The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, under leadership of Engr Funmilola Ojelade, last week, organized her Annual National Conference with theme: The Dynamics of Engineering Education for Sustainable Economic Development. The vent which was organised virtually because of the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic made the Association the first engineering body to organize full virtual National Conference in Nigeria.
The opening ceremony of the event was chaired by the President of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, who was duly represented by Engr. Ayo Fanimokun, a former National chairman of NIMechE and former Chairman NSE Ikeja Branch.
Engr Mohammed in his address through Engr Fanimokun, expressed his delight at the activities of the Women Engineers, who have been playing the mother of engineering roles so effectively. He praised APWEN great commitment to the ideals of the society. He used the occasion to thank the Association for honouring him by dedicating the Invent it Built Scholarship Award North East Zone in his honour. He applauded the Association for embarking on such laudable projects across the country.
Babagana said the Scholarship, which aimed at supporting school girls to study sciences and ultimately engineering in the University, sponsored by the NNPC, is quite unique and significant against the background of the desire by many parents in the North-East to educate their wards.
“Your consistency in organizing urgent capacity programs such as this will in no doubt move the division to the desirable altitude in the drive for the growth of Engineering.” He said.
Babagana challenged other Divisions of NSE to invest in the capacity of members. “Let me emphasize here that our divisions must continue to tailor their programs in the manner that will promote knowledge enrichment for us to continue to distinguish in all levels.” He said.
On the Choice of the theme for the conference, the President said that the Nigerian Society of Engineer as at various program emphasized the importance of Engineering Education to the speedy industrialization of our country. “We are witnesses to the fact that many countries that were referred to as third world country in years back like India, Korea Republic and China have now become economically buoyant essentially because of quality Engineering Education, Evolution of Good policies combined with quality steps towards strengthening engineering capabilities.”
“As part of our advocacies we continue to engage our policy makers and stakeholders with the view of creating the appropriate environment for engineering activities to thrive and survive.” He concluded.
COREN President Engr Ali Rabiu who was represented by the Vice President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Yakub Alli Garba, in his goodwill address, expressed COREN’s undiluted support to APWEN, particularly with respect to professional development of women engineers as it relates to their various disciplines.
Also speaking at the event, the founder of APWEN and its first president, Engr. Olutunmbi Joanna Maduka who attended the event through video conference from Sierra-Leone commended APWEN President Engr Funlola Ojelade and her executive for their pioneering works. Engr Maduka lauded various activities championed by AWPEN including the SheEngineer sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering. She praised the Association for its resolve to organize the conference virtually despite the pandemic and this setting the pace for others to follow.
Also speaking at the event, Engr John Audu, Victoria Island branch Chairman, said that “Covid-19 has taught us how things can change so fast, so there must be renewed emphasis on trying to catch up with the rest of the world, they need to think outside the box, we should be enterprising and look in for home grown solutions, they are the most sustainable solutions”.
Earlier in her address, the President of APWEN, Engr. Funmilola Ojelade, observed that the extra ordinary global impact of global pandemic that affected Nigeria necessitated the need for Virtual conference, thereby making it the first National Conference of the NSE Divisions to be virtually organised. She highlighted the various events for the four day long conference.
Some of the events as announced include: panel discussion on Engineering Education in COVID-19 Era. with The President of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers, Ing. Trudy Morgan, the MD/CEO of Siemens Nigeria, Ms Onyeche Tifashe, the Director of Academics at the African University of Science & Technology, Abuja, Engr. Prof. Peter Onwualu, who is a former DG of the Raw Materials Research & Development Council, and a senior engineer at South Jersey Industries, USA, Ms Adaeze Udeogalanya billed for the session. There was also first of its kind virtual industrial visit to the Jaguar Land Rover assembly plant in Halewood, Liverpool England UK, with Engr. Ismail Balogun, Founder of Balbus UK Ltd and a UK automotive engineering solutions provider as tour guide.