Engineer Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola is a past president of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and currently, the president of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN). In his interview with SEGUN ADEEKO of Tribune, he shares his views on his role as the APBN president and why the association is opposing the ongoing plan by the National Assembly to create a Chartered Institute of Forensic Investigation and Analysis.
What is Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) all about?
APBN is an umbrella body of registered professional bodies in Nigeria. It is set up to speak with one voice on behalf of its member-bodies, while at the same time, give professional and proper technical advice to government on matters affecting the practice of the professions as well as the professionals. APBN was given official Federal Government recognition as the ‘’third leg of the tripod’’ of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) in January 1992.
How would you describe the fortune of APBN since you assumed its headship last year?
I wouldn’t say it is fortune per se, because the association is not looking for fortune as such. Rather, we are jostling for space for Nigerian professionals to perform their best in their areas of expertise. At APBN, we have also been able to stand for the rights of members. In November, 2018, for instance, APBN had an Investiture, which was held at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja. The programme was attended by the Vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the Minister of State for Health. We have also had a few Board meetings during which we put out press releases addressing current national issues, one of which was in respect of the rise in the borrowing of the country, to the extent that the federal government should be circumspect in this respect, because despite the borrowing, poverty is still palpable in the country. Even though we appreciate the resolve of the government to invest heavily in infrastructure, we noticed that expansion in infrastructure,which is usually a step that helps in reviving economies, has not necessarily yielded such a result here. So the APBN, under my leadership, apart from focusing on the welfare of its members, has also been advising government on issues of national importance.
How are you juggling your career as an engineer, with being the president of the APBN?
The truth is that, human endeavors usually are powered by determination, dreams, competence, association and self-discipline. All these are what one gathers along the line. As you’ve seen, I have grown through the engineering profession having been a President of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (2010-2011). I also attended Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, where we were not only just taught the art of leadership, but put through practical leadership positions as school prefects, etc. While growing up. Haven gained all that, going through the university, we also learnt to plan time, to acquire and analyze information in addition to our academics pursuit. Along the line, I got involved in students organisations, but most importantly, I have always been involved in running professional organisations, so it’s not such a strange terrain to me.
How do you sustain the interest of member-associations of APBN and foster unity within the system?
Definitely the association is a combination of willing bodies. APBN was conceived as the third leg of the tripod of the policy building system from the private sector of our nation. We have Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Agriculture (NACCIMA) and APBN. The tripod has willing bodies, so there’s no problem keeping the bodies together. In fact, we are increasing in numbers, as more bodies are joining willingly and at least thirty key professional bodies in this country are members of the association today and we are still counting.
Why Is APBN opposing the ongoing plan by the National Assembly to create the Chartered Institute of Forensic Investigation and Analysis?
The reason the APBN is opposing the bill to create a Chartered Institute of Forensic Investigation and Analysis is that, to us, it is alien to all the professions that the competence which reside in each profession should be assumed by a body that does not have a discernible generic competency development criteria. It would therefore be deceitful and misleading to consider that someone without any competency or expertise in a cognate field should be regarded as a professional in forensic and investigative matters in that field. Whatever knowledge is required to carry out forensic and investigative activities clearly resides within each of the professions and that’s the way it is done in every country. Besides, the Bill has not been processed in the normal way, in that it was not subjected to public hearing, having gone through first, second and third readings within the space of 2 to 3 days at the closing sittings of the 8th Assembly. APBN is not in favor of the bill as it will at best if passed to law, only serve some special interests and not address its purported intents as presented to the public
We learn APBN is having a Summit in July. Can you please elaborate on this?
Yes. It is an annual event for us. It is one of the instruments of achieving the aims and objectives of the association. We usually have two events annually. One of the events is the retreat, which is an internal programme, where we build ourselves up and make the association stronger. The other is the Professionals’ Summit, in which we examine topical issues that will make our nation perform better in all areas of human endeavor covered by our professions. This usually involves invitation of highly regarded resource persons to examine and distill such issues into relevant elements of policy, to inform National development goals. This year, we have chosen what we have gotten from the government itself, which is its Next Level slogan. We are therefore poised to help in making it more rational and realistic. We are thus discussing the Roles of Professionals which must be paramount in achieving the Next Level. The summit is planned to take place in Abuja, 23-24 July. We look forward to a very beneficial summit.
This Interview was first published in in Tribune and can be read HERE