Following the successful operation of Diverse Autocare Centre in the last one year and its formal unveiling in the Edo State capital, Benin City, stakeholders in the maritime industry and beyond have hailed its promoter, Engr. Gregory Utomwen Ogbeifun for the initiative.
They expressed delight at the strides made by the renowned indigenous ship over the years especially in the last one year.
Describing it as “remarkable” going by the fact that Ogbeifun ought to be enjoying his retirement, they expressed delight that the renowned indigenous ship owner is not resting on his oars.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki described the initiative of setting up the centre as a significant development for the state and the entire South-south geo-political zone.
Obaseki in a goodwill message read on his behalf at the formal unveiling of the centre by the state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Mr. Andrew Emwanta expressed confidence that the centre would someday metamorphose into an automobile assembly plant for the benefit of the people of the state and beyond.
The governor also emphasised the importance of government support through friendly policies and an enabling environment to enable the wheels of industry to turn with ease in the state.
On his part, the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu commended the management of the centre for its quality of equipment and services.
Aliyu who was represented by the NADDC Director, Industrial Infrastructure Department, Dr. Nua Omisanya stated that the federal government’s objective to grow the automotive industry to become the hub for automotive manufacturing in Africa needs the support of private sector initiatives to attain set goals and objectives.
According to the NADDC Director General, the private sector has to play the pivotal role, even as the government provides the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The commissioning of this world-class auto centre is therefore a step in the right direction. Over the years, council has worked tirelessly to ensure the survival, growth of Nigerian automotive industry with a view to enhancing the industry contributions to the national economy.
On his part, the Managing Director of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kunle Ade-Ojo said when he got the message from Ogbeifun, he keyed into it because it was the first of its kind in the state and he knew it would develop the sector as well as create jobs opportunities.
His words: “Something like this, I believe has not been done in Edo State before and we are also looking to expand and do the best we can for the country. As you said, employment is very low and hearing of the initiative I brought my team together and we came here and did the necessary evaluation.
“I have been here with my team a day ahead to look at the facility. I must say I was quite impressed with what I saw, more than what I expected. It is a beautiful, well-organised facility, the first of its kind in Edo State. I am happy that within the space of one year you are looking to expand. We both went to the facility that the governor has allocated to you for the expansion. I want to thank the governor for that”.
Continuing, Ojo said: “We are happy to start with you from scratch on that so that we can guide and show you how to put the thing in place and do something even much more than you have here. This I believe is just the beginning; by the time you are commissioning the new one, I am sure we will all be amazed. We will give you all the necessary support to ensure it is successful to add to the employment opportunity to the state.”
Maritime Bits had reported that the centre was established one year ago to commemorate Ogbeifun’s 70th birthday. Besides its skilled manpower, the centre boost of diagnostic machines, post lifts, AC services and recharge equipment, paint oven, and paint mix bank installed by Miswa United Kingdom.
Others are the state-of-the-art automated alignment machine, collision jig, professional multipurpose tool box sets and assorted diagnostic equipment.
It is on record that within one year of its operation, it has carried out various repairs including preventive maintenance services, engine overhaul, body/spray works on a variety of vehicles.
The centre has partnerships with various higher institutions of learning to provide slots for their Mechanical Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering and Information Technology students for industrial placements. The internship programme equips undergraduate students with the tools and hands-on experience required to become competent technicians in their various areas of automobile-related skills development.
Ogbeifun had in in his welcome address at the occasion lauded everyone who believed in his vision to establish the centre a year ago. He specifically lauded Ojo for responding and believing in his vision when he first wrote to him. While giving an insight into the development, he revealed that after several engagements, Ojo sent his team of staff on a visit to the centre and later a provisional appointment as a 2S Service provider (service and spares). He expressed hope that the centre would soon get an approval for a 3S (service, spares and sales) service provider status.