Our Pioneers in engineering include Herbert Heelas Macaulay (1893) who is regarded as the doyen of Nigerian Engineers. He was a civil engineer who practiced Land Surveying which is only part of his training. He finally made his mark as a nationalist in politics where he is regarded as the father of modern Nigerian Politics.
Other university graduate engineers that followed were George ‘Debayo Agbebi (1911) Ishola Philips (1930), Robert O Staverley (1934) Adekunle Coker (1934), Oladotun Coker (1935) Ekundayo Ajayi (1936) and Adeniyi Williams (1936)
Engr. Chief Adeniyi Williams (President, NSE 1959-62) had a successful civil service career where he retired as Chief Engineer from the University of Ibadan in the 1970s. Another Past President, Engr. Igiehon, FNSE succeeded him and retired from the same Institution. (Oyeleye October lecture, 14 October 1988)
The next group of engineers did not qualify until the late 40s partly because of the 2nd World war (1939-1945) and partly because of lack of effective utilization of Nigerian Engineers, which discouraged enrolment in engineering in the first place.
These engineers were substantially graduates of Yaba Higher College, which was established in 1934, and later went abroad to qualify. They were mainly civil Engineers, the most senior of them was Mr. Iweka (1946). At independence in 1960, we had directors of works, Engr. S. O. Williams (Lagos) Engr. (Dr) T. M. Aluko (Ibadan) Mr. Uzodike (Enugu) and an expatriate, Mr. Jones (Kaduna).(Oyeleye October lecture, 14 October 1988)
The three Nigerians, (Williams, Aluko & Uzodike) according to records, enjoyed some measure of understanding. They enjoyed the respect of their politician contemporaries. They were professionals with wide experience. The then strong civil service tradition of respect for sound professional advice and the fact that the previous expatriate Directors of works were members of the Government at cabinet level was of great assistance to them. Their areas of contribution were on road construction, water supply and government housing development. The later generation of civil engineers (Fadahunsi, Akande, Usman, Osili, Uzodike, and later Otobo) built the tradition of excellence in the civil service.
The Nigerian Railways was the citadel of Mechanical Engineering before independence. Where another former NSE President, J.C. Egbuna and FAO Philips set records.
Engr. Dr. Demola Banjo and Engr. M.N.A. Manafa (Manafa Power) another Past President of NSE, were Pioneers in the Electricity Industry. They were of high quality and caliber.
In education, the likes of Prof. Oladapo, Prof Adekola, Prof Orangun, Prof. V. A. Williams, Prof Owolabi, Prof Enahoro, Prof Kuale, Prof Makanjuola, Prof Ogunye and a host of others made their indelible marks.
In design and consultancy, Obi Obembe & Associates, Enplan Group, Yolas Consultants, Ette Aro & Partners, Yaroson & Partners, Teckno Consults and a host of others have their footprints printed on the sand of times.
In the telecommunications sectors, Engr. V.A. Haffner, Engr. A.A. Bodede, Engr. Teju Oyeleye (Past President) Engr. V. I. Maduka (Past President) and others, were the success stories.
In effect, the Nigerian Engineer made impact in all facets of our national development.
Excerpt from paper: THE Nigerian Engineer and National Development by Engr. Ali Rabiu, FNSE,