Professionals want govt to develop engineering
TO meet up with the latest innovations in technology, a key to nation building, Nigeria must have in place programmes that would lead to the development of her engineering sector, professionals within the sector have said.
They spoke recently in Lagos during the investiture of the new executive members of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE), Lagos State chapter. Mrs. Funmilade Akingbagbohun now chairs the body.
Guest speaker and Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Tricontinental Oil Services Limited, Professor Toyin Ashiru, who spoke on “Engineering Profession and National Development”, said although with robust engineering sector, any nation could overcome its challenges on development, lamented that it was unfortunate that the attention the country pays to the sector at the moment would continue to hamper growth and progress.
To him, engineers have huge roles to play in the development of any nation, especially in this technology driven age, where previously known approaches to construction, production, transportation, education, healthcare, and other sectors are rapidly changing, adding that, on a global front, the roles of engineers have assumed a new dimension.
Ashiru noted that as the world is becoming more crowded, more consuming, more polluting, more connected and less diverse, engineers all over the world are finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy the need of this growing population, as production and consumption rates have skyrocketed and there is a growing concern about how modern technology could be employed to address and avert the current and future environmental damages.
Hence, the held that every country, which is serious about meaningful development must appreciate the roles that engineers play in creating and sustaining civilization because engineering professionals have a stake in providing solutions to our shared problems as a nation.
But in Nigeria, the challenges with engineering practice are immense, the speaker added. “While the rest of the world are fast-paced crystalizing the benefits of potent engineering, our country that is heavily blessed with enormous human and natural resources, cannot boast of an economy driven by infrastructural development and technological advancements. Nigeria grapples with problems such as bad roads, poor water supply, erratic power supply, poor housing, poor telecommunication and lags behind with every other indicator of social, economic wellbeing. This experience highlights the lack of progress, foresight, collective efforts and other problems that have stalled invention in Nigeria.”
However, Ashiru said there was hope if the nation could have rethink towards the development of human capital in the engineering sector.
“We need to develop our engineers to develop the nation. The development that we all anticipate can only be achieved by empowering our own engineers to innovate, to create, to communicate, to collaborate for the purpose of solving our problems as a nation. To achieve this, we must be ready to invest at all levels from training to local enterprise development and ensuring that policies are in place to promote technological advancement in the country.”
The government could not single-handedly develop the sector, as the professionals have their part to play.
“The they need to brace up to the enormous responsibilities on their shoulders, as the country needs more engineers with entrepreneurial mindset that can create or work with local industries and draw support from indigenous and foreign investors. Industries need to embrace universities and pursue collaborative research and development ventures that can make the practice of engineering globally competitive”, Ashiru added.
Every country must appreciate the roles that engineers play in creating and sustaining civilization. Engineering professionals have a stake in providing solutions to our shared problems as a nation
To the professional bodies, Asiru said there is the need to advocate and standardize practice, as engineers have to be compulsorily registered and institutions of learning accredited; they needed to be put on a career path of continuous professional development.
Also, indigenous companies have to be certified and regulated; ethics and standards should be further entrenched, professional bodies must air their voice when it comes to policy formulations in all the areas that affect the practice of engineering.
“The world, where it is and where it will be, is on the drawing board of the engineers. Fellow engineers, the present and the future of Nigeria depend on you. It is your creativity and innovation with the mindset of entrepreneurship that will guarantee that we are no more dumping grounds for Korea, Indonesia and China. It will also ensure that we have a rapid development”, he said.
In her speech, the new chairman, who called for collective efforts, pledged her resolve to broaden the scope of engineering practice in Nigeria. “Therefore, whatever the situation, we must continue to work together until we have shown the world that Nigerian Mechanical Engineers are not just on the engineering map but also making the country proud.
According to Akingbagbohun, the importance of professional development to the growth and aspiration of engineers could not be underestimated in a world where new knowledge springs up every day, adding that engineers as technical professionals therefore have to constantly upgrade themselves.
She assured that NIMechE under her administration would reform its training plans, as workshops and seminars would be organised to assist its members in upgrading their skills.
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