Engr Ganiyu Owolabi, the Managing Director of Lagos based Banilek Ventures Limited and Chairman of NSE Engineering Week, Ikeja Branch spoke to Isqil Najim on the Branch forthcoming programme and the state of Nigerian Oil Industry. Enjoy:
Isqil Najim: Good morning, my name is isqil Najim, it is a pleasure to have the honour of being with you.
Isqil Najim: Can you briefly tell us about yourself, sir?
I am Engr. OWOLABI Ganiyu (FNSE, FNIMechE) a Graduate of Mechanical Engineering who recently retired from the Services of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after working in various Subsidiaries including PPMC, ETD, NAPIMS and the Nigerian Gas Company Limited for thirty-three (33) years. I am married with Children and currently the CEO of Lagos based Banilek Ventures Limited. I belong to the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
Isqil Najim: you have been one of those knowledgeable about Nigeria oil and gas, what is your thought debate about the suggestion of serving governor that NNPC should be disbanded, what can be done to make the corporation more effective?
Engr Ganiyu Owolabi: The Governor’s suggestion that NNPC be “disbanded” is uncalled for as the Federal Government of Nigeria still needs a body to coordinate, supervise and manage the assets of the Country in the oil& gas industry. The Corporation can be made more effective by reducing to the barest minimum the 3rd Party influence in the governance of the Corporation. The PIB currently awaiting passage by the National Assembly could give a NEW NNPC (depending on what the new nomenclatures come out). There are very many seasoned and experienced Nigerians within the system that can get the Organisation back to working like it was in 1970s and 1980s.
With the recent announcement of a New GMD and subsequent reduction of the Directorates to four (4), it is hoped that new life will soon be put into the Corporation so long as the 3rd Party interference/control is reduced.
Isqil Najim: Looking at the engineering skill angle, our youths complain of being left in the wood, but we are aware NNPC regularly invest in training of young Nigerians, can you give us insight into some of these trainings and how young engineers can benefit from them?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: Apart from the on the job training, NNPC has an appropriate Career path training programme that ensures each Young Nigerian entering the Corporation gets appropriate knowledge within three years of engagement. There are also opportunities for attachments of Young new entrants to well established oil and gas Companies for a period of time as a form of training. Project attachments also serve as training grounds for Young Engineers. For the academically inclined Engineers, the Corporation supports attainment of higher degrees.
Isqil Najim: NSE Ikeja branch is one of the foremost branches in the country; having won several awards and recognitions… could you give us insight into activity and welfare package to members?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: : The Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers is the Branch to Beat. In the past, there was Insurance cover for each member as a form of welfare to them but this has been kept in the cooler in recent past. However, Ikeja Branch Members still enjoy; Welfare packages for marriages, burials, new babies and other socials, Celebrate Members’ birthdays at OGMs with cards and cakes made available by the Branch, Attendance of Members at NSE National Conferences are subsidised in transportation and accommodation. We also support members who are in need of employment by releasing vacancies to our members as soon as companies make request for Staff.
Isqil Najim: The branch regularly conducted its annual engineering week.. What is the significant of this event and target objectives?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: : The week ensures that the Branch Members get opportunity to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a Group by relating with the Motherless and less privileged members of the Society within the operational area of the Branch; interact with Elders/Fellows of the Branch; compete amongst themselves and wind down with a Dinner to end the week. The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Branch is also organised to fall within the week.
Isqil Najim: what should members and non-members expect from this year event?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: : The 2015 Engineering Week has the following outlook
Monday (17/8/2015) – Charity Walk and Visit to the Motherless Home at Fagba, Lagos. Various gifts will be presented to the Home.
Tuesday (18/8/2015) –Engagement with Engineers in Lagos State Public Service (11.00am to 2.00pm) within the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Lagos
Engineering Games (4.00pm to 6.00pm) in Table Tennis; Opon Ayo; Chess, Draft and Scrabble all to be held within the Branch Secretariat, Ogba, Lagos
Wednesday (19/8/2015)- Hanging out with Elders and Fellows of NSE – ZEN GARDENS (a Chinese Restaurant) on Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA, Lagos
Thursday (20/8/2015) – Annual General Meeting of the Branch in the Secretariat
Friday (21/8/2015) – Dinner/ Business Launcheon and Awards- To be held in BEST WESTERN PLUS, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos from 7.00pm
Isqil Najim: :How can one be a member of NSE Ikeja branch ?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: Interested members will need to visit the website of the Branch (www.nseikejabranch.org ) and read through NSE MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS which contains the details on criteria for becoming either a Graduate or Corporate Member. The Branch operates a Yahoo Group e-mail where further information is given to Members of the Branch.
Isqil Najim: : Let’s get personal, how do unwind?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: By watching football and socialising. As a member of the Lagos Country Club, playing badminton and interacting with members at the Club. Travelling gives me great satisfaction and keeps me busy.
Isqil Najim: : Your Word Of Advice To Engineers Out There?
EngrGaniyuOwolabi: The road may seem to be difficult/rough at the beginning of one’s career, but with dedication and commitment, all Engineers have satisfactory and fulfilling future. Networking through attendance of various events could also foster relationship with other Engineers. Senior Engineers are still shying away from participating in Nigerian Politics which does not do any good to the Profession.
Isqil Najim: Thank you for your time