President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Otis Anyaeji, FNSE, FAEng, led a delegation of senior engineers on an official visit to the Vice President of the Federation, Prof, Yemi Osinbajo, GCON.
The meeting was at the instance of the NSE President who sought an opportunity to present NSE’s position on key national issues to the Presidency.
After observing the protocol, The NSE President, Engr. Anyaeji delivered a Presentation titled, “Missing Link in Nigeria’s Development: Insufficient Engineers in the Policy Space”. The Presentation dwelt on cogent issues such as Engineering Economics, Industrial Engineering and Governance in Nigeria, Project Financing, Power, Industrialisation, Codes & Standards, Cost Engineering, Infrastructure Assessment & Reporting, Real estate & Land Use, Bridging, Greening & Energy Harvest from African Deserts, Engineers in Government, etc.
The highlight of the NSE presentation are as follows:
On Cost Engineering –
“…On national capital expenditure, engineering projects account for over 90% of costs. We demand that the government challenges NSE with cost engineering (i.e. planning, scheduling, estimating and control) of engineering projects”.
On Real Estate and Land Use –
“…With Nigeria’s population at over 170m and its land mass below 1m sq km, land is certainly scarce. Government ought to have started a deliberate plan for vertical city development. This will throw up urban engineering challenges for solutions for adequate housing, transportation, water supply, sanitation, electric power supply, telecommunications, environmental protection, using local resources”.
On Bridging the African Desert –
“…Government efforts in taming the desert and promoting greening should be commended and encouraged. We request that NSE-TAD be co-opted to the Federal Government’s Council on the Great Green Belt, and Committee on the Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline”.
On Engineers in Government –
“…In Nigeria, the public office selection and appointment pattern has shown a deliberate and conscious scheme to keep Engineers out of the public policy spaces in both the executive and legislative arms of government. We hope to change this”.
On Power –
“Your Excellency would note that since commencement of NERC an Engineer has not occupied the seat of Chairman. The continued poor performance of the sector is strongly linked to this.
“The Society has in her Open Letter to Mr. President published in the Guardian and Daily Trust Newspapers (Tuesday February 2 & Wednesday February 3, 2016 respectively) prayed His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, FNSE, to mandate that the new Board of NERC to take over from the last Board whose tenure elapsed on December 22, 2015, is composed of ENGINEERS designated as suggested above.
“We seize this opportunity to formally present copies of the aforementioned publication, and to respectively request Mr. Vice President to assist in any capacity to bring sustainable change in the power sector through a properly constituted NERC”.
In his response, the Vice President thanked NSE for the visit and joked that from the Presentation, he could gather that Engineers make perfect Economists, perfect Accountants, perfect Politicians and even perfect Lawyers. He added humorously: “…but we must not forget that God is a God of Justice who operates with a legal mind”.
Prof. Osinbajo, however, acknowledged that there was no doubt at all about the importance of engineering in the governance of any nation, if that nation is focused on genuine development. He went further to say:
“…But I must emphasise that, as is with other professions, I have my reservation about the quality of engineering education in our country today. We must lay emphasis on the way we teach engineering in tertiary institutions today; we need to go back and look at the curriculum.
“The capacity to think critically and solve problems is not to be assumed because one is an Engineer. Creativity must be emphasized in the curriculum because once training is defective, there will be problem with the practice”.
The Vice President said that the document presented will be accorded thorough study by the respective departments after which he will be advised appropriately. He promised to do justice to the requests made; for example, he said he would immediately direct that the Minister of Environment be briefed on the proposal for collaboration on NSE-TAD (NSE Taming African Deserts).
The NSE delegation included the Deputy President, Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, FNSE, Past President Engr. Ibrahim K. Inuwa, OFR, FNSE, FAEng, Past President Engr. Charles Mbanefo, FNSE, Past President Engr. Habu Gumel, OON, FNSE, FAEng, Past President & President of COREN, Engr. Kashim Ali, FNSE, mni, Past President Engr. Mustafa Shehu, FNSE, Immediate Past President Engr. Ademola Olorunfemi, FNSE, former Head of Service of the Federation, Engr. Ebele Okeke, CFR, FNSE, Vice President Engr. Mrs. Margaret Oguntala, FNSE, Vice President Engr. Giandomenico Massari, FNSE, EXCO Member Engr. Olatunde Akinyeye, FNSE, EXCO Member Engr. Dr. Edith Ishidi, FNSE, EXCO Member Engr. Mrs. Aishatu Umar, FNSE, Executive Secretary Engr. Olusola Obadimu, MNSE, Ag. Director, Professional Development, Engr. Ovens Ehimatie, MNSE and Head, Media & Publications, Mr. Abdulkadir Aliyu.