The Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) on Thursday, June 23 2022, swore in Prof. Azikiwe Onwualu as its 12th President and conferred 10 members as new fellows. The event also had three prominent Nigerian engineers conferred with life Achievements Award, Isqil Najim writes.
Professor Azikiwe Peter Onwualu, a professor of Agricultural engineering and former Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council of Nigeria is taking over from Engr Alex O. Ogedegbe who has completed his tenure as the president of the apex engineering body.
Speaking at the investiture which held inside JF Ade Ajayi Auditorium, University of Lagos, Onwualu chronicled the Academy’s journey and recalled some of its achievements and contributions to the Nigeria’s socioeconomic development. He said that the Academy, which was established in 1997 as a national think tank for Engineering Technology and Innovation, provides leadership in national engineering and technology development.
Outlining the next direction of the academy under his leadership, Onwualu said that he will build on the formidable foundation of the Academy. He recalled that the academy adopted and developed strategic plan of action in 2020 which cover such wide areas of operations. He pledged to further implement the remaining aspect of the strategic plan.
He also revealed that the academy will contribute professional input into the policy formation before they are rolled out. In addition, there will be more collaborations with government at all levels, industry and academy sector to drive innovation in all sectors of the economy. The academy, according to him, will also tap into its international collaborations and partnership to achieve its goals.
On education development Onwualu said the Academy will work with government and industry to save the education sector from complete collapse. “As a country, we need to revive skills, technical, vocational and entrepreneurship education to prepared future graduates of our colleagues and universities for future of work and work of the future which is very dynamic.”
He added that for these noble objectives to be achieves, all engineering and relate bodies such as Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, bodies of technologies, technicians must work together to revive the technical skills sector in Nigeria.
“To avoid obsolesce, institutions must add value that cannot be easily provided by video teaching or other technology,” Prof. R. I. Salawu
Speaking on the fellows, Onwualu said that the fellows are drawn from among very senior Nigerian engineering professionals, resident in Nigeria and abroad who have distinguished themselves in business, academia and government. they are vital to the success of the academy as they are drafted to at least one committee or forum of the academy where they contribute their expertise and knowledge into national development.
Prof. Raifu Salawu, the guest speaker and a past president of the academy, said in his lecture titled: “Engineering Education in Nigeria, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” that there had not been commensurate increase in funding for the institutions in Nigeria. Salawu added that in spite of the new scientific knowledge about teaching and learning, significant transformation of engineering education in Nigeria remained elusive.
He predicted that within the next 10 years, increasing number of students would turn to credit granting Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC), causing a major shakeup in higher education. He urged institutions to adopt the use of active learning to engage student in projects, design and laboratory experiences that would prepare them for professional practice.
Earlier, the outgoing president of the Academy, Engr Alex Ogedegbe, while delivering is welcome address outlined the achievements of the Academy under his tenure. He announced that the academy has implemented internal reforms and deepened it international engagements and partnerships. He said his administration has integrated the implementation of the Academy’s Strategic Plan into the mainstream of the academy’s activities.
Three prominent engineers were conferred with Life Achievement Award. They are Engr (Chief) Olumuyiwa Ajibola, former President of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN and Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE; Engr Gilbert Temisa Grant, Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of Augustine University, Lagos; and Engr Funsho Moses Kupolokun, former Minister of petroleum Resources. 11 distingusihed engineers received the fellowship of the Academy. They are Engr Orof Akindele Folarin Alonge, Engr. (MRS) Adenike Ibilola Amao, Engr Nebolisa Emodi, Engr Christopher Okechukwu Okoye, Engr prof Olagoke Olabisi, Engr Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, Engr. Prof. Kolawole Osinubi, Engr Ali Alimasuya Rabiu, Engr. Prof. Winston Oluwole Soboye, and Engr Dr. Muhammad Nuru Yakubu.
Report by isqil Najim