Right from his student days in ABU Zaria, he registered as a Student Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain. Within four years of his graduation from ABU, he was upgraded to Corporate Membership status and was registered by COREN in 1978. He attained the Fellowship of the two institutions in 1994 and 1995 respectively. His passion for Civil Engineering practice attracted him to the Civil Division of NSE where he was invited on Board by the then Chairman, Engr. Adedoyin Salisu who later became the Lamodi of Ijebu Isiwo. He rose through the ranks in the Exco of the Civil Division of NSE and was installed the national Chairman of the Division in January 2000 after his election in November 1999. His 2-year tenure as the Chairman of the Civil Division was momentous as the Division witnessed tremendous activities and growth in terms of training, workshops, seminars, visitation/presentation of technical papers to branches and on top of it all, registration of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) with the Corporate Affairs Commission as the Civil Engineering Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. All the efforts for the two-year period were crowned with laudable success at the November 2001 AGM of the Nigerian Society of Engineers when NICE was officially recognized by NSE after winning the first position giant trophy of the NSE Group Dynamics Session. Kudos must be given to the then members of Exco of NICE including Engr. J.O.K. Ajayi (Imm. Past Chairman), Engr. Segun Adedeji (Vice Chairman), Dr. T.M. Olatunji (Secretary), Engr. J.O. Akanmu (Defacto technical Secretary), Engr. Emeka Ezeh (Past President NSE), other Exco members including Engrs. A.A. Omopeloye, Bade Adebowale, S.K. Ilugbekhai, Ahmed Mustapha, Tunde Ajanaku, Senator Femi Kila, A.O.T. Oyelola, Debo, Abudiore and other like minds in the profession for standing solidly behind the then Division and offering all the necessary technical, moral and financial support.
Consteng’s Maryland office (HOB’s office) was then a beehive of activities as the sitting room and one office were donated to NICE for its use. Several years after that, the office remained the Secretariat of NICE until it was gutted by fire some years after he left the office as Chairman.
It is to the glory of God that he obtained the Fellowship of NICE about 2 years after he left office and he is today a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institution. NICE today has branches all over the country.
……. And HOB Speaks
(culled from NICE Newsletter, June 2021)
Q: Can we meet you (name and summary brief of what you do?
HOB Lawal: I am Engr. H.O.B. Lawal, FNICE, FNSE, FICE, managing director of Consteng Limited (Construction Engineers) from inception in 1982 to date. I have also had the privilege of rising through the ranks in the Civil Engineering Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers to become the National Chairman for the years 2000 and 2001.
Q: What has been Your Contributions to NICE and the Engineering Environment?
HOB Lawal: I served the then Civil Engineering Division in the capacity of Publicity Secretary, Financial Secretary, Technical Secretary and Vice Chairman, etc, before rising to become the National Chairman in year 2000. It is to the glory of God and exemplary service of the EXCO headed by me to transform the Civil Division of NSE, conceive NICE and gave birth to it at the 2001 AGM of the NSE in Port Harcourt after winning the 1st position trophy of the NSE Group Dynamics session. It was a well-deserved Award and safe delivery of NICE to cap the 2-year activities of the then EXCO. On board of the then EXCO were Engrs. H.O.B. Lawal (Chairman), J.O.K. Ajayi (Imm Past Chair), Segun Adedeji (Vice Chair), Dr T.M Olatunji (Gen Sec), Dr J. O. Akanmu (De-facto Tech Sec), A.A. Omopeloye, Senator Femi Kila, A.O.T. Oyelola, S.K. Ilugbeha, Bade Adebowale, Ahmed Mustapha, Tunde Ajanaku, B.E.Ojum, Debo, Abudiore and a host of others.
As for the contribution to the Engineering Environment, I have always a firm believer, advocate of the philosophy of the great Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of India who said – “Indian Engineers will build our roads and bridges. In the process, they will learn from their mistakes and attain the perfection of construction” (sic) Five other quotes of the late sage Mahatma are also relevant, viz:
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes”
“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning”
“Glory lies in the attempt reach one’s goal AND NOT in reaching it”
“The future depends on what you do today”
“It’s the action, NOT THE FRUIT of the action, that is important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that does not mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result”.
These have been the guiding philosophies of Consteng Limited which I head. With the benefit of frequent visits to India in the last 30 years, it is apposite to mention that the Indians who were constructing substandard roads 30 years ago are the same Indians who are constructing the standard roads and bridges of today! All that has happened is a courageous display of political will, leadership and patriotism by the late MAHATMA GANDHI
I have tried to replicate Mahatma’s philosophy as much as I could here in Nigeria. I wish to seize this opportunity to thank and appreciate all those including our respected engineers who have encouraged me and other engineers in the struggle for the emancipation of Nigerian engineers. It is to the glory of God and tenacity of purpose of Consteng engineers that its projects have been dotting the landscape of the country particularly in Lagos State in the last 40 years.
Q: What would you advise our young civil Engineers in our community?
HOB Lawal: Unfortunately, the malaise of the larger Nigerian society has penetrated the rank and file of our young engineers. My candid advice is that they also should imbibe the letter and spirit of the late Mahatma’s philosophies enunciated above and develop the tenacity of purpose for their success in their chosen profession. They should lay less emphasis on riches as riches will come naturally as reward for hard work.
Q: What are your Aspirations for the institution- what can we do differently to make NICE more visible?
HOB Lawal: My aspiration for NICE is to get the support of all and sundry to grow it into a Oak like the ICE – The INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ENGINEERS of Great Britain. Presently, NICE is on course, given the various courses and trainings that are made available all year round. I think NICE should thru CPD provide more opportunities for its engineers to learn more in the field.
Q: Where do you see civil Engineers in the next 5 years?
HOB Lawal: First of all, we should pray for our country’s political stability and economic improvement. With that in place, more opportunities will be provided for our engineers to grow.
Q: What is your view on maximizing local content in major infrastructure projects in Nigeria?
HOB Lawal: This has already been covered in my response to question no 2 above in which I enunciated the philosophies of the late sage, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of Indian nationalism.
Past NSE President Engr. Gummel and a host of other senior Engineers admiring the Group Dynamics trophy at the Port Harcourt 2001 AGM
L-R: Engr. J.O. Akanmu, PNCs Omopeloye, J.O.K. Ajayi and H.O.B. Lawal admiring the trophy
Elated PNC Engr. H.O.B. Lawal and NSE PP Emeka Ezeh with the trophy