By Franklin Onwubiko
The Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku sounded prophetic when he said that Ivory tower should always lead the drive in the development of the society through innovations and designs. His wishes came to pass when some final year students of the university designed and produced a tricycle with a trunk.
This latest innovation has increased the number of automobiles produced by UNIZIK students to three. The tricycle, named Tri-Zik was designed and produced by Chucks Joshua, Peter Okeke, Amaka Akajiugo, Samson Ibechone, Lawrence Ofuokwu and Jude Adonu.
Two years ago, the graduating students of Mechanical Engineering wowed the university community with the production of a formula 1 car using locally sourced materials. The car was named Auto-Zik 1. Another landmark achievement followed, as the next graduating set from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Industrial production Engineering (IPE) designed and produced two mini buses respectively. Also, some graduating students of Mechanical Engineering produced a quadcopter as their project.
In a chat with the project supervisor, Dr. Charles Impala, he disclosed that the project was fabricated with 60% local content and structured with a solid design that will stand the test of time.
Dr. Impala, who co-supervised the production of a mini-bus last year, said the wonderful tricycle was cost effective, durable and can carry heavy loads. He noted that the aim of the prototype of a tricycle was to convince the world that such innovation was possible in UNIZIK. He said the project was carried out within four months and could replicate many of such in a month if they could get sponsors.
Speaking to Campus Sun, one of the team members, Peter Okeke described the journey as tough. “The concept of designing and fabricating not just a tricycle but also one that could be achieved with low cost material. After much consideration, six of us decided to take the bull by the horn and we set out. The project was funded by the six of us and believe me, we were able to achieve this despite the challenges at a cost below 300,000 from the sourcing of the materials to the fabrication”, he disclosed.