Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The management of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) has expressed its readiness to go into the mass production of affordable four wheel lightweight engine automobiles that would displace the three-wheel commercial mobilets, popularly known as Keke-NAPEP from the Nigerian market.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Akii Ibhadode, who made this known at the inauguration of the Shell Professorial Chair in Lightweight Automobile Engine Development at the school auditorium, said the institution has the capacity to develop an engine with the potential of consuming less fuel for commercial purposes.
According to him, the institutionâ€™s capacity of producing lightweight automobile that depend less on fuel had been put to test at the various Shell Eco Marathon competitions in South Africa where the university participated in three editions and came first at the first attempt and later came second in subsequent editions.
â€œFUPRE today is the most successful Nigerian university in the annual African Regional Shell Eco-Marathon competition where participating institutions race their designed and built fuel efficient cars. Our outstanding accomplishments in the three editions that we have participated have earned us both national and international recognitions.
“We will like to acknowledge with thanks a grant of N7.2 million from SPDC towards the university’s participation in the 2017 Shell Eco Marathon competition in South Africa in October, 2017 and we will also be recognising the brilliant contribution of some of the students who distinguished themselves in the competition in order to motivate other students to emulate these worthy ambassadors.”
The VC added: “FUPRE is an intellectual goldmine yet to be explored to its full potential. I therefore extend hand of fellowship or partnership to all corporate and public spirited well-meaning individuals to come to Macedonia and help in the realisation of our vision and dream.”
He also announced that the bill establishing the institution has finally been assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, thereby making the institution a legal entity recognised and backed by the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We have since sent our heartfelt gratitude to Mr. President on the epochal signing of the bill and the management of the university has also set in motion the modalities for pursuing prompt implementation of the act, which include setting up a committee.
The Managing Director/Country Chair of SPDC JV, Mr. Osagie Okunbor, represented by Dr. Alice Ajeh, noted that FUPRE, one of the six active SPDC professorial chairs in universities across Nigeria, has shown Nigerian students’ capacity for global competitiveness, citing its performances in the Shell Eco-Marathon competition in the past three years.
He pointed that the gesture goes to prove the company’s commitment to growing “local content and encouraging responsible energy usage.
“It is a chance to harness the vast and untapped opportunities existing within the value chain of Nigeria’s fast-growing automotive industry and to gainfully engage our talented youths.”