VALEDICTORY/WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY ENGR. DR. FELICIA NNENNA AGUBATA FNSE AT THE INVESTIURE CEREMONY OF THE 16TH PRESIDENT OF APWEN ON 18TH JANUARY 2020 AT OREINTAL HOTELS LEKKI, LAGOS.
It is my joy and privilege, to stand before you today, the 18th of January 2020, at the finish line or the baton exchange point that marks the end of a tenure, that is, my tenure, as the 15th President of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria. The past 2 years has been electric; completely breathtaking in all its ramifications. It literally zoomed past. Regardless, we were truly triumphant across a broad spectrum of activities and life- changing undertakings, that are too numerous to be mentioned one by one. I give God, the maker of heaven and earth, and all things therein the glory. I also acknowledge and thank our elders and founders (Engr. Joanna Olu Maduka FNSE, FAEng, OFR; Engr. Nkechi Isigwe FNSE; Engr. Mayen Adetiba FNSE, FAEng; Engr. Nwakaego Ojukwu FNSE; Engr. Beatrice Oduniyi FNSE and Engr. Olufunlayo Kadri FNSE), for their foresight and stabilizing influence on the association. Suffice it to say that without them, we wouldn’t be here today. They conceptualized the association, nurtured it and indeed stabilized it as a massive engine for societal transformation.
As the president of the association from the 17th February 2018 to 31st December 2019, my role was to be the “SPARK PLUG” of the massive engine that the Association of Professional Women Engineers has become.
Without a working “SPARK PLUG”, an engine will not run. There will be nothing to ignite the fuel and start the combustion process.
In APWEN of my time, the plug found an engine, spluttered to life and surged forward in an all -hands- on- deck and all-action approach. This simple analogy of “SPARK PLUG” and “ENGINE”, underscores the fact that we worked together as a great team across all strata, to push APWEN forward. No one person can do it alone or should do it alone really.
The one thing that we have as an association, that most other associations may not have, is our incredible energy, enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile in difficult and most demanding circumstances, in pursuit of pre-agreed objectives. In APWEN, we do not get tired, we do not give up and we do not give or accept excuses. This is an attribute that kept us going the entire two years of my watch. We inspire each other, and we stand in the gap for each other. I want to appreciate all of us for that.
Our boundless energy and enthusiasm as a group of determined professionals, ensured that in two amazing years of intensive and extensive activities, we covered almost all the nooks, creeks and crannies of this great country by land, boat and air to accomplish our goals and redeem our commitments to the girlchild ,with the view to getting them to study STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and ultimately end up reading and practicing engineering, postgraduation.
Pursuant to these objectives, we visited the six geo- political zones of the country and Delta State. We left our marks with the full support of our numero uno supporter and backer, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
We sat with royalties, Governors and our people from all strata of the society. All, without exception welcomed us and our message of hope for the girl-child.
Wonderful is an understatement.
These are the outcome of our efforts; Under Invent It, Build It Program;
STATE No. of SCHOLARSHIPS SCIENCE LAB
Bauchi 21(disbursed 2018 &19) Completed (AC)
Kano 10(disbursed 2019) WIP
Edo 10(disbursed 2018 &19) Completed (AC )
Ogun 10(disbursed 2019) WIP
Kogi 10(disbursed 2019) WIP
Anambra 10(disbursed 2019) WIP
Borno 10(February 2020) WIP
ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES
Under my watch as APWEN President, we instituted Annual lecture series in honour of our founders. The idea is to celebrate our heroines in their life time.
The first is the OMAL series, in honour of Engr. Joanna Olutunmbi Maduka, FNSE, FAEng, the founding president of APWEN, the first female registered engineer in Nigeria and the first female President of Nigerian Academy of engineering. We have had two editions; 2018 and 2019 in Lagos State.
The second is NIAL, instituted in honour of Nkechi Isigwe FNSE, the second president and founding member. It holds at Umuahia, Abia State. We have had two editions.
1. MAYEN ADETIBA TECHNICAL BOOTH CAMP FOR GIRLS (MATBC) is in honour of the first technical secretary of APWEN and also a founding member. This captures about 150 students in junior secondary schools. In 2 years, we have had 2 editions.
2. INTRODUCE A GIRL TO ENGINEERING / TAKE A GIRL TO WORK:
This was held at OKERENKOKO, GBARAMATU KINGDOM in honour of the wife of the deputy governor of Delta State, our own H.E Engr. Dr. Ebierin Otuaro, FNSE. Scholarship was awarded to 5 students to study engineering from secondary to university, sponsored by the deputy Governor of Delta State H.E Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro.
APWEN INVENT IT / INNOVATE CHALLENGE
The maiden edition commenced in 2019 and is targeted at the University
undergraduates all over the country to spur them to be creative and innovative. The 2019 finalists have emerged, and the winners will receive their prizes today. This project was packaged by the Business and Entrepreneurship committee led by our dependable Founder, Engr. Olufunlayo Kadri FNSE
SHE ENGINEER /INVENT IT, BUILD IT PHASE
During my tenure we were able to attract a grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering UK under GCFR African Catalyst programme with my humble self Dr. Felicia Agubata as the grant recipient. This project will enable us train a minimum of 200 STEM teachers as well as mentor a minimum of 500 female pupils in secondary school on STEM skills development across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria. This project will also equip our STEM teachers with requisite technical, innovative and collaborative skills necessary to mentor and build
successful female leaders in engineering in the 21st century. We are partnering with the University of West of Scotland (UK partner) and Tributary Initiative for Learning (Nigerian Partner). The project commenced in October 2019 and will end in November 2020.
Other programs of note;
‐ BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING AND SEMINARS; this was borne out of the desire for professional development of members and to encourage members to translate their passion into an Enterprise.
‐ APWEN NATIONAL CONFERENCE; this was held twice as expected in the month of September 2018 in Lagos State and Delta State in 2019.
‐ PUBLISHING OF JOURNALS
With the help of our technical team, we now have our ISSN 2714-2396 for publishing our journals and magazines.
INTERNATIONAL AFFILIATION PROGRAMS
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY(IWD)
The association celebrates International Women’s Day every march 8th with industrial visits/ courtesy call to firms headed by women. All chapters were encouraged to celebrate this in their localities.
Distinguished engineers along with some illustrious women in sundry professions were also celebrated in the past two years.
‐ INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL CHILD
1. International day of the Girl-Child
2. International day of women in ICT
‐ APWEN WEBSITE & DATABASE
APWEN website and database is up to date and functional. It has been upgraded and made more user friendly.
In the past 2 years, we have grown membership by over 60 % with additional eight (8) chapters namely; Bauchi, Bayelsa, Awka, Kogi, Umuahia, Ota, Ogbomosho and Nsukka chapters with additional 4 collegiate chapters (Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Caritas University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, and
Maritime University Okeronkoko Chapters).
In summary, the past two years have been worthwhile. It has been eventful, educative and extremely tasking. I appreciate all the support received from all association members and corporate bodies (Fode, DeltaAfrik, COREN, Kenol,
NAMA, NAHCO Aviance, Delta State Government, Unilever, Exxon Mobil,
NAPIMS, FCDA, Ariosh, FERMA, Deo Makro Ltd, Olivet Cloud, Chevron etc).
NNPC stands out. We can never thank her (NNPC) enough.
I also wish to thank our elders and founding mothers, without whose support and kind guidance, we wouldn’t have made progress. Engr. Nkechi Isigwe FNSE, Engr. Idiat Amusu FNSE, Engr. Dr. Patricia Opene-Odili FNSE, Engr. Nnoli Akpedeye FNSE, Engr. Dr. Ebierin Otuaro, Engr. Ini Usoro FNSE, Engr Olayinka Abdul FNSE, Engr. Fumilola Ojelade FNSE, Engr. Dr. Elizabeth Etherigho, Engr. (Dr.) Fumilade Akingbagbohun FNSE, Engr. ‘Laolu Adedapo-Aishida FNSE, Engr. Rose Madaki FNSE, Engr. Atinuke Owolabi MNSE, Engr. Oduwa Agboneni, Engr Chioma Okoli MNSE, Engr. Maryam Abubakar MNSE (Zaria Chapter chairman), Engr. Kori Shetima,MNSE Engr. Ummukhair Muktar Tajo MNSE, Engr. Jessica Yakwo MNSE, Engr. Rasheedat Abulkareem MNSE etc (just to mention a few) and I acknowledge and thank you for all the hard work.
I want to sincerely appreciate the love of my life; Mr. Kodinna Agubata and my adorable children for their “sacrificial” support. Special thanks goes to the management and staff of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency under the leadership of Capt. Fola Akinkuotu for their support.
I thank NSE and her leadership for their support to affiliate.
I take responsibility for all the shortcomings.
However, I am satisfied that in Engr. Funmilola Ojelade FNSE, we have a capable and dependable hand, who will take us further and I pray for God’s guidance and protection for her and her team.
Long Live APWEN!!!!
Long Live NSE!!!!
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!!