The department of Mechanical Engineering department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University has again proven to the world that the department is not just good in theoretical studies but also has a firm grip in the practical aspect of teaching and learning.

This was again brought to the frontline as seven graduating students from the department constructed a “made in Nigeria” mini bus to the consternation of the university community.
It would be recalled that the journey into car manufacturing in the university started the previous year, when a group of five students from the same department produced a formular one car under the code name- AutoZIK.

The seven students include Ezeigwe Chitoo Callistus, Obinani Victor Chimdike, Ezeanolue Ifeanyi Emmanuel, Okoro Chinaza, Ominigbo Fidelis Igho, Nwobodo Nnamdi Miracle and Ogbu Thaddeus Ikenna. They were supervised by the Head of the department, Dr. C.H Achebe.
The group which has their name as “AUTOZIK II” as learnt by this reporter spent over five months in constructing the mini-bus popularly referred to as shuttle within and around the university with locally sourced materials.

Like the popular saying, “What a man can do, a woman can do even better”; the conspicuous presence of a female Engineer ‘Okoro Chinaza’ in the team speaks great volume. On how she was able to surmount the challenges as the only female in the midst of her male counterparts as an Engineer with respect to the stress and commitments associated with such herculean tasks, she said, “ I have always been in their midst right from my first year in school so it wasn’t really a big deal.” She disclosed that she has always followed her passion regardless of what people around say or think. Her colleagues described her as a female engineer with those unique qualities and above all, a rare gem.

Narrating the success story, one of the Engineers Chitoo, said that the project is a dream come through. In his words, “ The Autozik group made the design using CAD software, and all necessary simulation softwares for the analysis, putting the environment into critical consideration. The bus has good seating positioning, better fuel conservation with reduced consumption, good passenger view and very good aesthetics. It was built to suit the topography of our environment and the weather condition we have in this part of the world”. According to him, the bus was constructed from start to finish, inside the Mechanical workshop of Nnamdi Azikiwe University. He disclosed that the project is aimed at advancing the ergonomic standard of preexisting shuttle bus. The bus is said to be compared to other foreign buses and has got what it takes to be out there and to be very outstanding.
Also speaking with Ifeanyi, a member of the team, he said, “The AUTOZIK team indeed had gone through a whole lot before arriving at this platform. When we started, many thought we will not come this far, but today they have come to rejoice with us”.

“We thank the almighty God who has brought us this far, we also thank our supervisor and the Head of Department Dr. C.H. Achebe, for his fatherly advice and support all through the cause of the project”, he happily said.
The project was applauded by many on the day defense, as it caused serious traffic congestion within the university and its environs. 

The bus was test driven in front of everybody and the university community at large, to prove to the world that it is movable, durable and above all fully made in Nigeria.
Some of the students of the department, in an interview, commended the efforts of Dr. Achebe and his team of lecturers whom according to them are doing a great job on their boys, by igniting the spirit and the zeal of invention and innovation in Nigeria and in the Engineering world at large. They also commended the dean of the faculty, Prof. Ihueze Toochukwu, who has brought huge improvement to the Faculty of Engineering and has helped in re branding the system.

The team further showered praises on the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku, who according to them has changed the face of the university, zeroed exam malpractice and improved the standard of learning within the university. According to Chitoo, Prof. Ahaneku’s support for the faculty of Engineering has geared the zeal for invention and ingenuity in the faculty.

It is believed that this Team of 7 Engineers (TEAM AUTOZIK), having come this far with this kind of project within a very short time, making use of ordinary local equipment, if sponsored for further studies, can help rebrand our Automobile Industries and put Nigeria in the fore front of Auto Technology.

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