You must be watchful, hopeful, big hearted and realise that you are the best, Young Engineers urged

By Niyi Oduwole

A total of 643 Engineering graduands of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye have been inducted as graduate members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), with a charge to use the practical knowledge they have gained to reform mankind and effect positive changes in the society.

The graduands, who had completed their degree programme during the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 academic sessions, were inducted amid pomp and pageantry on Wednesday, 9th February, 2022 at the College of Engineering and Environmental Studies, Ibogun Campus, OOU.

In his keynote address on the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, congratulated the inductees, noting that the membership of NSE is not only another watershed in their lives but also a great achievement that would enhance their chances in the labour market.

He posited that graduates from the institution’s Faculty of Engineering have been imparted with adequate knowledge to develop their personal initiatives and possess intellectual independence as well as become creators of employment, urging them to synergize with others in handling more complicated issues facing the nation and the world at large.

Prof. Olatunde, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola, underscored the role of engineering professionals in the development of any nation and charged the inductees to be good ambassadors of their alma mater as well as contribute their quota to Nigeria’s development.

He said, ”The important role of engineering professionals in the design, development, operation and maintenance of critical infrastructure is attested globally under varied environments ranging from developed to developing and underdeveloped economies. The deliverables from engineering professionals are very tangible, impactful and pivotal in the growth of all types of economies.

”It is in the light of this that Nigeria, as a country, is counting on engineers and scientists to solve myriads of problems confronting us and plaguing our development as a nation. Most of these challenges are in the realm requiring solutions from the engineers and I, hereby, challenge our Faculty of Engineering to bring to bear their expertise in all the identified areas, first by responding to the local challenges around us here.’’

The Vice-Chancellor, who highlighted some of the huge investments made in the engineering programmes by the University, said the institution places a high premium on the acquisition of technological education in line with the original dream of its founding fathers. According to him, several millions worth of equipment were purchased for the College during the recent accreditation visits by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) to the engineering programmes.

”We are not resting on our oars, as many more developmental projects are on course for this Faculty just to ensure that the training of students is of high standard to enable them to compete favourably with their peers from other notable institutions within and outside the country,” he added.

The Vice-Chancellor also rejoiced with the parents and guardians of the inductees and prayed God to make them all ”eat the fruits of their labour.’’

Earlier in his welcome address, the Provost, College of Engineering and Environmental Studies, Prof. J. O. Akinyemi, noted that diligence, commitment and determination saw the inductees through the completion of their programmes and congratulated them and their parents as well as guardians for witnessing the glorious day of reward for their investments.

Prof. Akinyemi expressed the hope that the fresh engineering graduates would make positive impact on their environment, urging them not to leave any stone unturned for the betterment of lives. He charged the inductees to participate in the process of changing the African continent and the Nigerian nation in particular.

He said, ”I challenge all the inductees to see opportunities in the professional world of engineering in the face of challenges. You should not join the overcrowded community of complainants, but identify problems, analyse them and proffer solutions, with a view to creating wealth for yourselvves and others while, at the same time, advancing societal development.’’

”You must be watchful, hopeful, big hearted and realise that you are the best. May I challenge you that in the face of the present economic realities, you should endeavour to raise the bar by investing more of your time, talent and scarce resources into ventures which would showcase you to the world that you are indeed good products of OOU.’’

The Provost further told the inductees to embrace self-development, saying though it may be time-consuming, it has many advantages that include provision of clarity to personal vision, improving existing skills, helping to identify true potential, driving motivation and satisfaction and helping individuals to focus on the bigger picture. He used the occasion to thank the Vice-Chancellor for showing so much commitment to the development of Ibogun Campus and the promotion of the Engineering profession, adding: ”Within the few years that this Management came on board, the College has been blessed with several millions naira worth of equipment during the visits of the accreditation by NUC and COREN in the programmes that were recently accredited. Several staff members, both academic and non-teaching, have also been employed into the College.’’

Delivering a lecture entitled, ”Engineering Education in an Entrepreneurial Economy,” the Guest Speaker and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, Dr Modupe Onitiri, stated that Africa has the lowest number of engineering professionals per capita of all regions of the world, hence, the need for African countries to professionalise their university engineering education systems in order to enhance capacity building and produce competent engineers who would, in turn, boost the quality of life on the continent and create opportunities for sustainable economic development.

Onitiri, who canvassed a paradigm shift from conventional teaching approach in the academia, noted that engineering education is fast changing from its traditional focus on disciplinary technical knowledge to a much broader interdisciplinary and complex problem-solving approach that integrates societal problem with academic technical knowledge and solutions. The expert enjoined Nigerians to learn from the experience of the Chinese who initially ”locked up” their country before transforming it to a global power in technological advances and global innovation.

He identified the important roles of entrepreneurship in the economic development of the nation to include promotion of capital formation, creation of large-scale employment opportunities and improvement in the standard of living. He added that entrepreneurship also promotes balanced regional development, reduces the concentration of economic power, increases gross national product and per capita income and promotes the country’s export trade.
The Guest Speaker, while commending the University Management for providing necessary facilities for engineering programmes to thrive, called for improved academic staff strength to accommodate the ever-increasing student population.
He said, ”Research formulation should be focused on needs or challenges of the society using the concept of social enterprise. There is a need to set up student-based innovation and entrepreneurship groups in the Faculty using the umbrella student Departmental and Faculty bodies in collaboration with NSE.’’

‘’The leadership of the Faculty should encourage activation of multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary/cross sectoral partnership for impactful teaching and research. The large population of non-professorial cadre is the future of the Faculty and University. They must be mentored and exposed to opportunities to build up their competencies.’
The NSE President, Engr. Tasiu Gidari-Wudii, who was represented by Engr. Abiodun Lawal, later conducted the oath-taking and induction of the graduate members and offered them best wishes in their future endeavours.

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