By Chinedu Adonu
In an effort to make Coal City State a technology hub, the State Government on weekend unveiled an electric-powered tricycle.
Vanguard learnt that the battery-powered tricycle, which runs without fuel, was built by Chukwuemeka Eze and has the capacity of running for 18 hours.
General Manager of Enugu Tech Hub Centre, Mr Chidubem Anoworem, who performed the ceremony, said he was excited that the Enugu State Tech Eco-System was beginning to breed.
He said, “we are gaining ground, we are altering the paradigm, we are changing the narrative in Enugu. I resumed six months ago, and my standpoint is to bring about a tech revolution, such that Enugu State will become the next silicon value of technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The silicon value is an enabler, where innovations like this are created; so, we want to make Enugu the epicentre of innovations and this is just the beginning.
“We are going to do an incubator programme where the software will meet hardware; so, there is definitely going to be more advancements; I am excited that this young man has created this and the Enugu State Tech Hub is going to take him to the next level.
“I am speaking for the Enugu Government; I know that the Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is excited about this; that’s why he created the Enugu State Tech Hub in the first place, to be able to make innovations like this come to stay, at the end of the day, it will be a place people will like to come.”
He assured that the State Government would ensure that all the necessary support would be given to inventors in the State.
According to him, “the government gave birth to a tech-hub, meaning government knows that innovations that are not normal will happen; the government will not be expecting innovations to happen and the same government will now strangulate the innovation by taxation; I am sure that government will make policies or strengthen policies that are already in existence to encourage this kind of innovations.
“So, taxation will be the least problem we will have here; I speak on behalf of the Governor, who I know his plan and vision for the State.”
He urged tricycle operators to key into the innovation and save themselves the cost of fuel and maintaining a gasoline-powered tricycle.
In their separate remarks, Elvis Obi Nwankwo, the Special Assistant to Governor Ugwuanyi on Science and Technology, and Uchechukwu Ogechukwu of Hardware Garage described the innovation as cheering.
“This is the future; this is the future of innovations in science and technology; we are delighted to be part of this history; we are happy it is happening in Enugu. On its part, the government will put right policies; any kind of support that will push this through,” Nwankwo stated.
On his part, Ogechuwkeu said, “there has been a huge gap in translating ideas to something that will be saleable in the market; what we are doing is to bridge that gap by helping start-ups; so, this is one of our start-ups and we are so proud of this innovation.”
Also speaking, the inventor, Chukwuemeka Eze of Revive Earth Ltd; a fresh graduate said their goal is to remove gasoline-powered vehicles from Nigerian roads.
He disclosed that “I started pursuing this dream from my second year in the university; I was in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I graduated from electrical engineering.
“What we have succeeded in doing now is to put to use a tricycle that will run without fuel; all you need to do is to charge the battery and you are good to go. The electricity-tricycle will replace gasoline-powered tricycle from our roads. It enables it to run without fuel; it has the capacity to run as fast as 60 kilometres per hour.
He urged the government to grant him full permit for the tricycle to run on the State’s roads.
A high elated Secretary of Tricycle Riders’ Association, Enugu State, Comrade Pius Ezugwu, who represented the State Chairman, Comrade Benjamin Ikah said “the invention is very good; it moves very well without engine; the Keke rider will no longer talk about fuel or changing engine oil, throttle cable and all of that. It is more economical than the one we are using.”
He pleaded with the government to support the initiative, stressing that, “Keke is essentially for the downtrodden, so, the government should do well to support our key into this innovation.”