Profile of Engr Foluseke Abidemi Somolu, Past president of Nigerian Society of Engineers

Engr. Foluseke Abidemi Somolu was born in 14th July, 1946 in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He attended University of Lagos and graduated with B.Sc (Hon) Electrical Engineering.

He also had M.Sc in Electrical Engineering from University of Lagos and PSEC (Post Graduate Certificate in Power System Engineering (GE School of Electric Utilities System Engineering) 1979.

He was sponsored by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to attend Inter-regional Power system Expansion Planning Course at Argonne USA National Laboratory, studying power system investment economics and the use of Wien (Viena) Automatic System Planning (WASP) program 1985.

Engr. Somolu has had a distinguished public service record spanning a period of nearly forty years to date with in-depth experience in all aspects of power generation, transmission and distribution and projects engineering, 29years of this with the National Electric Power Authority (1970 -1997, and 2000 – 2001), beginning from the days of Niger Dam Authority (1970 – 1972). The rest of his power system experience is as a private consultant and as Senior Special Assistant to the Presidents Obasanjo and Yar’ Adua on Power Sector Reform (2005 – 2008).

As a Project Engineer the Chief Project Engineer and Ag. Director of Electrical Engineering Projects (1973 – 1988), he contributed to the design and construction of every Power Station, Substation, transmission grid and distribution network that NEPA built in that period and which form the backbone of the country’s electricity supply today. He produced the Front-end-engineering-and design (FEED) for NEPA’s countrywide Integrated Powerline Carrier Telecommunications wide area Network, including telephony, telex, teleprotection, and SCADA superposed on it. Engr. Somolu was the first person to occupy the position of General Manager (Transmission) NEPA Headquarters (Dec. 1990 – Nov. 1992), with responsibility for managing the operation and maintenance of the country’s interconnected grid and the operation of the National Control Centre.

This was before the decentralization of the management of the grid into regions, having earlier occupied the position of Director of Transmission Protection, Control, Communication and Metering NEPA Headquarters from Nov. 1988 – Nov. 1990.

Engr. Somolu was recalled from retirement in the wake of persistent power crises in 1999/2000 and made a member of the Presidential NEPA Technical Board set up by President Obasanjo that raised the Nation’s generating capacity by massive plant rehabilitation from 1600MW to 4000MW within a period of less than two years (March 2000 – December 2001) and eliminated the crisis in the country’s power supply at that time.

The Technical Board also laid the ground work for the restructuring of NEPA for eventual privatization. As Chairman of the Technical Board’s Generation Sub-Committee: He supervised the rehabilitation of the Authority’s broken down generating stations, achieving President Obasanjo’s mandate of raising NEPA’s generating capacity from a paltry 1,600MW to 4000MW in 18 months.

He led the negotiation of the power purchase agreements (PPA’s) which led to the AGIP Independent Power Project (IPP) at Okpai. In (2000), he served as a Member of Presidential Federal Roads Maintenance Task Force. The Taskforce laid the ground work for FERMA and the massive rehabilitation of Federal Highways all over the country that followed in 2003 -2004.

As part of this assignment Engr. Somolu covered nearly 5000Km of highway in six states and FCT in the North Central Zone of the country within two weeks inspecting, collating the extent of damage of roads, reporting, and preparing cost estimates for their eventual rehabilitation.

He has also been a Guest Lecturer and Resource Person at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State (2002-2003). Engr. Somolu has over 30 conference and workshop papers presented at international conferences on power

He has won several honours and awards, amongst which are: Nigerian Society of Engineers Merit Award 1991, 1998; Nigerian Society of Engineers Golden Jubilee Distinguished Merit Award for remarkable contributions to growth of the Engineering profession and the Nigerian Society of Engineers, 2008; Award of Excellence (International Conference on Power System Operation and Planning) 1995, 2002; British Council Fellowship 1993; Merit Award (“Great Achiever in Engineering”) Nigerian Society of Engineers (Student Chapter). Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, 1996; Cited in Newswatch “Who is Who” and the Marquis (U.S.A.) Who is Who in the World; and several others.

He was a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), and Past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (2002 -2003) where he’s been on Council since 1980. Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (formerly Institution of Electrical Engineers (FIET/FIEE), Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (SMIEEE). He is the Professional Registration Advisor in Nigeria for prospective members of the IET/IEE, CEng of the UK and Fellow, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering

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