University Of Nigeria, UNN, says it is moving Nigeria toward a knowledge-based economy through its Higher Institution Tractorisation Initiative.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba, stated this in Abuja; during a courtesy visit to the Voice Of Nigeria Director General, Mr Osita Okechukwu.
The UNN Vice Chancellor said that the initiative would lead to a science park and the production of tractors that will enhance food production and create more jobs for the youths.
“Nigeria needs to move to knowledge based society, it is the only way to rescue our country from collapse and it is the only thing that will save us from youth restiveness,” he said.
Professor Ozumba said Universities were to set the pace for development while the government and the private sectors key into processes for the growth of any country.
According to him, “the Nigerian government has already put in mechanisms to support what we are doung through the Single Digit Loan. The response of the Nigerian government on our project is positive and what we are doing in UNN is seeking involvement of the AU in what we are doing, In a few weeks, UNN will sign MOU with Michigan University to power our initiative.”
Speaking on the tractorisation initiative, the vice chancellor said that the university was at the inception stage even though it had some tractors.
He added that the university, with campuses in Nsukka and Enugu, South eastern Nigeria, would soon embark on massive production in four months.
“On our tractorisation project, we felt it is necessary for farming to improve in Africa. The project is about using tractors to maximise farming and it operates on technology and research with the use of university academics and staff. It will lead to production of tractors that farmers can use,it will end up been a science park where we will assemble tractors.”
On partnership for sustaining the project, Professor Ozumba said the university was collaborating with Israelis, Turkey, Anammco in Nigeria and some German companies.
“There is capacity to destroy obstacles. We will use solar to power the whole science park and automative research will begin. By then, UNN will be the hub of Agricultural mechnisation and relay center that all kinds of innovation will come.”
The Vice Chancellor said: “It’s possible to use what you have, like our initiative, to increase food production and what will stop youth restiveness is to give our youths, science and technology. Nigeria must take the lead on this.”
Professor Ozumba disclosed that NEPAD had agreed to use the UNN Incubator project as a pilot program.
The Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu , applauded the initiative and promised the Vice chancellor huge publicity.
He said the project was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda on Agriculture
“You are on the same page with President Buhari and Vice President and they are saying, instead of restructing the super structure. Nigerians are hungry, some graduates have graduated for ten some twenty years, and Nigeria, among the 3 with huge numbers of youth , then we should invest in these youth; harvest in them,” he said.
“I am happy with the VC that you are trying to create a science park; you are trying to open the innovative talents of Nigerian youths. The campus is the best place anybody can build that. What you are doing will also enhance food security; this means you are restructuring the critical sub structure.
“We will let the world know what you are doing, I am happy you are safe guarding employment for our youths. If they have jobs it becomes easy to sit on the table,” Mr. Okechukwu added.
He applauded all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the nation that are committed to research.