Khalil/NASENI And The Take From The Tinubu Trip – By Bala Ibrahim

IT is no longer news that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is out of the country. He left the shores of Nigeria since last week, on official assignment to some countries, prominent among which is the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he had a one day engagement at the invitation of King Willem-Alexander. The Nigerian delegation was made up of eminent personalities, comprising the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Industry, Trade and Investment; Agriculture and Food Security; Marine and Blue Economy; Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy; Power and Minister of State (Oil).

Also on the President’s team are the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and International Relations; Executive Secretary (ES) Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC); Managing Director (MD) Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI). However, what may be news are the takes from the trip and what Nigeria stands to gain from them. And precisely that’s where the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Khalil Sule Halilu captured my attention and compulsorily compelled me to write this article.

Of course before he left, the office of the President had informed us that the purpose of the visit was to further strengthen cordial bilateral relations between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but thanks to the appearance of Khalil Halilu on the Sunrise program of Channels Television this morning, the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President has been made succinctly clearer, thereby raising our trajectory of optimism.

In what may pass for a drill, young and bearded Khalil was aggressively questioned by the duo of Chamberlain Isoh and Maupe Ogun-Yusuf, the dreaded media professionals that have carved out for themselves, a niche for insightful and hard-hitting discussions always. Even as a journalist, with training on microphone friendliness, sometimes, my body temperature disobeys the gravity, once I have the misfortune of facing the interrogation of these colleagues. But from the show today, Khalil has not only proved his worth, but convinced the viewer that indeed Nigerians should have hope in the renewed hope agenda of President Tinubu, particularly with special bias to the ambition of many Nigerians, for the rapid development of science and engineering infrastructure, and how best to enhance technological innovations for sustainable economic growth.

Khalil was at his best, explaining the benefits or goodies that would come to Nigeria, pursuant to the commitments that were received from the Netherlands and how those benefits would key into the mandate of his agency. He made it very clear, with simple reference to the aviation service provider like the KLM of the Netherlands, how the mandate of his agency would be enhanced, in the management of research, as well as the development of capital goods, production and the reversal of local engineering inadequacies for the production of standard goods.

In line with the assignment given to him and his agency, Khalil was proudly unequivocal, about the solar farming innovations, newly introduced by his agency and how their three new products were rushed, and sold out, long before they arrived at the market. This is a sign that indeed the agency is walking the Tinubu talk, as promised to Nigerians, that they came to give Nigeria services for the nation’s technological advancement.

Khalil ‘s show today didn’t come as a surprise to many, because it is certainly consistent with his pedigree. Despite his youthfulness, with only 32 years of age to his credit, Khalil Suleiman Halilu had shown that with good education and the support of an extremely enterprising family, accomplishment can always be confirmed as fait accompli.

It may be remembered that, in what some saw as a surprise, shortly after the appointment, or is it the renewal of the appointment of Dr. Bashir Gwandu?, as the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, by former President Muhammadu Buhari, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu terminated the appointment, and his place, announced young Khalil Suleiman Halilu as a replacement. Those with doubts on his competence or reservations regarding the appointment, should throw their doubts to the dogs now.

From the rundown and response on the take from this particular Tinubu trip, methinks the choice of the President on Khalil is not only apt, but appropriately suitable for Nigeria’s technological circumstances.

Ibrahim is Publicity Director for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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