Why we honoured ZEETIN Engineering Founder, Azibaola Robert with FNSE – Babagana

By Soni Daniel,

The Nigerian Society of Nigeria, NSE, has extolled the contributions of Mr. Azibaola Robert, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Zeetin Engineering Limited, which is pioneering automobile, aviation and oil and gas equipment manufacturing in Nigeria and justified the conferment of the prestigious Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers on the Nigerian lawyer and entrepreneur.

The President and Chairman of Council of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Eng. Babagana Mohammed, who bestowed the award on Robert, said that the council was appreciative of the numerous contributions of the Zeetin founder to the field of engineering in Nigeria and the various measures the firm is taking to change engineering landscape in the country.

Justifying Robert’s investiture as a FNSE, Babagana Mohammed said: “I present to you Azibaola Robert, a distinguished icon who has been a mentor to many engineers and has engineered many engineers.

“The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) finds it fit today to consider Azibaola Robert for this honorary award of the Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers,” Mohammed stated.

Also, the former Chairman of the Abuja branch of the NSE, Osita Ben-Ossy, in lending his voice to the choice of Robert said: “Let me also add that Mr. Robert, FNSE, has contributed a lot to the development and growth of engineering than what you have seen here today. That is why the motto of his company, Kakatar, is “Nigerians Building Nigeria”. He believes so much that only Nigerians can build Nigeria. That is why he pays Nigerian engineers what expatriates are paid. That is a big encouragement to our engineers.

“Robert has also donated to the NSE several computers to aid our work. So, the NSE deems it fit today to give him this honorary award of the Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE).

“Azibaola Robert, FNSE, is a lawyer with the heart, mind, soul and spirit of engineering,” Eng. Ben-Ossy explained at the colourful ceremony attended by friends, well-wishers, associates and family members, including former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Although he studied law and has put in many years into the practice of the legal profession, Robert has become more keen and focused on blazing the trail in the manufacturing of a truly Nigerian car, spare parts and tools to stop the importation of technology abroad and boost the Nigerian economy and create jobs for the teeming youths.

He has already acquired and installed precision engineering equipment in the Idu Industrial Park in Abuja for the commencement of the manufacturing of the Nigerian car, heavy duty trucks and spares for the aviation, oil and gas industry. His firm-Zeetin Engineering Limited-is licensed as a Original Equipment Manufactuer, OEM and has gone ahead to establish partners with a Turkish firm for the sales and marketing of its products abroad.

Born on 13th February 1969 at Otakeme in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Azibaola Robert is the fifth child of his mother, Madam Irene Yepaye Uriah, who raised him and his siblings, as a single mother.

Bereft of the advantages of life and without the assurance of going to school due to lack of resources, Azibaola completed primary school at Baptist-day Primary School, Port Harcourt; and by miracle, proceeded to attend secondary school at Owema Secondary School, Otakeme, where he rose from a not-too bright boy to become the best student of his class and the entire school, excelling in all Science subjects.

Considering his high intelligence quotient and proficiency in the sciences, added to his high work rate that saw him breaking new grounds, it was the expectation that he would someday become an Engineer or a Medical Doctor. By twist of fate, all fingers of nature combined to steer him away from his childhood obsession and he ended up studying law at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology Port Harcourt, where he graduated with a 3rd Class Degree in 1993 (BL) and a 2nd Class LLB from the then Nigeria’s only Law School in Lagos.

He was called to the Bar in 1995 as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. After a moment of practice, he resumed duty-call as a pro-democracy, human and environmental rights advocate, against military rule in Nigeria, at that time, where he joined forces across the country, to fight and win the soul of Nigeria to democracy.

Azibaola Robert is not one to live under the line and while in the university, was a student leader and a vice president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). On Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, he left active civil-society advocacy, and founded Mangrovetech Limited, a civil engineering company which transformed to KAKATAR. His sole aim of founding Kakatar was to challenge an established perception that Nigerian engineers were incapable of administering and building the infrastructures of Nigeria. He created the slogan: ‘NIGERIANS BUILDING NIGERIA’ as part of his advocacy for the Nigerian engineers, and proceeded to employ only indigenous engineers to build both the Maitama Extension, and the Kyami Districts in Abuja, amongst several other projects across the country.

The quality of his work compares favourably with those of the expatriates and has continued to earn him and his companies more patronage from home and abroad.

In 2018, Azibaola Robert founded Zeetin Engineering- a precision engineering, high-end technology, and heavy-duty company and in his purpose-driven way of life, sited a state-of-the-art factory in the Idu Industrial Area of Abuja.

With unquenchable drive to achieve and its array of machines and equipment Zeetin prides itself as Nigeria’s precision engineering company with a focus to kick-start and advance Nigeria’s technological development.

Through his various companies Azibaola Robert has employed several Nigerian engineers over the years providing them mentorship and kindling in them a desire of ‘l-can-do spirit’.

Today, Azibaola Robert, together with his colleagues, is consummating himself, to the self-task of designing, and producing a wholly, made-in-Nigeria automobile engine, pioneering a domestic electric car design and production as well as catalysing the process of making other heavy-duty machines and Original Spare parts production in Nigeria for Nigeria.

Azibaola is a social thinker, a practical hands-on personality, inspirational writer, and creator of things. He prides himself as ‘the Carpenter”, a childhood obsession. He has vast practical knowledge of many aspects of engineering – civil, electrical/electronics, Hydraulics and high-pressure systems, aerodynamics, CNC machining, Portable Circuit Boards (PCBs) and more.

He is a genius at operating machines, including Cranes, Excavators, Dozers, Articulated trailers; CNC machines, such as Lathes and milling, Plasmas, Water Jets and more. He is a software enthusiast, including website designs. He melts into machines in a manner that baffles as if there is an innate communication between him and the machines which he transits in operating with ease in an area that require strict expertise.

While pushing through his passion for Nigeria’s engineering and technological development, Azibaola has remained true to his goal for the environment: protection of wildlife and commitment to Climate Change.

Azibaola Robert is an inspiration to those who work with him and his followers.

He is married to Stella Robert, and together, they have four daughters: namely Yepaye, Zoni, Emmanuella and Azibasuam.

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