Speech By The Governor Of The State Of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola At The Opening Ceremony Of The Bola Ige Mechatronic Institute

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It gives me great pleasure to be present at the opening ceremony of the Bola Ige Mechatronic Institute (BIMI). It is a dream come true and a befitting legacy in honour of the indelible memory of our dear departed leader and national icon, Chief Bola Ige, an avatar from this precinct but a citizen of the world.

Though Chief Ige was brutally murdered by those who thought they could silence him, his spirit has been restless and has been tormenting his killers who have been sinking deeper in the quagmire of infamy. These are the same individuals that have fruitlessly attempted to plunge the state into chaos and bring about a change of government through conspiracy and subterfuge in the recent past. While you drink from the cup of shame, we shall continue to honour the memory of Ige as he is ensconced in the pantheons of departed Yoruba leaders.

For starters, this institute is the first of its kind in Africa and definitely exits in no other place in Nigeria. We even have the assurance and admiration of our partners from Germany that it compares favourably with what obtains in the home country.

Our vision for this institute began with the need to empower our teeming youth and equip our artisans with the requisite skills to be relevant in an increasingly digital world. As many of us have noticed with consternation, the new car is no longer a mechanical artifice with some electronic parts, as in the past. Cars are now computers designed to work mechanically. Major components like ignition, transmission, engine, wheels, seats and dashboard are largely electronic, even though they have mechanical appearance. All the parts and pieces, up to tyre pressure, are coordinated from the brain box, a computer that forms the soul of the vehicle.

No mechanic can work on these parts again without the right tools and knowledge. The entertainment, navigation and communication facilities in a new car are so sophisticated that they make the old mechanics look like cave men. Even then, fault diagnosis and certain repairs can only be done with the aid of a computer. Without this tool and the requisite knowledge to use it, your mechanic is at best an admirer of your car and at worst, a vandal working on that piece of machinery. As some of us are aware, there are prominent Nigerians who no longer bother to service their choice cars in Nigeria. They just ship it back to Europe periodically for servicing.

It is a 21st Century revolution that crept upon us unawares and which puts the livelihood of our automobile technicians at grave risks. It also put our expensive cars and transportation in jeopardy if there are no handy service personnel nearby, even as mechanic workshops litter every street corner.

This institute will therefore be training on-the-street and mechanics from garages and candidates from automobile companies. It will also admit OND and technical college graduates for skill acquisition and Industrial Training.

It plans to offer through National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Universities Commission (NUC) approval for upgrade of the polytechnic syllabus, a degree course on Auto Mechatronics, using the facilities in future. This is purely a practical delivery project as trainees shall be tested and certified before graduation from the centre.

We have also introduced an innovation. The National Automotive Design and Development Council’s Auto Mechatronics Curriculum and Instructional manuals are currently being translated into Yoruba to enable our auto mechanics train, develop and acquire skills in Yoruba language. With this institute, there is no need for travelling abroad for mechatronic training, except, of course, for tourism. We have what it takes here and we are going to take it to the next level. We are not going to be at the receiving end of modernisation and the brave new digital hi-tech world that has arrived.

Preparatory to today, in June last year, we sent 30 indigenes of Osun on a two-month in-plant, end-user training in Germany before returning to participate in the installation and commissioning of this institute. BIMI, to the glory of God Almighty, is now a completed billion naira project with the equipment alone costing N875 million. We have received the biggest support on this project from the National Automotive Design and Development Council, under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry which got the Bank of Industry to finance it through First Bank of Nigeria. It is interesting to note that of all the states that competed for this project, Osun got the nod, partly due to the due diligence done on our proposal that confirmed our good credit rating.

This institute is also one of our wise investment moves. We have put it under the management of Osun Investment Company Limited (OSICOL). Rather than drain scarce government resources, it is going to bring revenue into our purse, as I have renewed assurances from Mr Bola Oyebamiji and his team that it is going to be run in the best tradition of a profitable company.

Please let me acknowledge and thank our technical partners, Lucas Nulle Gmbh from Kerpen in Germany. We will only be modest if we say it is one of the best in the world. It is indeed the best. We thank you for coming to our small place and the transfer of technology. I will also like to thank Osun State College of Technology, our host. It is my sincere hope that you will ride on the crest of this institute to make a statement in technological education. We cannot forget our host community, Esa Oke, the land of the brave. Our sincere appreciation go to National Automotive Design and Development Council, and its parent ministry, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry, for the kind support and for having faith in us. We will not forget the Bank of Industry who financed this project and First Bank, our long term partner in the development of Osun.

Last but not the least, the committee that put this institute together. Idiat Babalola, who heads the committee, Muyiwa Ige, the scion of Chief Ige, whom we have honoured with this project, Bola Oyebamiji, the MD of OSICOL, the investment arm of the state government, Gbaye Olanubi and Lai Busari.

This small project is a giant leap into the digital future and we are happy to be a pioneer. It is one of the proud and enduring legacies we shall, by the grace of God, leave in the state as we provide leadership and good government to our people. We shall not be discouraged, we shall not tire and we shall not rest until we fulfil our mandate and provide life more abundant to our people.

I thank you all for your kind attention.

Osun a dara