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Fed Poly Nekede, Innoson sign pact * Sleek vehicles for staff at subsidized rate * New engineering workshop for students * Students learn spare parts manufacturing

It was a ceremony of innovation and excellence as Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Engr. Dr Michael C. Arimanwa FNSE, last Friday in Owerri, led his Management team to sign a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing. This is in furtherance of his policy thrust of maintaining a robust collaboration and linkage with relevant systems and institutions locally and international. The MOU covers the construction of new engineering workshops, staff acquisition of Innoson vehicles and human capacity development, among others.
While signing the MOU in Owerri on behalf of the Polytechnic last Friday, the Rector, Engr. Dr. M. C. Arimanwa, made it clear that the institution was set to produce engineering students who are highly skilled in their areas of endeavour. He specifically identified students of Mechanical, Electrical and Mechatronics Engineering as direct beneficiaries of the programme with the Innoson Group. Notably, with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Innoson IVM and the Polytechnic would collaborate to build training workshops in the institution that would enable staff and students master the dynamics of manufacturing vehicle spare parts.
Speaking further, the digital Rector stated inter alia, “We are here to essentially kickstart the industry part of our training at the Polytechnic. That is why we considered it necessary to collaborate with an industry expert like Innoson. We felt it will be important to collaborate with Innoson in the area of building workshops in our school to expose our students to the raw practical knowledge of their discipline. The relationship would be mutually beneficial as we will not only train and certify their staff in the areas relevant areas of need, we shall also promote the Innoson Group using the facilities at our disposal.”
The award-winning Rector also expressed optimism that the MOU would essentially give the relevant engineering students balanced training, where they would not literally be inundated with theoretical knowledge at the expense of technical expertise. According to the Rector, “Our students need to be exposed to industry activities away from the classroom and its theoretical praxis. Moving forward, we hope our students would be thoroughly exposed to the basic practical knowledge of their disciplines, perhaps, beyond the measure acquired already in the Polytechnic workshops.”
In a nifty move to cut a deal for the staff of the Polytechnic in line with his administration’s staff welfare programme, the smart Rector expressed optimism that the MOU would enable interested staff of the Polytechnic acquire Innoson sleek vehicles at subsidized rates, with payments made in installments. Speaking further, the Rector, famed for his humanity towards members of staff irrespective of cadre or level, enthused thus: “We hope also that our staff who want to buy the Innoson vehicles can do so with an agreement of how much they can pay over a period of time. This is a way of promoting your brand because I’m sure that the sheer number of the staff that would purchase the vehicles would be considerable enough to advertise your brand.”
In his response after signing the MOU on behalf of the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Mr. Endi Ezengwa, CEO, Innoson-Kiara Academy, described the Innoson Group as a system that is working, pledging the commitment of the group to fully partner with the Federal Polytechnic Nekede. According to Mr. Ezengwa, he was attracted by the noble ideals which the Polytechnic represents. Furthermore, he identified integrity as a compelling virtue possessed by the institution: “One of the things that made me want to work with you is your integrity.”
Mr. Ezengwa also identified workshops as central to the MOU as according to him, “Workshops are meant to complement the classroom for learning to be complete. They are also important so as to train people who are innovative.” He expressed hope that when fully operational, the workshops would assist the school generate revenue, among other benefits. Finally, the Chief Executive Officer of Innoson-Kiara Academy pledged commitment to the codes of the MOU signed with the Federal Polytechnic Nekede.
Principal Officers of the Polytechnic at the historic event included the Deputy Rector (Academic) of the Polytechnic, Mr. Chris Onyemenonu, who described the Managing Director of Innoson IVM, Chief Innocent Chukwuma, as an entrepreneur of high repute who has made his country proud. Others were the Deputy Rector (Administration), Dr Uzoma Ibeaja, Registrar, Mrs Eucharia Anuna, Bursar, Mr. V.N. Anyanwuocha and the Librarian who was represented by Dr Charles Obichere.
Remarkably, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would be mutually beneficial to the extent that the Federal Polytechnic would train staff of Innoson Motors on Health and Occupational Safety at considerably subsidized rates. This would give them international certification in Occupational Safety and Health. It would be recalled that sometime in the administration of Engr. Dr M.C. Arimanwa, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede had entered into a strategic partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Association, United Kingdom. This effectively made the institution a training institute where organizations could send their staff to embark on a short-course programme in Occupational Safety at the end of which they are examined and certificated.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Polytechnic Directorate of Linkages and Interventions, Dr A.C. Madu, who also anchored the event, has expressed delight at the historic MOU with the Innoson Group, describing it as a landmark achievement. He expressed optimism that the proposed workshops to be established in the Polytechnic would make the institution “a centre of excellence where other technological and non-technological institutions would be coming to seek technical assistance.” Dr Madu further remarked that the production of vehicle spare parts would make the Polytechnic a strategic partner to Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing. Besides the MOU with Innoson IVM, the Directorate of Interventions and Linkages of the Polytechnic has also linked the up the Polytechnic to institutions as far as the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Canada, among others.
It will be recalled that upon assumption as Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Engr. Dr. M.C. Arimanwa had identified collaborations and linkages as essential to his 14-goal agenda and 72-target mission. Accordingly, he has not relented in partnering institutions and systems locally and internationally in vital areas of need with a view to achieving standard and professionalism in target areas. Phenomenally, these collaborations have given fillip to strategic interventions in the institutions in the areas of human resources, teaching materials, ICT, library development, agricultural technology and skill acquisition, among others. Thus, the partnership with Innoson IVM is a significant mileage attained in the technological drive and mandate of the institution.
Recently, the world was taken by storm when the Federal Polytechnic announced that it had invented an electric car operated without an engine or fossil fuel. The electric car invention, first of its kind in Nigeria, was a solid testament of the technological drive of the Polytechnic under Engr. Dr M.C. Arimanwa. Unknown to many, the young Rector of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede had been busy building institutional frameworks that would give the institution a strong footing in technology. The sheer volume of investment the Rector made in research development alone won him an excellence award from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Today, the Federal Polytechnic Nekede is rated best-performing Polytechnic by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) just as JAMB rates it the most-sought-after Polytechnic in Nigeria.
Only recently, the Rector was appointed by the Federal Government into the membership of the Technical Committee on the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NAADC) Electric Vehicle Development Plan for Nigeria. This strategic appointment underpins the position of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede as a player in electric vehicle development in Nigeria. According to the Bursar of the Polytechnic, Mr V.N. Anyanwuocha, the Rector’s appointment into the technical committee bears eloquent testimony to the “solid progress he is making in the institution, especially in making the school stand first among other Polytechnics in Nigeria.”
Dr U.O. Iwuji
SA (Media) to the Rector

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