Nigerian engineers have been blessed with many leaders. While some of them went on to lead at National level, others continue to distinguish themselves in their positions and play pivotal roles which are invaluable to the growth of the profession. Classic role models, of high professional integrity and like ducks, they are calm on the surface, but beneath the water, they work furiously and purposely to achieve progress and make lasting impact.
Among such leaders is Engr Dr Tunde Monsuru Olatunji; A Former National Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, the first Director of Professional Development Department of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE and a former Chairman of NSE Ikeja Branch. A man with hands in academic, and active professional practices.
Those of us who have worked with and had the privileged of being his proteges and those who have worked closely with him, attest to many of his stellar qualities which make him a formidable professional in his field. We learned the value of calmness and focus from him. When Dr Olatunji believes in you, he will wait and be patience with you. And when you deliver, he not only commend but also support you and ensuring you get better.
I was not therefore surprised that he made many ground breaking initiatives. He nurtured a system which was to later transformed into NSE having national student bodies among the divisions, under him as the Director of professional Development. He actively supported the formation of Young Engineering Forum of Nigeria YEFON, when the students are insisting on having their own platform under NSE. What is more, his love for young engineers development is immense. As National chairman of NICE, he ensure the formation of the Student arm of NICE, now known as NICE-SA and with membership in universities and polytechnics across the country.
Today this silent motivator who is one of the inspirations behind the establishment of MyEngineers is 65 and the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers have used the occasion to institute an Annual lecture named T. M. Olatunji Distinguished Annual lecture in his honour.
A brief about Dr T. M Olatunji
Engr Dr. Olatunji hails from Abeokuta, Ogun State. He attended Mushin District Council School, Lagos before moving to Livingstone Academy, Ebute-Metta, Lagos and then Eko Boys High School where he obtained his West African School Certificate in Grade 1 Distinction. He proceeded to University of Benin to Study Civil Engineering. With a First Class Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Benin, he got scholarship to pursue his Masters and Doctorate in Civil Engineering at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He passed with distinction as well.
Dr. Olatunji’s career span diverse sector in Academic, and active professional practices both within and outside Nigeria. He worked as Training/Research Assistant, University of Alberta, Edmonton; Lecturer in many Higher Institutions, including University of Ilorin, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, and as Principal Lecturer at Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu.
He also served as Project Coordinator, France Bruce Ltd, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, managing Partner, Cypress Konsult, Lagos, General M , INCUI Ltd, Port Harcourt, Alternate head, Audit team of the Nigerian Society of Engineers on the Performance of OMPADEC Contractors in Rivers State. Project Director LAMATA Routine Maintenance Contract for Lagos State Government, Project Manager Niger Delta Regional Development, Transportation Master Plan; Tender Appraisal for Road Construction Projects of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA at Amana Consortium; Shell Petroleum Development Company; Consultant for the survey, review and rehabilitation design of educational and health facilities in the oil producing communities of Bayelsa State, Project Coordinator on Lokoja Water Supply Expansion, Kogi State,,etc,
In leadership and services to the Professional bodies; Dr. Olatunji has left indelible marks through participating in various activities of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, from Lagos to Kwara, to Abuja and Rivers State, he has been a faithful and loyal servant of Engineering and discharged his duties meritoriously.
Through the years, he has served as Member, Professional Interview for Membership of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Port Harcourt centre – Sept 1997 to 1999; Secretary, Building Committee of Port Harcourt Branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers, 1997; General Secretary, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Port Harcourt Branch – 1998 to 1999. The Branch was honoured as a Presidential Merit Award winner for the first time in 25 years in 1998; and commissioned its own Secretariat (first in the country) in 1999.
Dr Olatunji also served as member, Technical Committee, Nigerian Society of Engineers, 2000-2001, Member, Failure Analysis, Code and Ethics Committee, Nigerian Society of Engineers, 2000, Chairman, Investigation & Failure Analysis Committee, Nigerian Society of Engineers, 2001, 2002, Coordinator, Civil Division activities of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in Port Harcourt, 1998 – 1999, Reviewer, technical papers for publication in Journals of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (1996 to date), Representative of NSE PREMS on the review panel on environmental impact assessment of Mobil Nigeria Unlimited dredging works in the NLNG project among others.
At Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, NICE, he holds the honour of being the Foundation General Secretary, 2002 and then substantive First Secretary General, 2004. He also made another first by being the First Executive Secretary if the Institution in 2005. Other posts he held are Vice President, 2006, Deputy National Chairman, 2007 and later National Chairman.
At NSE Ikeja Branch, he served as the Vice Chairman NSE Ikeja Branch 2006/2007 and later Chairman NSE Ikeja Branch 2007 to present. When the NSE Ikeja Branch was to begin their first Annual Engineering Week, he was the chairman of the organizing committee and played crucial role in laying foundation for the young engineer development programmes at the Branch.
His research and development areas cover broad spectrum of specialties which include; Project Engineering and Management Services in Civil Engineering Works, Maintenance of Buildings, Roads and Bridge Systems, Large Scale testing of timber and plain/reinforced masonry structures, Appropriate Technology applications to local infrastructural construction, Standards Development for local materials, Professional Development in Engineering and Management
Dr. T. M. Olatunji has a number of publications in local and international learned journals and scientific reports in the following areas: (i) Large scale testing and computer simulation models in plain and reinforced masonry structures; Large scale testing in Glued-Laminated Timber beam-columns; Quality control tests and analysis for local materials; Civil Engineering code analysis and development
For his academic and professional excellence, Dr Olatunji has won honours almost every sphere he has ventured. Some of them are: Senior Prefect, Eko Boys High School, Lagos, 1973,Best Graduating Student, Faculty of Engineering, University of Benin, 1979, Recipient of Dumez Nig. Ltd. Scholarship Award, 1976 – 1979, Recipient of Federal Government National Merit Awards, 1976 – 1978, Recipient of Harry Simms Memorial Scholarship Award, The University of Alberta, Canada,1984 – 1986, Chairman’s Service award, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, 2005, Distinguished Service Award, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, Meritorious Service Award, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Ikeja Branch, Meritorious Service Award, 50th Anniversary of Nigerian Society of Engineers, 2008
He is a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Fellow of Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers and an Active Member of American Society of Civil Engineers. he was instrumental to the signing of partnership and collaboration agreement between the American Society of Science Engineers and Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers. Dr. Olatunji is married with Children.
In this and many others, we celebrate a living icon.
Report Compiled by isqil Najim (@isqilnajim)