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Honouring Ademola Olorunfemi: A Towering figure walking steadily in service of engineering and humanity

“In the plan of God for you as a child of destiny, both those who loves you and those who hates you have a part to play in bringing about the fulfilment of your destiny” – Pastor E. A. Adeboye,G.O. RCCG Open Heaven, Dec 23rd 2015

Engr Ademola Olorunfemi with Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu, both past President of NSE

By rule of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, you can only become President after serving as a Chairman of a Branch. And you must have served as Vice President of NSE for certain number of times. But what will you do if you run for election as Vice President and having never served as a Chairman of a Branch and you came distant 4th thus missing out in top three required to occupy the posts of the Vice President of NSE as the Society only need three? Many would have given up and probably went back to start all over but providence had another plan.

. Years down the lane, he was not only to become the president but also achieved many Firsts, leaving behind legacies in the Nigerian Engineering cycle that is etched in memories. I welcome you to the world Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, the first “Minority” President of NSE! Minority, because up till that moment, the big Three in engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil) have dominated the leadership of NSE. He is an Agricultural Engineer. He is also the first Active academician to serve as the president of the NSE.

As the Akure Branch of NSE is all but set to Honour Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, at an event which is billed to attract two State Governors, with the renown, lawyer and Educationist and Elder statesman, Aare Afe Babalola as the Distinguished Speaker, MyEngineers deems it fit to honour this illustrious son of the Ondo who has contributed immensely into engineering over the years by showcasing the real man, Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, FNSE, FNIM- who fits into our concept of TOTAL ENGINEER.

Engr Olorunfemi with late Chief Engr Ralph Alabi, first Nigerian Chairman and MD of Guinness Nigeria

When I first met this easygoing Engineer, I was a young graduate serving the NSE Ikeja Branch as its first Graduates/Students Coordinator. In those days, I had so many ideas and I called so many to look up to as a guide. He was one of those who lend his listening ears and even provided occasional guide. Never tiring of seeing you around and always ready to listen; I learned my first lesson in corporate world that you are never busy, you only prioritise. And when someone gives you his time, it is not because they don’t have other things to do, it is because they believe in you and trust you with that moment of their time. Make them appreciate spending it and make them proud.

Engr Otis Anyaeji, Immediate Past president NSE and current President WAFEO, Engr Ademola Olorunfemi, Mr. Adekunle Oyinloye, MD, The Infrastructure Bank , Engr Chief Ajibola Alade, former NSE President, Engr Ali Kashim, COREN President

Over the years, the Nigerian Engineering community have been richly endowed with exceptional leaders who led the Association and left indelible impacts in the sand of time. Perhaps due to the huge challenges facing the engineering in the country, or the over-politicisation of the governance by politicians, or due low publicity of their efforts beyond the engineering circles, the general public and indeed, many engineers have not been paying attention to the many silent, yet amazing works and sacrifices these professionals have been doing or accomplished.

We therefore deemed it fit once a while to celebrate these individuals and leaders in Engineering. Today, we bring to you, Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, a towering figure walking steadily in service of engineering and humanity.

To many, why would we celebrate? The answer would probably lies in unraveling the man himself.

Who is Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi FNSE FNIM

Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi is a man who has seen it all in the Nigeria Engineering profession, yet continues to give his all with renewed energy. In Nigeria, from the lecture room, to entrepreneurship to the policy formulation and execution as well as the institutional framework of the Nigerian Society of Engineers of which he is a former President, he has shown that a man who is ready for leadership will never miss the target when his time comes. His story to the top is an inspiration to anyone who aspire to be at the top regardless of where he starts.

An “underdog,” who continue rise, his only faith is in hard-work and belief in those who believe in him. He heeded the advice to go for NSE leadership when odds was high against him and eventually found himself entrusted by fellow Engineers. His rise to NSE top seat all began as a Student where he gave his all in services of engineering student associations at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife (formerly Univeristy of Ife). He was the President of the Agricultural Engineering Students Society and also served as the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian University Engineering Students Association (NUESA).

THE MAN ENGINEER ADEMOLA ISAAC OLORUNFEMI

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant- Max DePree

From the Academia to Public service as well as the Professional Calling, Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi has traversed the Nigerian nation and beyond. Born on the 23rd November 1960, to the prominent and highly respected Olajugba Royal family of Supare-Akoko, Akoko-South Local Government of Ondo State, South-West Nigeria. He had his primary education at the Ibadan City Council Primary School, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State and secondary education at the famous St. Joseph’s College Ondo and came out in Division 1 in the West AfricanSecondary Certificate Examination Council in 1978.

Engr. Olorunfemi thereafter proceded to the prestigious University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Great Ife in 1979 to study Agricultural Engineering and graduated in 1984. He was employed immediatly after his National Youth Service as an Assistant Lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic in 1985.

Between 1985 and 1996, Engr. Olorunfemi had through hard work evident in his research publications and papers, teaching and supervision of students’ projects rose from the post of Asssistant Lecturer to LecturerIII 1988, Lecturer II1990, Lecturer I 1993, Senior Lecturer 1996, Principal Lecturer 2002 and Chief Lecturer2006. He bagged aMasters Degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1991 at the premier University of Ibadan.

As a lecturer, Engr. Olorunfemi, a man of tested adminstrative acumen occupied different positions which included, Head,Agricultural Engineering Department; Director, School of Engineering; Director, LASPOTECH Konsult Limited, the business arm of the Polytechnic. He was the Chairman, External Affairs Relations Committee from its inception in 1998 all through 2011, when he was called for service in his home State, Ondo. As Chairman, External Relations Committee, Engr. Olorunfemi led the Committee to facilitate several collaborations, partnerships and linkages with both public and private sectors home and abroad. He attracted several grants to the Polytechnic, also from within and without.

Having proved his mettle in the Academia, and distinguishing himself as a Manager of men and resources through his successfull and examplary management of LASPOTECH Konsult Ltd., as well as his proffesional exploits as an Agricutural Engineer, the Government of his home State Ondo, decided that his expertise, knowledge and managerial ability were needed back home to boost the Agricultural fortune of the Stateand thus called him home to serve as the State Commissioner for Agriculture between 2011-2013.

As the Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture Ondo State, Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi intiated and executed rural based agricultural policies aimed at introducing high yeild crops, increased Mechanized farming, and extensive Agricultural Extension Programs all focused on poverty alleviation, youth and women empowerment as well as improving the fortunes of the State through the export of agricultural products. He was the driver in the Ondo State of the Agricultural Value Chain development of the then Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, giant strides in Agricultural Development.

A committed and widely acclaimed exceptional Engineer and natural leader of men, Engr. Olorunfemi was elected President of the Nigerian Society Of Engineers and served meritoriously between 2014 to 2015. It is also worth mentioning that in recongnition of his immense contributions to the development of the Agricultural Sector of Ondo State as Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko Administration retained him as Special Adviser on Agriculture, even as President of Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE).

Engr. Olorunfemi among other giant strides as President, facilitated the hosting of the 2015 National Conference/AGM, of the Nigerian Society of Engineers with over 5000 participants, as the Maiden event at this prestigious International Conference Centre, to the great admiration of the Government and good people of Ondo State.

Engr. Olorunfemi was not done, as he again, now as Immediate Past President of NSE, and a Council Member of COREN, in less than 10months, brought the Engineering Family to this same magnificent Conference Centre, for the 2016 and 25th COREN Assembly, also with another delegation of about 5000 participants. He was at this time, the Chairman, Main Organising Committee of the 25th Assembly, which served as a turning point in the history of this unique Annual gathering of the Engineering Family.

Engr. Olorunfemi a former Member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN),is a member of various professional bodies both home and abraod. These include; Fellow, Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers; Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers; Member, American Sociery of Agricultural and Biological Engineers; Member, European Society of Engineers; Member, Institution of Agricultural Engineers, United Kingdom, and Fellow, Institute of Personnel Management, Chartered. Engr. Olorunfemi was also a Member of the Advisory Board Infrastructure Incoporated, USA and Council Member, National Agency for Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI.

Engr. Olorunfemi is a very active Member of his Alma Mater St. Joseph’s College Ondo, of which he is the Vice President of the Old Boys Association, and at the home front in Supare- Akoko, he is a Member of the Frontline Ajafa Social Klobb with very prominent Sons of Supare Kingdom.

A widely travelled and Sociable Engineer, fondly refer to as “Network Engineer” Engr. Olorunfemi is a devoted Christian and married to Lovely Omotolani with 4 beautiful children, Adeteniola, Adegboyega, Aderinsola and Adewonuola.

Some of his achievements as NSE President

  1. National Secretariat initiated regular visits to ascertain welfare of members in their official places of employment
  2. NSE members doing well in politics are highly encouraged and supported
  3. Secured approval and took possession of 10.43 Hectares of land for the construction of Engineer’ Mass Housing Projects in the FCT Abuja;
  4. Successfully hosted World Engineering Conference on Sustainable Infrastructures (WECSI) in conjunction with WFEO, the first of its kind in Nigeria with over 4000 in attendance.
  5. Online payment and registration by new members as well as upgrade of online membership portal.
  6. He digitised the activities of the NSE and NSE becoming more prominent on Social media and more accessible with wider information flow to the engineers and the public
  7. Staff Welfare improved
  8. More collaboration with International Bodies
  9. Re-Submission of the Engineers Salary Enhancement Report to the FG
  10. More works on National Engineering Centre
  11. Strong collaboration was established with international professional bodies like engineering forum of Nigeria UK and others to broaden platform for knowledge exchange across international boundary
  12. Championed the production of the maiden Edition of Nigerian Infrastructure Scorecard
  13. Excalated agitation for the replication of Nigerian Content Development Act in all of engineering Sector
  14. More collaboration with COREN with involvement of COREN in NSE professional Exam
  15. Completion of the Presidential wing of the National Engineering Centre, phase 2
  16. Greeter emphasis on Codes and Standards by Divisions of NSE
  17. Building on YEFON as a platform to carry along young Engineers in NSE activities
  18. And more.. and more…

Engr Ademola Olorunfemi in his Own Words (Memorable Quotes)

“The basic of our offer of renewed and active partnership with the Nigerian government and the people of Nigeria is that Nigeria must first seek engineering conquest, in order to gain technological emancipation, upon which economic prosperity shall be made manifest..”

—January 2014 inaugural lecture

“.. Our manufacturing industry has all it takes to produce quality products and add more values to foreign products if government policy provides them enabling environment. To encourage local production and to boost the country’s economy, there is need for appropriate fiscal policy review with the aim of creating market for local manufactures. There is also need for massive national value reorientation that will encourage citizens to patronize made in Nigeria goods to further advance the cause of local content.”

– NSE, Nigeria and Vision 2020 January 2014

Note: (Earlier 2018, the president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari finally signed executive order on local content in engineering procurement. In 2017, Council for the Regulation of Engineering under President Engr. Ali Kashim launched a Made in Nigeria Engineering project Campaign which was attended by Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja. This is a highlight of long years of collective actions of the NSE leadership and other professionals)

Facility tour of Transformer manufacturing Plant in Badagry, Lagos

“I make bold to reiterate that the statement credited to the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises to the effect that there is no company in Nigeria that produces electricity transformers is misleading and a disservice to the efforts of the companies in the manufacturing sector which are contributing to the Nigerian content development. Such statement becomes worrisome, coming from an institution of the federal Government which should take keen interest in the undertaking in the commerce and industry sector of the economy and which major function include minimizing economic inequalities by promoting healthy competition amongst corporate entities. “

-May 2014

“As a professional body and stakeholder in Nigerian’s economic growth, and development project, we owe our fatherland a duty to continually drive debates and discourses on issues of national developments, especially as the concern engineering and infrastructural development..

May 2014

“We join our citizens and the international community to condemn the recent kidnap of our young girls from the Government girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State… we urge government to use every means possible to free these students”

Engr Ademola Olorunfemi, 2014

Engr Otis Anyaenji, Prof Attahiru Jega, former INEC chairman, and Engr Ademola Olorunfemi

“We demand that, moving forward, INEC should embrace E-voting in future elections. NSE has in the last 3 years partnered NIgConSat and deployed E-Voting in conducting elections into its Executive Committees. The use of e-voting will bring about transparency and considerably reduce the post election petitions and conflicts. The time for is to discard the old fashioned voting system characterised by multiple voting encouraged by desperate politicians is now.”

– Ademola Olorunfemi, 2015 On E-Voting for Nigerian Election

Note: (National Assembly has in 2018 passed amendment to INEC Act to officially allow e-voting)

“The NSE has a huge role to play in terms of design of security infrastructure in this country. The NSE needs to let the government know that professional scientific and engineering advice is required, in addition to intelligence advice, in curbing the security challenges our country is currently faced with.

-Ademola Olorunfemi, on Nigerian Security and NSE (World Press Conference on WESCI, 2014)

‘There is no way you can hold NSE responsible for what government is doing if we do not have an input that is documented. We will continue to engage government. I think it is pertinent for the president to have direct communication with presidents of professional bodies, all hurdles should be removed. We can share ideas at every possible time.”

Ademola Olorunfemi, July 2014

“The Engineering profession, just like any other profession has come a long way. It started with the evolution of man because God as the supreme engineer started it with the creation of the world through engineering processes before we humans took over.”

Ademola Olorunfemi, June 2014 ( God was the fist Engineer)

what lies behind and what lies in front, pales in comparison to what lies inside.

“Destiny is a fact. Only God will make it real but for God to make it real, you must fulfill your own part and how do you do that, you must work hard, obey and trust in God.”

Ademola Olorunfemi, 2014 On Lesson life taught Him

“In the area of electric power supply, we need to change focus to have a sustainable national energy plan, with a balanced and sustainable energy mix and the required support infrastructure to fuel it. We have abundant solar, wind, biomass and mini/small/major hydropower resources and sites in Nigeria. What are we doing with them?”

Ademola Olorunfemi, April 2014

On Young Engineers participation in engineering activities

“I will like to remind you that in over four decades of active participation in international activities, we have always assured the full participation of our young engineers to the youth events. This, we believed, would go a long way to give them early exposure and help them in building their career. Therefore challenge you to project your programmes for schools girls in a manner that will spur them to work harder and look forward to taking part in international programmes. ..

– Ademola Olorunfemi, February 2014

“..One aspect of our transport system that we must urgently give the required attention in the interest of the economy is the Railway. The Optimal performance of our railway will no doubt lessen traffic on our roads thereby extending the life span of the roads in addition to the gross reduction of cases of road mishaps.

“We must move in a determined manner as a nation to reclaim our position as a top railway operator on African continent… we recommend speedy amendment of the railway Act through the proposed Railway Bill, being presented to the National Assembly. “

Ademola Olorunfemi, 2014 Press briefing and advise to Nigerian Government.

Note: The current administration has since been massively investing in Railway Sector with light rail commissioned and others being expanded.

Engr Ademola and his wife

“Government should ensure that Bi-lateral agreements, Technical partners Agreements ion Oil and Gas, World bank/Regional development institutions load agreements, should be scrutinised by the National planning Commission, implementing Ministries and COREN, to ensure that clauses inimical to the development of indigenous capacity, or indigenous personnel and local content are excluded. Consequently, the National Planning Commission should be reorganised and properly equipped with professionals in Built Environment, Engineers and the like”

— Ademola Olorunfemi Isaac 2015

”No country in the world has industrialised through trading or commerce (buying and selling goods produced elsewhere): importation of Steel products or worse still selling of crude oil and gas which are indeed refined materials for major industries elsewhere, without the Manufacturing Will.”

-Ademola Olorunfemi on Industrialisation of Nigeria

“Over the years, we noticed with dismay and advocated against the manner in which people without appropriate qualifications or suitability were appointed to run the affairs of Boards of engineering-based ministries, departments and Agencies. It is our fervent desire and hope that this government will consider appointing qualified engineers as heads of relevant MDAs in the following sectors: Energy, Transport, Aviation, Iron and Steel, Works and Housings Water Resources Environment and Oil and Gas.

Ademola Olorunfemi, 2015 in a message to the then SSG to the President.

Mr. Secretary, going back in time, engineering graduates had enhanced entry point of GL 08/5 and progressed to GL 09 after one year, while Medical and Veterinary Doctors came in on GL09 and progress to GL10. It is ironical that while other professionals have moved far up, Engineers have painfully retrogressed, coming into service on GL08/2… We hereby make passionate appeal to you to n kindly use your good office to mounting urge right pressure to cause an end to this injustice.

2015.. While Presenting the NSE Report on Engineers Salary to SSG.

Note: The National Council of Establishment has since approved the demand in 2018 !

“Do not ask what Nigeria Infrastructure can do for you but what you can do to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure stock. This is the clarion call to action and public services by the Nigerian Society of Engineers.”

Engr Ademola while presenting the First Infrastructure Scorecard b the NSE.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

Congratulations!

Compiled by Isqil Najim (follow me on twitter @isqilnajim)

Engr Ademola Olorunfemi and others in a group picture with Esama of Benin

with Engr Ife Akintunde, a Former NSE President and the first and current African Holder of WFEO Medal of Engineering Excellence

Engr Ademola presiding over the last council meeting as the President of NSE. (left) Engr Mrs Mayen Adetiba making an address

With Ogbeni Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State in a Group picture after courtesy visit to the State House
Engr Ademola with COREN President Kashim Ali, Engr Adeniran Ibitoye( then Osogbo NSE Chairman) and Engr Ali Rabiu in Osogbo toward inauguration of ERM Osun State
When Nigerian Engineers Hosted the World.. WECSI
With (FMR) Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and Dr Kadiri Hamza (FMR) Commissioner for Works in Lagos
Engr Olorunfemi with all Living NSE Ikeja Branch Past and Present Chairmen at the Branch Silver Jubilee
at the unveiling of NSE Ikeja Branch History archive. flanked by Engr Yemisi Shylon, Engr Oguntala
Engr Olorunfemi with Engr Yemisi Shylon declaring Open NSE Ikeja Branch History Exhibition. Others, Engr Akintotal, Engr Francis Oguanaman, Engr Odumeru, Engr Ao Fanimokun and isqil Najim at the event
3rd and 4th from left, then WFEO President and Executive Director along with Engr Kashim Ali at the 2015 WEC.
Still at the 2015 WEC with ladies showing traditional Japanese Ceremonial dress
At the 2015 World Engineering Conference WEC, in Japan, as President. from L. Engr Joseph Akinteye, Dr. Marlene Kanga (now WFEO President), Engr Valarie Agberagba, Engr Otis Anyaeji (now WAFEO President) and Engr Margaret Oguntala
At the Investiture of Prof Fola Lasisi as Nigerian Academy of Engineering, 2018

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

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