Dear Young Engineers, There is no point in denigrating our profession just because some issues are beyond our controls and our efforts at putting them right have not been yielding fruits… This constant nagging among some young members and negative name calling of our professional bodies is as good as denigrating of our profession. This variously arise as a result of lack of jobs to go round and lack of opportunities to embark on their professional journey after graduation.
I thought engineers pride themselves as professionals that are trained to solve problems. Why then are some of us running away from solutions and looking for messiah outside ourselves? I thought engineers are the only professionals who would proudly agree with Scott Adams that “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.”
As much as I know some issues affect us as professionals… and some are embarrassing. . I realized from my involvement in the deep works that it will take more than meeting government officials to put them all right.. it will take more than cursing and complaining…the problem sometimes is beyond our professional associations. …it will also take more times.
I am also sad that many young engineers don’t know the difference between NSE and COREN or their respective duties even after graduating from universities and polytechnics. . Where “Engineers in Society” is a compulsory course that they must pass before graduating. So when I read fresh graduates of engineering put in some posts about NSE on social media I tend to ask myself if the NUC had deleted that course from the curriculum or the graduates simply skipped it. How else will I answer a first class graduate of engineering that NSE and COREN are not the same and they don’t have the power of he Federal Government of Nigeria to do as they wish.
I also noticed that many young engineers are self-centred. They think the senior engineers don’t have professional challenges or problems or their companies does not have challenges. They assume that the foreigners taking the local jobs are not affecting the jobs of the seniors engineers… We are all in this together.. the Nigerian economy affects everyone. . Young and old.. public or private sector engineer. We must sow empathy rather that throw abuses and curses in their direction.
For the sake of understanding. COREN is creation of constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. . It derived it’s powers and functions from the constitution and the officers in that Council can never change or expand on their scope as defined by constitution except by amendments of the COREN Act by the National Assembly… what this means is that the fate of COREN is not in hands of engineers or the people running it but in hands of Senators of federal Republic. Unless and until they amend the Act, there is limit to how they can deliver their duties and they can not take certain decision as regard sanctioning foreign firms or compelling government to employ all graduates of engineering. . Even if they flex muscle it will have no impact in Nigerian law and would be considered illegal and unconstitutional should they go beyond their constitutional power. NSE on other hand is a Professional Association registered with CAC.
I therefore appeal to people who constantly denigrate COREN over everything including lack of jobs in the country to kindly read the COREN Act or find their COREN handbook given to them as part of the “Engineers in Society” course and read again.
Yes COREN has not been performing miracles. but no..it can’t unilaterally effect most of the changes demand by younger and older engineers neither can NSE unilaterally do it. The responsibility for that lies in National assembly. To the best of my knowledge there had been many overture to the Senators on this. Hence it is unfair to continue to demean ourselves just because results are not coming faster as we expected. Other professionals that we compare ourselves to also have their challenges and all of them need the attention of the FG and National Assembly . The constitutional function of NJC is not the same as COREN.
The question we should be asking is.. what can we do about this and how can we as members be a part in ensuring that COREN is empowered by National Assembly to widen it’s scope of works. What are you as engineer doing or going to do as part of the collective efforts? It is not a job for one man but a collective responsibility that we all must play our roles.
Our youths are angry and yearning to contribute into national development, rightly so.. Our young engineers are unhappy about the way things are going in their postgraduate engineering adventure. But this is not a good reason to bring down the house. Respect your profession and maintain your dignity while you consciously be part of the change makers.
I bring to you the pleasing work of Prof Henry Petroski: “As engineers, we were going to be in a position to change the world – not just study it.” We are going to get this right together.. young and old.
Written by Isqil Najim (Follow him on twitter @isqilnajim)