FG Identifies  Bauchi As North East Centre of Excellence

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Bala Mohammed

By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi

Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu has said that the Federal Government has stationed the North East Centre of Excellence in Bauchi, as the Oil and Gas Institute already situated in Alkaleri LGA of the state would commence operations early next year.

“His Excellency, Mr. President has taken the bull by the horn by even going further more than Federal Government to begin to think how the oil discovered in Bauchi and Gombe. We have a College of Oil and Gas now in Alkaleri. Federal Government is going to support the state by making sure the Centre of Excellence that is in the North East will be situated in Bauchi particularly”, he said.

Minister Ikechukwu was speaking when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Bala Mohammed during a two-day dialogue on the implementation of Presidential Order Number 5, explained that the dialogue held with Government and private sector is geared to train the youths to make the Boko Haram issue as thing of the past.

“If you are gainfully employed and you are taking salary up to 1000 or 2000 Dollar a month, you don’t have any need to go and hide and be wanting to take somebody else in the name of abduction. The boys that are in the bush, nobody want to live in the bush”, the minister argued.

Chief Henry Ikechukwu noted with concern that most of the jobs Nigerian middle class are supposed to be doing are being done by foreigners, particularly in the oil and gas sector, attributable to non-certification, a serious situation that has been creating multi-dimensional problems all over the country.

“All of us would agree that in Nigeria today we don’t have middle class, our middle class is not here anymore. One of the thing which the Federal Government want to do, which they have approved, is to satisfy our welders. Up till this moment we don’t have certification in this country, that is why people outside will be doing some of the jobs our youths ought to have been doing, whereby creating problems in the whole country”.

“The President has therefore approved Executive Order 5, which means whatever thing we can do would not allow foreigner to do it. But we can’t stop foreigner from doing that if we are not able to train our own youths”, the minister said.

Ikechukwu who noted that Nigerian youths are losing confidence in its leadership, stressed the need for the Federal Government to be working in synergy with the State and Local Governments in bringing succor to the youths by training them on means of livelihood.

“Besides Executive Order Number 5 which we are going to satisfy the weather, we are going to bring Innocence Motors, which is an indigenous motor company production to Bauchi to train the youths, at least 100 per year in making sure that what the country is today producing locally we can be able to service it”.

According to the minister, gone are the days when somebody would just carry your motor and knock it with hammer and all that, but instead, “They would diagnose it, knows the problem, goes straight to the problem and begin to solve it. So, we must give our youths sense of belonging, that is the only time and way that this country Nigeria would be a better place for all”.

Ikechukwu added, “I’m not too old as a minister, but we are looking for low hanging fruit which we must run with to leave a legacy, you don’t need to be a minister for 100 years before you do something. In this our administration, as a minister of state, Science, Technology and Innovation, there must be some hanging fruits I’m going to leave behind in Bauchi state”.

Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has while responding described the minister as a Nigerian patriot who was burning with a passion to work for the country who is articulated and accomplished man ready to defy all stumbling blocks to make sure he leaves legacies and landmarks.

The Governor who noted that Sir Henry Ikechukwu is one of those persons Nigeria needs, said Executive Order 5 is one of the best President Buhari has done for Nigeria to make sure Nigerians look inward and ensure that projects and contracts at federal and state levels are given local contents attention where the youths and citizens generally would find ways and means of livelihood.

While also describing the minister as bi-partisan who look thing at very passionate point of view, the governor said all that he is doing in Bauchi is to give leadership to everybody as, according to him, he is elected not only by PDP but the generality of the people of Bauchi state who decorously voted for President Muhammadu Buhari, hence their connection in that realm to give leadership.

Senator Bala Mohammed expressed optimism that the dialogue would be useful in repositioning the zone and Bauchi in particular to put it in a position to maximally benefit from what the Federal Government is doing, saying “There can’t be local contents without skills acquisition and that’s why the state is establishing the Alkaleri Oil and Gas Skills Acquisition Centre”.

To this end, he said, the state is getting a lot of support from the Federal Government and other big-timers with a campus already established for it in one of the Polytechnics in Bauchi, and curricula and everything all out with the first engagement to be made before this year runs out, so that training would commence in welding, machinery and all the required skill areas to put the youths on right tracks.

“In that we are going to partner with your ministry and make sure what the federal government is out to achieve in terms of Order 5, and your own statutory responsibility as a minister of state, science, technology and innovation, I will help you to leave legacies and landmarks”, Mohammed assured the minister.

Governor Bala also assured the minister of the state government’s readiness to patronize the Innocence Motors Coy in terms of its products, saying “We are ready, by the time you bring the company here, we would be buying their products. We don’t have to be buying other products when Innocence Motors is in Bauchi”.

He therefore called on his colleagues in the Northeast geopolitical zone to not only as states, but through the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to partner with the company in terms of humanitarian crisis, insecurity, infrastructural gaps, to assist in the implementation and institutionalization of the ministry’s vision.

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