurking around somewhere inside the system, to scuttle this lofty NASENI dream at the eleventh hour and dash our hopes to pieces? Your guess is as good as mine!
Will I keep faith with NASENI despite the tales of woes abounding in Nigeria owing to corruption? You bet I will and I invite you to join me in hoping against hope for a rare agricultural and technological revolution driven by NASENI in todays’ Nigeria.
But if you are too cynical and pessimistic to hope, due to past bittersweet experiences in Nigeria, be my guest! And what if my dogged and rugged hope is dashed against the wall of corruption at long last? Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles, isn’t it? But one thing’s for sure – hope is the only thing which gives life meaning. For without hope, we are dead alive and our dreams are dead on arrival.
That is why Andy Crouch declares “Human beings can live for 40 days without food, four days without water and four minutes without air. But we cannot live for four seconds without hope. ”So Nigerians, let us hope that a change is imminent and a breakthrough is upon us, by way of this NASENI plan of action!
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of America, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” NASENI has taken the initiative to lead Nigeria out of the woods with these lofty and commendable plans. Let us therefore keep faith with NASENI and pray for Haruna’s plans to come to fruition speedily.
LONG LIVE NIGERIA!!!