Address by the President of Nigerian Society of Engineers(NSE) , Engr. Babagana Mohammed FNSE at the Unveiling of 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination Best Brains In Engineering Ceremony held at NEC Building, Lagos.
I feel intense joy in my heart today, for more reasons than one.
First and foremost, we have a validated list of best in class performers in the 2020 UTME Examination. The overall best 13 candidates without exception are prospective Engineers. In other words their preferred career choice is Engineering. This is very remarkable.
Secondly, our Society, the Great and honourable (foremost Engineering body) in Nigeria , The Nigerian Society of Engineers ( NSE) has , in line with her strategic mission and objective of getting more Nigerians to read and practice Engineering Advocacy, and to 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. The twin criteria of selection:
A) Outrightly best overall performers in terms of scores recorded by students at the 2020 UTME examination.
B) Geopolitical Merit Consideration.
The Scholarship will cover tuition fees only. A trust fund and account will be created for this initiative where the five (5) years scholarship fund will be warehoused and managed by an independent Committee.
This will be a cash backed scheme. The modalities will be spelt out clearly.
Ladies and gentlemen, the key thrust of this initiative is that NSE must be at the vanguard of the drive to create the talents and workforce that will transform this nation. 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. This serves as a positive example of what needs to be done by a highly regarded and well respected society like ours. In fact with more of these direct collaborative, non -governmental, motivated interventions and schemes, 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”. 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.
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. The seeds for Nigerian and indeed African technological transformation and breakthrough need to be planted and nurtured today. “Science can amuse and fascinate us all, but it is Engineering that changes the World”. The Engineer has been, and is, a maker of history. Scientist study the World as it is, Engineers create the World that has never been. The way to succeed is to double our failure rate.
We are all aware of our challenges today. They are all easy to see because we do not lack sight. What we lack and need , is the foresight and the power to envision what tomorrow will look like and steps and measures that are required to mitigate the drawbacks in order to advance our nation.
We also plan 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. This scheme will be launched next month. The specific date will be announced later. This scholarship and mentorship scheme 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.
Engineering is such a powerful tool for societal transformation. We plan to make it more so, in the coming years. Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.
It is on this score, that I enjoin all of us especially the Engineering family to support this scheme with their time, talent and substance when called upon.
I look forward to future exploits and contributions of these future Engineers towards making Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world a better place.
Thank you for your time and God bless you all.
Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE