.. Awosika urged women in engineering to diversify..
The Association of Nigerian Women Engineers of Nigeria, AWPEN, the umbrella body of women engineers in Nigeria ushered in new President in a colourful ceremony as Engr Dr. Felicia Agubata officially passed the baton to new President Engr Funmilola Ojelade in Lagos.
The ceremony which attracted stakeholders from both engineering and non engineering sectors across the country was chaired by the NSE President, Engr Babagana Mohammed and had in attendance others such as the Governor of Osun state Adegboyega Oyetola, who was represented by his deputy, Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo, The Chairman First Bank of Nigeria Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Former COREN President Engr Kashim Abdul Ali, the first lady of Borno State Engr Habiba Babagana Umara Zulum, Engr Adeniran Ibitoye, NSE Vice President, Engr Olu Maduka, Founding President of APWEN and host of others.
The outgoing President, Dr Felicia Agubata during her speech reflected on her tenure and announced that APWEN is on a bigger journey as she described her tenure as “Spark Plug”. She attributed her administration accomplishments to teamwork and “incredible” people she worked with. While expressing excitement that APWEN can only get better due to the strong bond of cooperation among members.
“”my role was to be the “SPARK PLUG” of the massive engine that the Association of Professional Women Engineers has become. Without a working “SPARK PLUG”, an engine will not run. There will be nothing to ignite the fuel and start the combustion process.”
In her own address, the new president Engr. Funmilola Ojelade, vowed to build on the legacies of her predecessors and also empower more women in engineering. She said the Association will make “deliberate efforts to seek and exploit opportunities that are reserved exclusively for women” while also assisting women in engineering to develop their skills in order to compete within their chosen areas of specialization.
Ojelade called for what she described as the the need for a ‘revolution of girl-child’, while also seeking encouragement for women to achieve professional excellence as leaders in their vocations and the society.
According to her, the association has attained significant height and visibility impacting lives of girls and pupils in primary/secondary schools through scholarship awards and honours for engineering professionals who are role model. He however stressed that more needs to be done to boost participation of the girl-child in STEM career.
She stressed that the ‘invent it, build it’ initiative, an innovative programme to encourage girls take up STEM related career, would be further expanded across the six geopolitical zones of the country, to advance the participation of more girls and women in engineering.
NSE president, Engr. Babagana Mohammed lauded the tenure of the past president of APWEN, Dr. Felicia Agubata for championing programmes that drew government and other stakeholders’ attention to the education of the girl-child, with emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), for both the students and their teachers.
Engr Babagana Mohammad charged the new President to lead by example by exhibiting quality leadership skills for others to follow. In his word: “As we all know, nothing good comes easy, therefore her present status can be explained against the backdrop of hard work and dedication to the ideals of NSE. I have no doubt in my mind at all that as the President of APWEN, she will put all her knowledge and experience to bear in moving APWEN to the next level in the drive for the growth of Engineering. We will look forward to a very purposeful tenure, and be rest assured that we will offer our full support from the Headquarters.”
The Guest Speaker at the occasion, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, chairman First Bank of Nigeria,, while speaking on ‘Diversity of expression’ acknowledged the shortage of women in science and engineering in the country and stressed that the development is not due to absence of women that are smart enough to get through it but the lack of diversity of gender which has rob off negatively on the engineering profession.
Awosika urged women in engineering, to be open-minded and understand that engineering education only enhance certain approach to do things in terms of specificity, and attention to details. She advised them to apply the skills that the profession offers, to every other endeavours of life and impact more lives by finding solutions to problems.
“Even though you are trained as engineers, use your training to restructure a society that has no structure, and rebuild a society where the process of governance requires discipline. Don’t walk away with just your engineering degree or engineering work, but be the guy who because of your engineering training can challenge the government process because it’s not working as it should and help to redesign the process in a way that there would be continuity”.
“Encourage the young women and offer them the options that the world of engineering offers, that they could be anything they want to be. How does the skill you acquired combine with the gifts and talents of your life and bring them together to change the world, create value. You need to think outside of the box. Take out the rigidness of the profession and make it simpler for the next generation to understand that it is not as difficult as people thinks but have capacity to learn, innovate and do great things,” she added.
As the father of the day, the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, rejoiced with the new APWEN President and commended the tremendous efforts of the women engineers for the laudable projects in catching them young; Invent It, Build It. He also charged the new President to concentrate more on capacity building.
“Encourage the young women and offer them the options that the world of engineering offers, that they could be anything they want to be.- Ibkun Aowsika”
Other dignitaries present at the investiture ceremony include, the representative of COREN President, past APWEN Presidents, the Vice Presidents and other NSE National Executive members. Mr. Abbas Umar Masanawa MD/CE, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, wife of Delta State Deputy Governor, Engr. Dr. Ebierin Otuaro, FNSE and delegates from the State of Osun and other parts of the country.
Winner of the Invent it Build it challenge University Edition
The winners of the Invent It Build it Challenge category for Universities were presented award at the event.
COREN Past President, Engr Kashim Ali
Engr Agubata, Engr Babagana and Engr Mrs and Mr Ojelade