When the News came out that the top performers at the last UTME all chose engineering with near perfect results, it was unprecedented as all the top 10 best chose engineering as their choice of career. Coming at a time the Nigerian Society of Engineers and its Divisions are already putting various programmes to enhance, encourage and support young and aspiring engineers, it can only be said that everything works for good of the profession.
It is in this light that the Nigerian Society of Engineers, under the leadership of Engineers Babagana Mohammed match words with action by rewarding the top best UTME candidates who sat for the Exam.
The event, tagged: “Unveiling of 2020 UTME Examinations Candidates Best Brains in Engineering” held yesterday simultaneously at the National Engineering Centre, Victoria Island and via viode conferencing to observe the COVI-19 protocol.
The event had in attendance various dignitaries within Nigeria as well as African Engineering engineering community. Among them are: NSE President, Engr Babagana Muhammed, Executive Governor Borno Babagana Umar Zulum, president COREN Ali A. Rabiu, Executive Vice President, World Federation of Engineering Organization (WFEO) Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu, President Federation of African Engineering Organization (FAEO) Engr Martin Manuhwa, President Ghana Institute of Engineering, Ghana, Ing. Leslie Alex Ayeh, past president, Ghana institute of Engineering Ghana Ing. Kwame Boakye, representative of Managing Director NETCO Engr Baba Usman, Nigeria petroleum development company limited (NPDC) Engr Mansur Sambo, past presidents NSE, Dr Yusuf Lawal, Wife of deputy governor Delta State Engr Ebierin Otuaro, NSE National executives, Branch chairmen, the principals, students, and parents of the honorees.
In his address, the NSE president Engr Babagana Mohammed expressed joy because the overall 10 best candidates are prospective engineers saying that the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has, “in line with her strategic mission and objective of getting more younger younger generation to study and grow the Practice of the Profession in all its ramifications decided to award these high potential future inventors , innovators and problem solvers scholarship for the 5 year duration of their studies at their preferred local universities.”
He stated that the NSE is determined to be at the vanguard of developing talent pool that will transform this nation.
The candidates will be awarded with scholarships for their 5 year duration of their studies at their preferred universities. He said “We must necessarily “light up tomorrow today “. If we fail to take affirmative actions to support, inspire, promote and indeed remove the barriers to a knowledge and skill driven society, we wouldn’t consider ourselves successful. We must therefore, intervene when and where we should.”
He stressed that Nigerians should expect more of such initiatives and collaborations from the NSE. “we will lay the foundation for a tech savvy generation that will be capable of competing with, and besting their peers from other parts of the globe. In addition, this would guarantee the future of this nation from a technical talent pool perspective. Suffice it to say, that with similar initiatives by others, ‘when I look at the future, it is so bright it burns my eyes”.
Further he said that professional bodies have to take responsibility rather that leave everything to government. In his words, “On the other hand, if we fail to do what we need to, and saddle the government with all the responsibilities, we will be playing the ostrich.”
He concluded b announcing the plan of NSE to launch a mentoring program called “Bridging the Gap“ with this set of students as the first beneficiaries. They will be assigned mentors that will ensure that they stay focused and disciplined throughout the duration of their studies.” The scheme will be launched next month.
“This scholarship and mentorship scheme” according to him, “marks a clear departure from the past. It is an attempt by the engineering profession to have a handshake with the society through parents, guardians and pupils.”
“It is our duty and sacred responsibility to position the Engineering profession and future workforce to be in a position to play a critical role in our evolving Society where technical skills and creativity will be highly sought after.”- Babagana Mohammed”.
The governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, who himself is an engineer and was the Special Guest of Honour at the event, commended the NSE for organizing the great program and hopes it will encourage and reflect positively on the students. He thanked the Engineers for deeming Borno state fit to recognise the indegene of the state in the award and he sees as the start of something great. He urged the engineers to work towards bridging the gap between engineering and labour market and also encourage self reliante; while pledging his administration will equally contribute into the engineering development in his state.
The president Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, Ali Rabiu congratulated the students for choosing engineering as their choice of career. He encouraged them to work extra hard so they can excel in the profession. He said the Council will stand by them in their quest. He commended the NSE for initiating the event and encouraged them to keep it up.
The Executive Vice President, World federation of Engineering Organisations, WFEO, Engr Mustapha Balarabe Shehu commended the NSE for the effort. He said the WFEO has an International committee that is aimed at encouraging, and supporting young people in engineering. He said the programmes complement each other and promised to elevate this initiative at global level bring to awareness of the international engineering Body.
Engr Shehu, who is also a former president of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Federation of African Engineering Organisations, FAEO, said the engineering field is an ever dynamic and requires one to stay updated. He said the future of engineering is in the hands of the younger generation. He however lamented that that the number of engineers per capita in Nigeria is very low. Saying this is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. Further, He said that the WFEO is working to ensure Nigerian engineers are recognized globally, and the capacity gap of engineers and engineering graduates are bridged. He congratulated the students and said he believes they are going to excel in the field.
He advised to students to love the engineering field as they will spend most part of their time engaged on it. He said the students should ensure the society also benefits from them and they will also benefits, as many opportunities abound in it.
The president, Federation of African Engineering organisation, FAEO, Eng Martin Manuhwa congratulates the Nigerian engineers for this laudable initiative. He enthuses that these students are the future of engineering and part of the solution in addressing Africa technological challenges. He encouraged the young people going into engineering to aim at using new technology and digital tools to solve world problems.
The FAEO President then announced that through an agreement with African Union, the map of Africa will be re-drawn. He used the opportunity to invite the president of NSE and others to the signage of the agreement. He said Africa is the future and our Africans mindset must be changed.
Engr Mansur Sambo said the students will never regret choosing to study engineering as they will have endless opportunities and could also switch between various fields.
NETCO MD represented by the Public Affairs Officer described the project as a laudable one and welcomed the students to the engineering world.
Engr. Dr. Felicia Agubata unveiled the 2020 UTME Best Brains in Engineering. The beneficiaries will be pursuing different fields of engineering which they include civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and more. Some of them are Shalom Ojuba scored 369, Ejiro Chima, Akan Osom, Nwosu, Ego Agwuagwu, Okwuchukwu Nwobi, Ojo Samuel Olwatosin and others.
The president Babagana presented the awards and said again that every one of them here will be awarded scholarship of 5 years whenever they get admitted into the university. A laptop was presented to the first female on the list. The president also announced that 60 laptops were gifted to the students.
The president APWEN Engr Funlola Ojelade gave a gift to Ego Agwuagwu. Principal Loyola Jesuit College, father Miss Chikere encouraged the students to be innovative and be solution finders. They should also aim at becoming source of inspiration to others.
Dr Lawal Yusuf representing the JAMB board applauded the NSE for the initiatives. He expressed willingness of JAMB will like to partner with NSE on the journey as the necessary data and information required will be provided and other necessary supports will be provided.
Engr Joanna Maduka, the first registered female engineer in Nigeria, thanked NSE and congratulated everyone involved in the success of the program.
Ing. Dr. Kwame Boakye a former President of Ghana Institution of Engineering was also in attendance to commend the initiative; while, President Ghana Institution of Engineering, Engr Leslie Alex Ayeh expressed his excitement at the initiative and said he believes the face of the continent will be changed with determination.
The 16 students Students awarded scholarships and their scores in the UTME and state of origin include; Maduafokwa Egoagwuagwu Agnes F, Anambra, 365, Nwobi Okwuchukwu David, Anambra 363, Ojuba Mezisashe Shalom Edo, 359, Elkwu, Victor Chukwuemeka, Delta 359, Adebola Oluwatobi Paul, Ekiti, 358 and Gboyega Oluwatobiloba Enoch, Ekiti, 356, Ojo Samuel Oluwatobi Ondo, 355, Utulu, Jebose George Delta, 355, Osom Akan Awesome, Akwa Ibom, 353, Akakabota Fejiro Simeon, Delta, 352, Ogundele Favour Jesupemi, Kwara, 352, Alatise Monsurah Bisola, Oyo, 352 and Adelaja Oluwasemilore Daniel, Ogun, 352.
It will be recalled that Joint Admission Matriculation Board, which is saddled with constitutional responsibility to conduct entrance Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian universities earlier released the repory of the 2020 UTME examination which started on March 14 and ended March 21 in its accredited Computer Based Test (CBT) centres nationwide.
A total number of 1,949,983 candidates wrote the 2020 UTME examination while 10 best candidates were announced. All the 10 candidates applied to study engineering courses, ranging from Industrial Production, Mechanical, Civil, Computer to Electrical Engineering. Four will attend the University of Lagos, two each will attend Covenant University, Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Ilorin. One will go to Kwara State University.
Compiled by Mariam Haruna