Ephraim and Joena Akwiwu Auto Shop (EJAAS), which commenced operation a few years ago at Orji in Owerri, Imo State capital, with car maintenance and services, but has diversified to the manufacturing of indigenous cars, kitchen units, electric gates, mobile phone chargers has in the recent time gone into training of youths for self-reliance.
“Just as you have known us, EJAAS is now like a finishing school for engineering students and helping the government to reduce the rising unemployment through training of both graduates and undergraduates from institutions of higher learning in the country.
“They see EJAAS as a finishing school where youths come to acquire the necessary practical skills to enable them become self-employed and employers of labour” Alex Ephraim Akwiwu, the managing director and chief executive officer, EJAAS told Business A.M.
Akwiwu who studied agricultural technology in Nigeria and automobile technology in Europe said, “I came back to establish and to impart practical knowledge to interested youths. We are manufacturers of indigenous brand of cars, the latest model in the making being ‘Celebrity’, we produce electric gates, executive kitchen units and mobile phone chargers called IYI DeCharger and this place has become a training ground where youths train to acquire practical engineering and fabrication skills “.
He stated that many graduates who have undergone various apprenticeship programmes through EJAAS are now employers of labour in places where they are and through this we are helping to reduce unemployment, he said. He informed that both state and federal government officials had at various times visited the workshop but unfortunately there visits did not yield any positive results, “they are not doing any good thing to encourage indigenous manufacturers like us”.
According to him, “all the shouts and noises both the federal and state governments are making about promoting indigenous technology are for saying sake, nothing is coming out of those statements; they are playing to the gallery”. Akwiwu further said that government has not shown any face that suggested collaboration, partnership or move to encourage the company.
“On April 3, 2018, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology visited us on behalf of the federal government but up till now nothing positive has come out of it and other governors had also visited us here,” he said.
EJAAS, he noted, has been contributing its quota to the government in terms of reducing the growth of youth unemployment and, according to him, “some youths you see here now are here to acquire practical engineering and fabrication skills from the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), University of Agriculture Umudike, Umuahia, Abia State, as well as some technical colleges in the state.
Meanwhile, some of the trainees who spoke to Business A. M., include a fourth year student, Ugochukwu Kelechi from the Transport Management Technology department, FUTO. According to him, “We only get the theoretical knowledge in the school but this place has exposed me a lot to what I wouldn’t have known, I’m grateful to EJAAS”.
Frontpage November 4, 2019