The former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has advised embracing engineering cultures in politics and political spheres. This was part of his speech during the recent event organised in his honour by the Nigerian Society of Engineers in Abuja.
The event, tagged “Honouring Obasanjo at 80” was part of the effort of the engineers at celebrating their own. The only engineer to rule Nigeria and who played significant roles in development of engineering in Nigeria. Fellows of Engineers all over the country and their friends attended the gathering.
Speaking at the event, the NSE President Otis Anyaeji said that, in the history of the country, chief Obasanjo was the first and only engineer privileged to rule Nigeria as president and Head of States and Commander in Chief of Armed Forces. Not once but thrice.
The president also highlighted the roles of engineers in Nigeria’s development and world at large. He recalled that the father of Nigerian nationalism, Sir Herbert Macaulay was the first professional engineer in Nigeria and the first person to found a political party in in the country owing to disenchantment with colonial rule and strong advocate for self rule. This follows in the footstep of men like George Washington who was an engineer surveyor and one of the founding fathers of American nationalism.
In his speech, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo noted that not many are aware of his engineering background and sometimes question his association and identification with the body of engineers.
He identifies engineering politics as one which is worth emulation by the country. Noting that the system produce seamless leadership transition that allows the incoming President (Elect) to be part of the serving president as a learner and as part of the policy. It equally allows the outgoing president to retain his presence in the council by sharing insights and ideas with his successor.
“..My brothers and sisters, in the profession of engineering. If we make mistake, which God forbid we do, what will happen? It’s a disaster, tragedy!” Olusegun Obasanjo
Further, chief Obasanjo said that there and three main professionals whose works are more crucial to the society. The doctors the lawyers and the engineers. While the doctor’s error can lead to a death of a patient and lawyer’s error leads to prison or loss for his client, and engineer’s error is always a tragedy, a disaster which can claim lives of many with attendant massive loss to multiple stakeholders. Hence he advocated the taking care of the engineers also borrowing from their professional ethics.
Further on engineering in politics, chief Obasanjo noted that many of his actions and decisions while in office were guided by his background as an engineer and which he put into effective application. Whether dealing with human or resources. His clearing of the experienced but entrenched military officers in 1999 was occasioned by his borrowing from engineering codes and applied into politics.
“If it is not good enough, it’s not good enough and you (should) continue to look until what we think is suffuciently good enough” Olusegun Obasanjo
He observed that Nigeria is not short of men of integrity and capabilities but putting the right ones at the right place and at the right time. He praised the Nigerian engineers as men of character and men one could be proud of. He however advised that the efforts of founding fathers whose foundation had sent the condition for deepening of engineering and engineering politics should be improved on by the current engineers and leave legacy for generation to come.
He advocated that the training of engineers should be widen to prepare more of them for public and private sector participation and of course in politics and most importantly the national assembly where they can put their engineering background into work in legislative proceedings involving engineering and technology.. This stem from his observations that many engineers in politics he has met and interacted with are men of strong character and competency.
“And I believe the training of an engineer should involve not taking anything for granted. Be it in private or public sector. There is virtually no work in life in public and private sector where engineers are not required.” Olusegun Obasanjo
The event was attended by Fellows of Engineers, senators (serving and past, council of engineering. ..past presidents of NSE past governors and host of others.
Why NSE honours Obasanjo
1. Contribution to the development of National Engineering centre
2.pioneering engineering and technology university in Nigeria
3. Initiating the process for local content in engineering projects both in power and Oil and Gas Subsector
4. With the support of Senator Omisore Obasanjo singlehandedly fund a large chunk of the national engineering centre
5. Establishment of Nigeria national space centre which shoot Nigeria among the global players in space technology
6. Establishment and contribution into many institutions that support and nurture engineering in Nigeria
And many more that are too numerous to mention.
You can Read more of Obasanjo’s Profile HERE