The Nigerian Engineer today is truly in bad shape. Both the Nigerian Engineer and Government are to blame. But more the government. The Government is in charge of policy. Even in developed countries, the government creates the environment where its citizens function.
A favourably operating environment is created through policy framework. For example and to be specific here, if Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd was completed as planned, along with Delta Steel Co. Ltd and if other inland Steel Rolling Mills were functional, the Steel Sector would thrive. There would be reduced importation, jobs would be created and the relevant down-stream industries would come into existence. Steel Development is a critical infrastructure for any country, talk less of developing countries like Nigeria with enormous market potentials.
Another example is the Petrochemical Industry. These are sectors with huge potentials for industrial growth due to their multiplier effects.
Nigeria currently spends trillions in doubtful “fuel subsidies”. Construction of refineries, even if joint ventures, would provide jobs in millions directly and indirectly. The fuel refined will have a market at home and some for export. Even our poorer neighbors successfully build and operate refineries. In the 21st century, we are inviting foreigners to run our utilities in the name of investors and in the process, throw out our Citizens into the already overloaded labour market. Why can’t we find out what is wrong and employ the necessary political will to solve it?
We have been wobbling politically from pillar to post since 1960. Have we asked the British or Americans or even Japanese to come and run our government? Just because we have been fumbling?
On the other hand, the Nigerian Engineer does not make his presence felt by accident or by design. He knows that all decisions are taken at the highest office. Those who venture unfortunately go there as politicians not as professionals. They are contented with personal gains as opposed to working for common good.
They patronize themselves and their relations. They will even keep their President (NSE) waiting when on a visit. When he invites them, they will not honour the invitation. They will never identify with their professional body. When they are out they become like fish out of water. At the lower level, everyone wants to be a consultant. No venture in manufacturing even at cottage level meanwhile opportunities abound in a country flowing with milk and honey.
The problems of the Nigerian Engineer;
The Nigerian Engineer has obvious limitations. A good number, self created. An average Nigerian Engineer is not a good mixer. He fails to know that the whole of creation is inter-dependent and that synergy has tremendous potentials. Self – centredness and greed are a serious limitation.
The average Nigerian Engineer does not believe in knowledge enhancement. They don’t want to have anything to do with management, accountancy, public relations, human resource development etc. forgetting one who fails to be diverse, is highly restricted.
On the other hand, because of his operating environment that limits him, he tends to limit himself. Because there is no government work, the world must come to an end; when as a matter of fact, education is about exposure and engineering in particular, is the cornerstone of creation. Look around and create opportunities for yourself.
Engr. Rabiu is a Vice President of Nigerian Society of Engineers and a one time Chairman, NSE Kano. He is Principal Partner Ar-Consulting.
Excerpt from paper: THE Nigerian Engineer and National Development by Engr. Ali Rabiu, FNSE,