A high-power delegation of the Nigerian Society of Engineers paid rcently paid a courtesy/solidarity visit to the newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal, MNSE.
In his address, NSE President and leader of delegation, Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, FNSE, while congratulating the SGF on the appointment which he described as befitting going by Engr. Lawal’s nationalistic disposition, said:
“Over the years, NSE has continually agitated for qualified and patriotic professionals to be considered for strategic positions of influence in government, in order to bring about the progress that we desire. We believe that your appointment is an indication that Mr. President has come with the desired CHANGE”.
He went further to discuss issues in national infrastructure delivery which require immediate attention of government and presented NSE Position Papers on Infrastructure, Power and Energy, Petroleum Subsidy, Transport Sector Reforms as well as Enhanced Entry Point Salary Scale for Engineers.
Engr. Olorunfemi also delivered letters inviting President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to the 2015 National Engineering Conference holding in Akure between November 16 and 20, 2015, through the SGF.
Engr. B. D. Lawal, in his witty response, described his feeling about the visit as overwhelming. He revealed that the first congratulatory card and letter he received upon announcement of his appointment were from the NSE family and it was on the basis of that filial consideration that he decided that one of the early courtesy visits he will allow will be that of NSE.
The SGF shed more light on the three cardinal programmes of government, namely Security, Anti-Corruption and Mass Employment, derived for the manifesto of the governing Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). He enthused that all three programmes have some bearing with engineering:
“Engineers necessarily have to be at the heart of development and prosperity of any nation. This is the reality all over the world. I have practiced hands-on engineering all my life; here I am now doing very well already as SGF (general laughter).
“This government understands that the country needs Engineers; we must fix the perennial challenge of Power, our Roads must be in good shape, Telecommunications must be functional and Transportation issues must be resolved. That is why, for example, the question of National Carrier has resurfaced. We are also focusing on Mining and Agriculture”, he said.
He however had a word of advice for his professional colleagues, in a matter-of-fact manner:
“…Engineers must also understand that the value of their work and presentations will determine their worth. The Office of the SGF is not a contract-awarding office but I know for sure that this government will do competitive bidding for all contracts.
“So we must develop ourselves to the level that we can necessarily compete favourably. I can assure you that for the first time, we will have people in government who will go through documents, understand them and advise based on value of content. Not sentiments”.
After the addresses and goodwill exchanges, the meeting went into an interactive session covering subjects such as capacity building for Engineers, patronage for Nigerian manufacturing companies, appropriate remuneration for engineering graduates, desire for more investment in manufacturing, etc.
NSE delegation included: NSE Deputy President, Engr. Otis Anyaeji, FNSE, past President Engr. P. B. Oyebolu, FNSE, past President and President of COREN, Engr. Kashim Ali, FNSE, mni, past President M. B. Shehu, FNSE, Engr. Ms Ebele Okeke, FNSE, Engr. Mrs. Mayen Adetiba, FNSE, Engr. Mrs. Aishat Umar, FNSE, Engr. John Kwaghe, MNSE, Engr. Adeolu Odusote, FNSE and the Executive Secretary, Engr. Olusola Obadimu, MNSE.
Also present at the meeting from the Office of the SGF were the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Dr. Henry Akpan, Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Abbass, Director of Administartion, Mrs. Hajara Adam Modu and Director of Press, Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi.