History was made on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, when the Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) inaugurated its Ota Branch in Ogun State, and inducted a faculty in the Department of Civil Engineering, Covenant, Engr. Dr. (Mrs) Ayobami Busari as the pioneer Chairman of the branch.
Aside the inauguration and the investiture, the event, which had in attendance the Dean, College of Engineering, Covenant, Professor David Omole, the APWEN President, Engr. (Mrs) Felicia Nnena Agubata, and female students from all the Departments in the College of Engineering amongst others, also featured the delivery of a lecture titled, ‘Future for Women in Engineering Practice’.
The Guest Speaker, Engr. Dr. (Mrs) Patricia Opene-Odili, said that engineering as a profession was not for the lily-livered, but for those who were daring, who could innovate and change the world for the better. According to her, people had in the past considered engineering as a male-dominated profession, but women, today, were making the difference in engineering.
Diversity and inclusion, she averred, were helping women to prove their mettle in engineering, however, they must come together with the menfolk to propagate the profession. “Because women have passion for details, they excel in engineering,” she asserted.
While speaking on what female engineers should do to conquer perceived discrimination and stay long in the engineering profession, Engr. Opene-Odili, who was the immediate past President of APWEN, said female engineers could choose a mentor but not necessarily a woman; they should try to understand the nuances of the profession as it would take focus and dedication for them to get to their desired height; and as engineers they must learn to multi-task.
Also, the Guest Speaker urged female engineers to be diligent by studying to show themselves approved. While stating that there was a great future for women in engineering, Engr. Opene-Odili posited that big corporations were looking to put women on top, particularly those able to distinguish themselves.
She disclosed that surveys in 2017 had indicated that 11% of the engineering workforce were women as against 9% in 2015. The margin, she reckoned, may be small but it was the effect of diversity and inclusion. “Let us not work to meet the standard, let us work to beat the standard,” Engr. Opene-Odili charged.
Following the inauguration of the Ota Branch and investiture of Engr. Dr. (Mrs) Ayobami Busari as Chairman, the APWEN President, Engr. (Mrs) Felicia Nnena Agubata, congratulated Covenant for producing the first Chairman of the branch. APWEN, she stated, was committed to the encouragement of student-members and the advancement of Nigeria.
The Ota Branch Chairman, Engr. Busari, had in her acceptance speech said that the dream of having a branch of APWEN in Ota, which started four years ago, was borne out of the passion of having a hub for female engineers in Covenant and its environs, to participate in the vision and mission of the Association. Ota chapter, she said, was unique because it was situated in the second industrialised zone in Nigeria.
While highlighting the goals of the APWEN, Ota Branch Executive Committee, Engr. Busari said that one of the focus of the executive committee was to encourage the girl-child to stay in the sciences with the focus of selecting engineering as a course of study. “Our goal as a chapter is to key into the mission of this noble Association, which is to encourage the girl-child to stay in engineering by leveraging on other numerous programmes of the national body,” she said.
The Ota Branch Chairman expressed her appreciation to the National Executive members of APWEN, led by the President, Engr. Agubata, for making the establishment of Ota Branch a reality. She also appreciated the Covenant Management, the Nigerian Society of Engineers and other related professional bodies.
Other members of the executive committee of APWEN, Ota Branch, are Engr. (Mrs) Imhade Okokpujie, Vice Chairman; Dr. (Mrs) Edith Alagbe, Secretary; Engr. (Mrs) Damilola Oshin, Assistant Secretary; Dr. (Mrs) Joke Badejo, Treasurer; Dr. (Miss) Angela Mamudu, Assistant Treasurer; Dr. (Mrs) Olatokunbo Ofuyatan, Welfare Officer; Miss Esther Yusuf, Asstant Welfare Officer; Engr. (Mrs) Elizabeth Amuta, Public Relations Officer 1; and Engr. (Mrs) Olubunmi Abioye, Public Relations Officer 2.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Dean, College of Engineering, Professor David Omole, representing the Vice-Chancellor, Covenant, Professor AAA. Atayero, said the issue of diversity and inclusion was always given prime consideration by the current administration in the University. While emphasizing that the administration was driving gender responsiveness assiduously, Professor Omole congratulated APWEN for the successful inauguration of its branch in Ota.
Engr. (Dr) Adeoye Ojo, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, Professor Jeremiah Ojediran, extended the University’s felicitations to all APWEN members on the inauguration of the Ota Chapter. Engineering, he said, had changed and it is no longer a case of brawn, but brain. Dr. Ojo added that he was impressed by the extension of APWEN’s activities to young women in secondary and primary schools.
Also at the event were the immediate past Dean, College of Engineering, Professor Christian Bolu, Heads of Departments, faculty and staff, family members of the APWEN, Ota Branch Chairman and other invited guests.