In a deliberate move aimed towards achieving some set goals and programmes of his administration, the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Babagana Mohammed, recently led a delegation of some Executive Committee (EXCO) members of the Society on a courtesy-cum-working visit to the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Engr. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
At the meeting which held on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, Engr. Babagana took the Minister through his journey as NSE President since January 1, 2020 and the modest achievements recorded by the administration despite the encumbering factors of the COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests. He outlined few of the accomplishments which include the award of N16,000,000.00 (sixteen million naira only) scholarships to 16 deserving secondary school students to study Engineering in the universities of their choice, the donation of N10,000,000.00 (ten million naira only) to the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Centre for Decease Control (NCDC) as support for the fight against COVID-19, completion works on the Phase 2 wing of the NSE Secretariat complex, as well as renovation of a Primary Health Care Centre and provision of hospital equipment for the centre in a community
within the Federal Capital Territory, amongst others.
The NSE President went further to intimate the Minister about the critical development projects and programmes that his administration is undertaking and which will be of immense benefits to both Engineers and the Nigerian citizenry in general. He listed them as:
1. The proposed Advocacy on Regional Economic Development
2. The proposed Technical and Vocational Education and Training Summit
3. Establishment of Engineering Staff College of Nigeria (ESCON)
Expatiating, the President said: “I have inaugurated a Special Committee to midwife the establishment of the Engineering Staff College of Nigeria (ESCON). NSE needs to have an organised system of Continuing Professional Development for its members. The proposed Engineering Staff College of Nigeria, which will be the first of its kind in Africa, will be an autonomous organ of NSE to provide for professional development of Engineers and Engineering managers and offer consultancy services to government and industry.
“Advocacy on Regional Economic Development: We have also created an advocacy platform for exploitation and harnessing of regional resources endowments for rapid regional economic development through collaboration among government, academia, and industry in each region.
The NSE Council at its meeting of January 14, 2021 approved the composition as well as the Terms of reference of the Study and Planning teams to implement the advocacy programme. Attached herewith is a copy of the teams Membership, Advisers, Terms of Reference, as well as the expected outcome of the advocacy for your study.
“We are aware of the significant work you have done in the Ministry in developing the National Science, Technology and Innovation (ST & I) Policy and the ST & I Integrated Roadmap 2017 – 2030 as “Catalysis of Nigeria’s Economic Growth and competitiveness”. This advocacy will compliment your efforts in realization of the goals of the Roadmap.
“In consideration of the pivotal role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the seeming lack of commitment to it by the country for sustainable economic and industrial development, we have proposed a national summit to comprehensively discuss and proffer lasting strategies for “Revitalization and Sustenance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Nigeria”. NSE is on the verge of finalizing plans for the Technical and Vocational Education and
Training (TVET) Summit which is scheduled to hold in May 2021. Copy of the proposal is attached here for your further study”.
In conclusion, Engr. Babagana Mohammed prayed the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology to consider direct collaborations between the Ministry of Science and Technology, its relevant agencies and the NSE to guarantee achievement of the desired outcomes on the projects. He also assured the Honourable Minister that NSE was open for discussions and consultations on ways to muster its vast intellectual assets to help the Ministry of Science and Technology, and indeed the Federal Government of Nigeria, to achieve the mandate of delivering prosperity and good life to the citizens of Nigeria. While also acknowledging the tremendous inputs of the Minister and his colleagues to the Presidential Executive Order 5, the NSE President appealed for more accelerated work to ensure its inclusion in the national procurement process and therefore guarantee its full implementation.
While responding, the Minister said he was happy to receive the delegation and that it was in demonstration of his joy that he invited the senior Engineers at the headquarters and CEOs of Agencies in the Ministry to be with him during the visit.
He expressed satisfaction with NSE programmes especially the scholarship and ESCON initiatives, urging the President and the entire NSE leadership not to relent until the establishment of the college is achieved. According to the Minister, the Executive Order 5 is just one out of the six policy documents that the Ministry of Science and Technology has packaged with a view to transforming Nigeria’s economy from being resource based to becoming knowledge-based. He opined that the recession that our economy dips into regularly is because Nigeria has an essentially mono-product economy and the sharp reduction in global prices of crude oil will naturally result in economic recession. He said Nigeria has started the transition and must continue to prepare for a post crude oil era by harnessing other minerals and renewable energy resources that we have.
When you look around our country today all you see are machines and equipment which are imported..That is because our capital goods industry is practically nonexistent.-Dr. Onu
The Minister further said: “The Executive Order 5 is so important to us and we must take advantage of the opportunities because it is bringing Engineers and Scientists to the centre of economic activities in order to make economic development sustainable. These policies will make Nigeria achieve what China has achieved in the last 30 years which has made it the second largest economy in the world today. The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology is determined to accelerate the pace of industrialisation in Nigeria. We have seen that our industrialisation process has not been as fast as it should be because the technological base is weak; therefore we need to strengthen certain key areas.
“When you look around our country today all you see are machines and equipment which are imported; whether they are household applications, hospital equipment, construction machines and many others. That is because our capital goods industry is practically nonexistent. We need to build up our capital goods industry in order to catalyze and accelerate the process of industrialisation. NASENI and PRODA are working together to ensure that this is realised. We will build infrastructure across the six geopolitical zones of the country to start manufacturing the goods that are imported into the country today. Once Nigeria starts producing capital goods within the country then there is nothing we cannot manufacture in Nigeria, be they ships,
The Honourable Minister gave the NSE delegation the assurances that the Ministry and its Agencies will study the proposals submitted to determine the specific areas of possible collaboration.
“I have inaugurated a Special Committee to midwife the establishment of the Engineering Staff College of Nigeria (ESCON). The proposed Engineering Staff College of Nigeria, which will be the first of its kind in Africa, will provide for professional development of Engineers and Engineering managers and offer consultancy services to government and industry.”- Babagana
On the NSE delegation were the Vice President, Membership Services, Engr. Mrs. Aishatu Umar, Vice President, Corporate Services, Engr. Yakubu Garba, Vice President, Professional Development, Engr. Felix Nwankwo, FNSE, Executive Secretary, Engr. Dr. Okopi Alex Momoh and the NSE Abuja Branch Chairman Engr. Abdulmalik Abdulbari. On the other side of the table were senior officers of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology which include the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Akpan Sunday, the EVC/CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Engr. Prof. M. S. Haruna, the DG/CEO of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBBRI), Engr. Prof. Samson Duna, the DG/CEO of National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), Engr. Dr. Mohammed Jibrin, the DG/CEO of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Engr. Prof. Eli Jidere Bala, and many other Directors in the Ministry.