On Thursday,December 13, the capacity hall of Afe Babalola Auditorium at University of Lagos was filled to the brim with some of the finest professionals and veteran engineers in Nigeria, as they gathered to honour one of Nigeria’s finest power Engineers.
Chaired by former Group Managing Director, NNPC, Engr Funsho Kupolokun, FNSE, FAEng, the event officially unveiled the Foluseke Abidemi Somolu Foundation to the general public as a way of immortalizing the late Engr Foluseke Abidemi Somolu, who died three years ago. He spent his entire career in services of Nigeria Power Sector, and left legacies behind for generations to come.
The event, anchored by Engr Mrs Christy Adelowo, FNSE supported by Engr Akintayo Akintola, FNSE started with the introduction of dignitaries and Board of Trustees before the Chairman of the occasion, Engr Funsho Kupolokun address the audience.
Engr Funsho Kupolokun, former GMD, NNPC, in his address used the opportunity to recall the traits and extra-ordinary acts of the late icon, Seke (as he was fondly called) during his life time. He paid tribute to late engineer, with whom he had more than just professional relationship but also personal relationship spanning almost 50 years.
According to him, “Engr Somolu was a man of outstanding integrity and incorruptibility. A man of courage and conviction who was ready to speak truth to power irrespective of the circumstances or personal risks. “
Engr Somolu was unfriendly with trivialities; always taking his assignments serious, and will refuse to cut corner no matter the circumstances. He was an unusually patriotic Nigerian who sacrificed his comfort for upliftment of people in need, while promoting excellence in others regardless of tribal or political inclination.
“Engr Somolu is easily remembered by all whom he mentored as a brilliant, hardworking and meticulous professional electrical engineer. He was resourceful and well researched in his eloquent presentations, outstanding writings and numerous publications.” He said.
Various personalities and industry veterans and family members took turn to recall the impact and influence of late Engr Somolu in a moving narratives that further justify why a foundation is created to embody his best qualities.
Engr Somolu was an unusually patriotic Nigerian who sacrificed his comfort for upliftment of people in need, while promoting excellence in others regardless of tribal or political inclination
The GMD, Sahara Power group, Mr. Kola Adesina, was on hand to launch the Foundation which is named Foluseke Abidemi Somolu Foundation. He praised the character of late Somolu who also served as senior Special Assistant on Power to two Presidents of Federal Republic of Nigeria and frowned at the politicization of power sector in Nigeria. He expressed dissatisfaction with the situation where Nigeria struggle to produce power around 4000MW despite the capabilities of Nigerian engineers. He Urged the Engineers to participate in political process and take their place in the power sector policy in the interest of Nigeria’s economic growth.
Prof. James Momoh , Executive Chairman/CEO, The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission supporting the Foundation and later presenting Paper on “ The Nigerian Power Supply Question: Challenges and Solutions.” Where he dug into journey so far by the Nigerian Power Sector, through the eyes of the Commission as well as recommended ways forward.
Earlier, the wife of late Somolu, an accomplished engineer of repute, a Fellow of NSE and NAE, who is also the Chair of the Foundation Board of Trustee, had shared her last moment with the late Somolu. Noting that Nigeria lost someone who had the will and know-how to rectify the perennial power challenges. Engr Somolu’s grasp of knowledge and every detail of Nigeria’s power sector is astounding.
Engineers should participate in political process and take their place in the power sector policy in the interest of Nigeria’s economic growth.
The event attracted host of engineering veterans, industry practitioners, academic community, different generations of engineers in attendance including the up and coming. It was a great opportunity for reminiscence as various speakers recall the professional interaction and impact made by late Somolu. The daughter of late engineer, Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi, Executive Director, W-Tech rounded off the event by presenting Vote of Thanks on behalf of the family.
Some of the Personalities that graced the event include past and present Presidents of NSE Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, (Current President NSE) Engr Dr Segun Ajayi (Past President NSE) and Engr Olorunfemi Ademola, (Past President NSE), Engr Dr. Oluji, Engr Ayo Fanimokun, High Chief Engr Akintunde Zedomi, Engr Dr. Wilson Ali, Engr Titi Omo-Ettu, Chairman, Digital Bridge Institute, Prof. R. I. Salawu, Past President of Academy of Engineering, Engr Margaret Oguntala, Dr. Oye Eribake, Prof. Frank Okafor, and hosts of others.
FAS Foundation is a registered Not for Profit Organisation in Nigeria which envisioned as a way of ensuring that the goals for wish Engr Somolu worked so relentlessly throughout his life will be achieved and surpassed . Among its objectives are: To support the education, teaching and research in the Nigerian electrical and power engineering (generation, transmission, and distributions) sectors, to promote and celebrate excellence in power engineering professional services, to promote the adoption and advancement of technology in Nigeria and to support the upcoming generations of engineering students and aspiring power engineers to distinguish themselves in theory and practice.
The FAS Foundation Board of trustees are Dr. (Mrs.) Olatokunbo Somolu, FNSE, FAEng, (Chair), Engr Reuben Okeke FNSE, Engr Emmanuel Akinwole, FNSE ( Honorary Secretary), Engr Otis Anyaeji FNSE, FAEng, Prof. Segun Aderibigbe, FNSE, FAEng, Mr. Kola Adeshina, Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi, and Mr Seke Somolu.
For donations to support the realisation of the foundation objectives ,kindly pay to, “Foluseke Abidemi Somolu Foundation, UBA Account Number :1021598507. Kindly forward evidence and receipt copy to firstname.lastname@example.org for proper acknowledgment.
Compiled by Rabiu Yussuf, Isqil Najim