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By Jayamma Abanobi (factboyz.com)
My visit to Ajaokuta coincided concurrently with my quest to travel; and when the chance came, I ensured I utilised it fully. I am a final year Architecture student of the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus and visiting the West African Ceramics LTD (Royal Tiles) proved to be a brilliant delight to me. It all started this way…
The West African Cermaics LTD (Royal Tiles) organize scholarships for Architecture students in 7 Federal universities, with full focus solely on the Masters of Architecture level. So the scholarship only applies for Masters in Architecture.
The benefits the company assured my school UNN, are of mutual benefit and are all signed in a memorandum of understanding. With inclusions to the fact that the scholarship applies to the school.. (So you continue your Masters program with the school) The benefits of the scholarship include full funding for Tuition and Accommodation.
Hence, our journey to Ajaokuta began, as we needed to take the aptitude test that will qualify us for the scholarship.
We left Enugu around 8.00 am and arrived West African Ceramics LTD (Royal Tiles) Ajaokuta, Kogi State by some minutes past 1.
When we alighted I couldn’t help but notice how heavily industrialized the place is. I was impressed when I saw hundreds of workers working in good conditions and meeting Sustainable goals in universal environmental standards.. I immediately started to see that Nigeria will definitely be great one day.
We were accompanied by Dr. Okey Nduka. one of our senior lecturers.
We were received by the staff of the company including Mr Yahaya Ibrahim Lasiu the Health Safety Expert and Mr Mohammed the Personnel Manager and surprisingly staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) were on ground to record it all.
We arrived on Wednesday, October the 23rd and we were 32 students in all. Before I forget, it was only open for Final year students of Architecture in Federal Universities.
We ate and we were all happy and glad.. After eating, we proceeded to the training center where we were welcomed my the Marketing Manager, an Indian man who I couldn’t pick his name. He addressed us and welcomed us officially.
He added that we would tour the industry ASAP and then write an aptitude test the next day (Thursday) based on what we learnt. After all the lecture, we proceeded to the buses where we began the tour of the company.
The company is fully into the production of Wall Tiles, Floor Tiles and Roofing Tiles.. Vitrified and Porcelain Tiles, Marble Series, Granite Series Etc. Honestly, I had lost hope for this country, but after this you, my brain reset to loving this country with full hopes that things will become better. I won’t go into details as to how the tiles were made, but I can say they are of high quality.
One thing I must not fail to mention is that 97% of the materials used in the production process are locally sourced. I specifically learnt that they get Red Clay from Abia state because of its elasticity to produce red tiles and Kaolin from Bauchi state.
After about an hour of touring the industry, taking notes and asking questions we got back to the training center where we proceeded to the bus that will convey us all the hotel in Lokoja, the state capital; which about an Hour and 15 minutes from Ajaokuta. (Note these were all free!)
After we arrived the hotel, we were paired two two (Definitely of the same sex) after refreshing we ate and retired for the day, with many of us reading the jottings we did during the tour in preparation for the aptitude test to be written the next day.
Thursday, October 24th 2019
We had breakfast (free) at the hotel and got into bus as we headed to Ajaokuta the company’s headquarters. We wrote the test which had about 15 questions that were all theory questions.
After the test, the General Manager came in to welcome us. The GM as he was called was an Indian man with a red dot on his forehead. Mr Yahaya, the Health Safety Expert introduced him as the brain behind the success of the company. It was then I got to know that he actually owned the company! He addressed us, encouraging us to use the local minerals we have around us to develop our country Nigeria. He talked about how his company used local materials efficiently to produce the tiles. We were all inspired and we were glad he spoke to us.
Friday, October 25th 2019
We wore the Tshirts we were given and after some photographs, we began the journey back to Enugu.
In summary, I learnt
1. The production processes of Tile Making
2.That Nigeria is blessed with a lot of untapped mineral resources
3. There is indeed hope for Nigeria.
Jayamma Abanobi is a youth blogger passionate about writing. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org