By Isqil Najim
The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers, has announced the passing of one of its Founding members, Engr Ogbemi Frankin Akomi at the age of 89. Engr Ogbemi was the first Vice Chairman of the then Mechanical Division. (now Nigerian Institution of mechanical Engineers, NIMechE). He was also one of the first member of the first governing Council of the regulatory body and first Nigerian Fellow of Institution of Mechanical Engineers, IMechE UK and first corresponding member of IMechE, Nigeria Panel.
Engr. Franklin Akomi Ogbemi was born on the 2nd October 1932 in Warri North Local Government of Delta State. He had his elementary school education at St James’s and at St Peter’s Schools in Benin City (1938-45) and his secondary school education as a government scholar at Government College Ibadan (1946-1951). He was awarded Western Region Government Scholarship for his University education at University College Ibadan (1952-1954) and Queen Mary College of the University of London (1954-1958) where he graduated in mechanical engineering in August 1958. He was a member of Convocation of the University of Ibadan, his Alma Mata and of the University of London.
At Queen Mary College, he chose energy as his line of interest and offered nuclear energy as one of the subjects for his degree coupled with a two-year undergraduate course in applied and industrial administration at the London School of Economics of the University of London (1956-1958). From 1958 to 1960, he did a two-year post-graduate practical training with the Central Electricity Generating Board in England. He served at various thermal power stations in the North East Division.
Engr. Ogbemi joined the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) from 1960-1967, where he moved through the various engineering cadres of the Generation Department of the corporation; Plant Maintenance and Operations Superintendent at Ijora Power Station; Superintendent Head of Challowa Power Station in Kano; Head of Oji River Power Station Enugu and power generation planning at Headquarters in quick succession. In April 1969, he was appointed Head of Generation Department and Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Corporation, a post he held till January 1973 when he was appointed Assistant General Manager Operations for the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), the body that replaced ECN and the Niger Dams Authority (NDA) that year.
In November 1976, he was appointed the first and pioneer Chairman of Benin-Owena River Basin Development Authority (BORBDA). He retired voluntarily from NEPA in November 1977, but retained his Chairmanship position with BORBDA till September 1979 to concentrate more fully as an energy and environmental impact management consultant with his private engineering company, Nukom Engineering Limited.
He was admitted to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) of the UK in July 1960 as Graduate Member and to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) also of the UK in 1964 as Associate Member. He was enrolled a Chartered Engineer of the UK in 1965. He rose to Fellow of IMechE and of CMI in 1970 and 1980 respectively but retired voluntarily from the three UK Institutions in 2011 and 2014.
Engr. Ogbemi was a member of the British Nuclear Energy Society from 1963-1967 and the Nigerian Branch of the UK Institute of Petroleum Engineers from 1967-1979. He was enrolled Corporate Member of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in 1966 and he served on the Executive Committee and on several of the key Standing Committees of the Society from 1966 to 1977. He chaired its Foreign Relations Committee from when it was established in 1975 till 1977 and participated in working out modalities for the establishment of a regulatory body for engineering practice in Nigeria.
On the establishment of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) in 1971, the Federal Government appointed him a member of the first governing council of the regulatory body and he served on its principal committees from 1971-1977. He has remained a COREN Registered Engineer of Nigeria, Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), Past Chairman and Fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FNIMechE) and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (FNAEng). He was honoured with Life Award of the Academy in May 2007 and Distinguished Excellence Award of NIMechE in 2014.
Engr Franklin Akomi Ogbemi was a committed Christian and a long time member of Our Saviour’s Church. He was a Patron and Board Member of Igbehin Adun School for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Mentally Retarded Children in Okokomaiko in Lagos. He toured the Holy Land on a Christian Pilgrim in September 1997.
He was married to his wife of almost sixty two years, Mrs. Grace Ogbemi and was blessed with four children, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren whom he loved dearly.
He would be greatly remembered for his immense contributions to the Mechanical engineering division, he was very passionate about engineering even in his old age, he kept sharing ideas on the development of the engineering profession, several conversation held with him shows his passion and love for Mechanical Engineering. May his soul rest in peace and May God grant the family and the engineering the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.