BEING TEXT OF THE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE FORMER COORDINATOR, PROFESSOR ABIODUN MUSA AIBINU, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FORMAL COMMISSIONING OF ADVANCED ENGINEERING INNOVATION CENTRE (AEIC) HELD ON THURSDAY, 1ST DECEMBER 2022 AT INNOVATION CITY, MINNA
1. A few years ago, we had a dream of building an innovation Centre at the Federal University of Technology Minna, known as the “Advanced Engineering Innovation Centre (AEIC)”, also dubbed “Innovation City”.
2. We envisioned the idea to make FUT Minna the Mecca of Mechatronic Engineering, the Bethlehem of Artificial Intelligence and the Disney World of innovation in Nigeria.
3. An innovative Centre of excellence committed to training 21st-century industry-ready graduates that would change the future of engineering in Nigeria and the world at large.
4. This magnificent innovative Centre will be a world-class facility with laboratories and hubs where students will have first-hand practical industry-ready experience. In addition, events like seminars, conferences, and workshops will be held at this Centre.
5. This innovative Centre of excellence will be situated on a hilltop with a serene aerial view of the historic town of Minna, the capital city of electric power generation in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
6. In addition, there will be facilities such as research offices, business and technology incubation hubs, a museum of technology, an international conference Centre with discussion rooms, an exhibition and event hall, and a world-class restaurant on the summit of a rocky hill.
7. With the vision communicated and debated among AEIRG members, it was agreed that the dream to establish the innovative Centre of excellence is realistic and achievable. Thus, the idea of the innovation Center was conceived in the year 2014.
8. Though we had no idea how this great dream would be achieved, our determination pushed us to come up with a rough sketch, and by 2015, this sketch became a proposed design after a few alterations.
9. During his professorial inaugural lecture in 2017, the Centre’s pioneer leader, Professor Abiodun Musa Aibinu, publicly declared the intention of realizing that dream and gave ten years to actualize the dream of having fully built the innovative Centre with the completion date set to 2027.
10. Hence, between 2017 and 2020, after putting a time frame to achieving the dream to erect the magnificent innovation city, we realized the need to build it ourselves. And we changed our focus from “looking for donors” to “building it small”.
11. Around 2020, the Centre got approval for a piece of land from the Management of FUT Minna, headed by the Vice-chancellor of our prestigious university, Prof. Abdullah Bala (FSSSN), to start the vision and build an edifice covering about 23,000 sqm floor space.
12. In this same year, we ordered a total redesign of the innovation Centre and addressed other related issues. At this point, the name changed from Mechatronics Engineering Innovation Centre (MEIC) to Advanced Engineering Innovation Centre (AEIC).
13. The change of name was to include the expansion of the membership of the research group, which grew from just two departments in the then School (Faculty/College) of Engineering and Engineering Technology (SEET) to having membership across six schools as of 2022.
14. The Advanced Engineering Innovation Centre is located in a serene environment, with the idea of becoming an innovative Centre of excellence to be reckoned with globally.
15. In addition to academic and research activities that will take place at the Centre, the Centre will serve as a lodge for guests, a tourist site and a location for movies with a state of the art cinema.
16. Today, we have taken the bold step of walking the talk by not just dreaming about the Centre but by commissioning the building of the first edifice, thus making our dream a reality.
17. Our plan is to have fully built thirty edifices with unique designs that serve multiple purposes.
18. Each phase of the remaining twenty-eight proposed edifices at the innovative Centre of excellence – the Advanced Engineering Innovation City – costs fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) at the current inflation rate.
19. You will all agree with us that all hands need to be on deck to ensure this magnificent project is beneficial in terms of academics and a project that would significantly impact our society.
20. God bless you all. God bless AEIRG. God bless FUT Minna. God bless Nigeria.