Transport Minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has again defended his choice of Daura in Katsina State as the location of the University of Transportation.
In 2018, Amaechi had announced that the Chinese government through the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) would be constructing two transport universities in Nigeria.
The Minister’s decision to locate one of the institution in President Muhammadu Buhari‘s hometown, Daura, got critics talking.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the university in Daura on Monday, December 2, 2019, Amaechi maintained that he has no regret over his earlier decision.
He wondered why some Nigerians did not question his choice of Kajola, Ogun State, for the construction of a company that would produce coaches, locomotives and wagons in the country.
“When we sited the factory at Kajola, there was no noise, nobody debated about it, nobody abused us for it,” Amaechi began.
“Daura is in Nigeria. It is not in any other part of the world. It is not in Niger; it is not in Biafra; it is not in Mali; it is in Nigeria. So what is wrong in citing a University of Transportation in Daura?
“I have no regret siting this University in Daura. It is not because I want to get any gain. What I have suffered in the course of fighting during election to get this government in power is enough sacrifice if I want to be sycophantic.
“Anybody who accuse me of being a sycophant, let me admit it in advance that I am a sycophant. And if you know the President very well, you will know that sycophancy does not sit well with Mr President,” he added.
Why Transport University?
Describing the university as his imagination, the Minister explained that the institution would focus on training Nigerian youths on how to maintain the various rail infrastructures in the country.
“We realized that education is key to the maintenance, building and maintenance of of all these infrastructures. I engaged CCECC. The first engagement was when they were constructing Lagos to Ibadan.
“They were not too keen in spending their funds to building a University for Nigeria until I refused to sign a contract between the federal government and CCEC. I insisted I will sign only three things were done.
“The first thing is to take our children to China and give them first degrees in railway technology. Today, as I speak to you, 60 of our children are in their second year in China and we thank the CCECC and the government of China for that. Another 90 are on their way to China this week to make it 150.
“The second one is that if we must sign the purchase of locomotives, they must build a factory where we can construct for ourselves coaches, locomotives and wagons. Today, at Kajola, that factory is being constructed.
“Finally, I insisted on the University’s of Transportation. Today, we are here for the groundbreaking ceremony of the University. Nobody influenced me,” he declared.
The Minister appreciated the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, for allocating 400 hectares for the university.
He appealled to the governor to approve 600 hectares more to house other facilities in the university.
Present at the event were Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano, Ministers, members of the National Assembly and other top government functionaries.