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On 5th March, 2019, history was made at the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria, following the inauguration of the Management Team of the newly established African Centre of Excellence in Future Energies and Electrochemical Systems (ACE-FUELS) by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Eze, at the Council Chamber of the University. It is on record that out of 122 proposals submitted for the establishment of new Centres under ACE-3, FUTO emerged as one of the 16 Nigerian Universities selected as Centre’s of Excellence by The World Bank Group, having met the ACE impact requirements.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Eze in his inaugural speech, welcomed the team that represented the University at Djibouti during the formal launch amidst jubilation and gratitude to God for their safety and wellbeing.

Prof. Eze re-emphasized the objectives of ACE-FUELS which align perfectly with the mission of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, that is to operate practical and result-oriented programs and training geared towards transforming the nation’s economy with a sound technological base. He further stated that with the current output by what he referred to as the ‘Young Team’, ACE-FUELS has recognized the importance of academia/industry collaboration for education, training and skills development for innovation and technology transfer through generation, acquisition, and adoption of knowledge, as well as for promoting entrepreneurial start-ups/spin-offs. He also added that he was quite pleased with the proactive nature of the team members.

Continuing, the Vice Chancellor reaffirmed that World Bank projects, being tactical in nature are known for excellence in all ramifications especially in the areas of impacting on the society and the community. He also hinted on the need for all members to work together with remarkable zeal to achieve success for the team and the university as a whole. He pointed out that the set goals and objectives of the center as required by the world Bank can only be achieved through absolute commitment and hard work, and that project goals being met will be major criteria for subsequent project renewal. According to him, training on budget/finances and project management will be necessary if desired results are to be achieved.

He assured the ACE-FUELS’s Management team of the University management’s unalloyed support especially during this stage of producing the implementation plan of the Centre as funds were still being expected from World bank. He disclosed, to the delight of the team, that a building was being constructed for them and that expedite action was being taken by the building contractor to ensure that office spaces are made available.

One of the key objectives of the project as stipulated by the World Bank is the ability to graduate students in record time. For this specific objective, the Vice-Chancellor urged the ACE-FUELS management to persevere in meeting deadlines and to work towards graduating their masters and PhD student within the duration specified. He therefore encouraged them to be good team-players and team-builders by sharing information and harmoniously resolve challenges. He said that the Centre should encourage students to spend more time on research which will in no small way help them build up their chosen careers, adding that ‘as we began well, we will end well’.

The Vice chancellor, on behalf of the Senate and Management of the University capped his speech with the official inauguration of ACE-FUELS management team. The Management Team Members comprises Prof. Emeka Oguzie – Center Leader, Prof Ada Madu – Deputy Center Leader.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof. N.J. Okeudo; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. J.S. Orebiyi; the Registrar, J.U. Nnabuihe; and the University Bursar, Mrs Helen Onuoha, were top FUTO Management staff present at the inauguration.

The Deputy Centre Leader, Prof. Chinyere Ada Madu, in her vote of thanks, commended the University Management for sustenance of the Centre so far, and assured the Vice-Chancellor of the Centre’s readiness to achieve the set goals and objectives in addition to delivering the Management Team’s mandate, making the university to stand out as a world-class Centre of excellence.

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