THE ROLE AND CHALLENGES OF ENGINEERS IN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA,

BEING TEXT OF A LECTURE DELIVERED BY ENGR IZUCHUKWU ONWUGHARA mnse ON SATURDAY 8TH MAY 2021 TO NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS, ABA BRANCH ABIA STATE ON THE occasion OF THE INVESTITURE CEREMONY OF ENGR CHUKWUOCHA EMEKA J AS THE 11TH CHAIRMAN OF THE BRANCH.

Protocols.

I shall start this discussion by recounting the definition of science as was given to us in integrated science class in 1977: “Science is the ordered and systematic study of natural phenomena gained by experiment, observation and induction.” What a definition! Thank God for good teachers!

Let us also add to this the definition of Technology according to Oxford dictionaries: “Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry or as the equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge.”

Wikipedia defines technology as “the sum of the techniques, skills, methods and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific invention.”

We can therefore say that the process of applying scientific knowledge for practical purposes and the products developed through the process of that application of scientific knowledge are all called technology.

The role

Engineers drive technology which drives industrialization and industrialization in turn drives development, civilization, economy, demography and gives a push to the quality of human life on earth. For a nation, industrialization is the game changer. The level of industrialization in a nation defines the extent of national development. The entire spectrum of national life and development is driven by Technology and we can therefore say that the entire spectrum of National life and development is driven by Engineers.

The Engineer leads the quest for an improved life for man on the planet earth.This is seen in the proper conceptualization and contextualization of challenges and the proffering of appropriate solutions as well as development of the means for efficient and effective deployment of such solutions for the good of humanity.

The Toyota maxim cannot be more apt: “Good thinking, good product”. Over the centuries, Engineers have led in the quest to conquer nature and all elements as a means to achieving a better life. Man has conquered gravity, the moon, planetary systems and several natural laws have been discovered and have been applied in creating industrial systems for national development. The Engineer begins with an accidental success often times and goes ahead to investigate the process with a view to establishing a pattern and a law to the events and then applies such knowledge in both controlling or improving the means of production. The Engineer is therefore the brain box of the nation.The discipline of analytical and critical thinking afforded by Engineering education can and needs to be applied in all spheres of national life if we must advance as a nation.

From catering for the Abraham Maslow’s basic needs for food shelter and security, to the advanced needs of affirmation and eventually to the need to add quality or “swag” to life, the Engineer is always leading such ventures. The Engineer’s relevance is from the cradle to the grave!

It is said that America is run by lawyers while China is run by Engineers.

Here is the leadership of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China:

  1. Hu Jintao – water conservancy engineering (President of the People’s Republic of China)
  2. Wu Bangguo – radio engineering (Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress)
  3. Wen Jiabao – engineer in geology (Premier of the State Council)
  4. Jia Qinglin – electrical engineering (Chairman of the People’s Political Consultative Conference)
  5. Li Changchun – electrical machinery engineering? (“Propaganda Chief”)
  6. Xi Jinping – chemical engineering (Vice President of the People’s Republic of China)
  7. Li Keqiang – (not an engineer?) (First Vice Premier of the State Council)
  8. He Guoqiang – chemical engineering
  9. Zhou Yongkang – petroleum engineering

This was 11 years ago. I don’t know these names if they are still in government. The point is however that in the past 11 years China has surpassed USA in every sphere of life. A good take away from this is that Nigerian Engineers should consider careers in politics so as to save our nation.




Q&A: Why do most American and European companies go to establish production or manufacturing companies in China?

Challenges of the Nigerian Engineer in the Industrial Development of the nation

The Engineer should lead the quest for a revived economy based on production. We are a consuming nation while our God is a consuming fire! Until and unless we produce, we bring nothing in exchange and our Naira will continue on its downward slide. Let the Nigerian Engineer find ingenious ways to provide solution to these top ten problems of the world in the next 50 years.

Energy, Water, Food,  Environment,  Poverty,  Terrorism and war,  Disease, Education, Democracy, Population

Apply yourself to solving a problem in any of the above 10 areas either for a neighbourhood, village, community, local government area, state or nation and you will be constantly smiling to the bank!

The Scriptures record in Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow to it” but also says in another place, Proverbs 12:27, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of the diligent man is precious.”

…and the scriptures cannot be broken!

We mine crude oil but import petroleum products

We farm cocoa but import chocolate

We mine gold but buy all trinkets from the Arab world

We used to grow cotton but now we buy clothing from Turkey and Indonesia because not one Textile mill is functional in Nigeria.

Michelin, Odutola, Dunlop, IEA/Colgate, and several manufacturing groups have left Nigeria and relocated to either Ghana or South Africa.

Before now when a man dies, we kill a cow, now when a cow dies, we kill a community and yet we are not in the list of the first 20 meat, milk or hides producing countries of the world.

There are no technologies to fully or partially process our raw materials before export so that their values will appreciate

There are no technologies for expediting or improving quality and efficiency of manufacture, building, farming. Now processed garri is being imported from China!




Where are the fabrication workshops of Port Harcourt road, Aba? What shall we do about obsolete production systems that pollute our water bodies, land and air? When shall we begin to research into and commercialise renewable energy systems? What are we doing to adapt to the impact of disruptive technology? When shall we move from the model of controlling nature to our advantage to harnessing and adapting to nature? When shall we move from climate change mitigation and reactionary responses to adaptive and predictive responses? Does the phrase “sustainable development mean anything to the Nigerian Engineer? When will Engineering education in Nigeria change its focus to trainings in real life application instead of iterative Binomial permutations and combinations? When will PRODA be revived? Why do we not have a department of Chemical Engineering at UNN? When will the spirit of inventions and innovation be rekindled?

When shall we find x ?

Thank you!

 

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