Engineering Award and Recognition: Stop conferring engineering fellowship upon non-engineers – Ariyomo

– suggests alternative honours for non-engineers.

In a bid to preserve the dignity and prestige of Nigerian engineering professional honours and uphold the sanctity of engineering professionalism and awards in Nigeria, a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE),Engr Olatunji Ariyomo FNSE has advised engineering sub-divisions as well as the parent engineering body, the Nigerian Society of Engineers to review their awards and honours’ processes and halt the practice of awarding honourary Fellowship titles to non-ancillary service professionals regardless of their background.

Engr. Ariyomo who won the Lucas Prize for the best position in Civil and Structural Engineering as well as the star price as the overall best candidate during his NSE membership professional examination in Ibadan in September 2005, expressed the view that the Fellowship of any professional institution is a major marker of exclusivity and that it is difficult for him to wrap his mind around the import of an honourary professional fellowship to business men, politicians, donors and philanthropists.

While arguing that he fully acknowledges the superior need to honour supporters of the engineering profession with awards, Engr. Ariyomo suggested that such awards should be christened ‘Merit Awards’ or similar coinage with the right detail such as ‘Merit Award for being a Pillar of Infrastructure Development’, ‘NSE Presidential Award for Supporting the Engineering Profession’ and the likes.

The engineer suggested that the NSE and its sub-divisions may need to formally rework their Memorandum and Articles of Associations in order to adopt this new suggestion.

He observed that societies do not exist in isolation and that norm and practices must take into cognizance the overriding tendencies in a given society. He cited the examples of other eminent professional bodies in Nigeria that are protective of their highest titles and the manner such awards are conferred exclusively on members or those with requisite affiliation as associates.

If at all there would be honourary fellowship, it should be reserved for allied and ancillary professionals who though are not engineers, their technical works have substantially impacted upon the engineering profession-Olatunji Ariyomo

Engr. Ariyomo queried why for instance the NSE would confer fellowship upon lawyers.
“Would the legal profession reciprocate that gesture by conferring honourary SANship upon distinguished engineers?. Would Nigerian medical doctors confer honourary fellowship on non-medical personnel? Do accounting professionals in Nigeria confer honourary fellowship of ICAN or ANAN on non-accountants?” he asked.

Engr. Tunji Ariyomo, who is currently the Chairman of Ondo State World Bank assisted Urban Water Sector Reform Project’s Steering Committee and Chairman of the State’s Technical Committee on Power as well as being the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Utilities, observed that “Context maters. Within the Nigerian context, it appears to be in bad taste to confer honourary fellowship on non-engineers as it runs contrary to the exclusive nature of professional fellowships in Nigeria.”

“If at all there would be honourary fellowship, it should be reserved for allied and ancillary professionals who though are not engineers, their technical works have substantially impacted upon the engineering profession (physicists, chemists, microbiologists, geologists, geophysicists, computing experts etc) and senior engineers who though are no longer in practice (so as to obtain fellowship proper) but have contributed immensely to uplifting the engineering profession and society in other ways” he stressed.

On how to reward and honour influential people including supporters and politicians who identify with and serve engineering, The UK trained infrastructure engineer suggested the introduction of dedicated Special “Merit Awards” if they do not have engineering background and do not belong to allied professionals in science and technology.

He agreed that the contribution of non-engineers is important toward the attainment of critical infrastructure goals of the nation.

Among the suggestions he made for honouring non-engineers include: National Pillar of Support in Engineering Education, National Infrastructure Advocate, National Pillar of Support for Infrastructure Development, Friend of the Engineering Profession (FEP) etc.

It will be recalled that a growing number of engineers have at many online fora frown at the idea of non-engineers receiving the honourary fellowship of NSE and called for its disbandment. They cited the need to preserve the profession’s distinct character, promote strong respect for engineering and also provide a distinction between professional award and honorary awards. Many feel certain awards should be exclusively preserved for Engineers to set them apart because of the nature of the profession.

Report compiled by Isqil Najim and can be reached on Twitter @isqilnajim


  1. We have so cheapened everything about the profession. Even for the ones bestowed on Engineers, there is no functional definition for anyone. Even where there was any, the standard is lowered for perceived VIPs.
    In the absence of such definition, I make the following proposal.
    Since the profession is ingenious, the highest award should be GPP – Genius of Professional Practice.
    This should be strictly reserved for practitioners that will always provide professional results when all other hope was lost and the chips are down.


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