By isqil Najim
Discussing the roles of engineers in Politics during the last Monthly Technical Session of the Nigerian Society of Engineers,, NSE, Victoria island Branch, Engr Mrs Atinuke Wuraola Owolabi, a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers and Vice Chairman Association of professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN Lagos Chapter, has reiterated that that engineers cannot achieve their goal of positively impacting national development if they stay away from partisan politics.
The event which held at the national Engineering Centre, Victoria Island Lagos, is a part of the Branch’s continous efforts towards encouraging engineers share knowledge, experiences and perspectives on varying subjects. Chaired by the Branch chairman, Engr Emeka Benson Ibeh, the session was attended by many other distinguished engineers from Island.
Speaking on the theme: “The Role of Engineers in Politics’’, Owolabi Agbaje, who is also actively involved in politics, said Engineers and Politics cannot be divorced from each other considering the roles the former plays in every political decisions and achievements. She said Engineers’ application of knowledge of Scientific and mathematics in design, manufacturing and infrastructures among others, are critical to the success of politicians and placs them in a better position to provide solutions to nation’s challenges, and harnessing resources for sustainable environment.
She described Politics as the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups. She said that the only way through which political activities transcend to action is through groups of people and professionals and individuals who came together under a political party that will determine the future of millions of Nigerians. As a result of this, for us to take our rightful positions in these groups, there must be a change of attitude toward politics on our part.
She stressed further that various challenges of insecurity, environmental pollution, poverty challenges, infrastructure deficit, industrialization and unemployment facing the country require the problem solving ability of Nigerian engineers. Saying that these national challenges can be addressed if the “Nigerian Engineers offer themselves, in both elective and appointing position, to serve the country. She stressed that no nation can develop without engineers, therefore, integrating the Nigerian engineers into the development process is a starting point to the development of our nation.”
Speaking further, Owolabi Agbaje said that being an engineer is not automatically going to make an engineer successful in politics. She averred that becoming a politician is an entirely different ball game and engineer or any professional who want to venture into politics must walk the political path.
She identified what she called the 5Ps ( Purpose, Planning, Personality, Passion and Pursuit) as integral to success of professionals going into politics.She advise engineers who intended to go into politics to also equip themselves with knowledge of electoral law, the constitution, electoral process, functionality of political parties, and also emotional intelligence by way of understanding human behaviors. Aside this, she noted that personal traits of values, integrity, honesty or leadership skills are essential to success.
Wuraola-Owalabi, who is the President, Coalition of Professional Women in Politics (COPWIP) pointed out that while one may not necessarily need preparation or qualification to join politics, engineers must be prepared. Noting that many people who joined without preparation or purpose and seek quick results are disappointed and frustrated along the line.
Among other traits, she advised those going into politics to move closer to their people, be open minded and play leadership roles at local level.
Talking about the upcoming general elections, Owolabi said that the coming election will be technology driven and Engineers must ensure visibility and contribute to its success. She suggested that “Engineers should offer free service (ProBono) for the Independent National Electoral commission as Voter Education Providers to the electorates: Sensitization of PVC collection, training on the use of BVAS, Thumb printing, ballot papers demonstration etc. Through this, you will be well reckoned with both with the government and communities.”
“As Engineers in Politics, we are first known as Professionals and as we nurture our involvements and activities in politics by being able to connect and relate with people from all walks of life, different social backgrounds, different views and perspectives we must advocate for good governance and welfare of our people especially the poor and downtrodden and also be a voice for them.”
“People often say politics is a dirty game but should we fold our hands, watch and leave it in the hands of bad people? No, that is why as Engineers, we must advocate and encourage good people to come into politics.
“Therefore, I implore all Engineers to get involved in partisan politics because politics is too important to be unprofessionally handled, and that we should use our good positions in our respective fields to become good and honorable politicians.: She concluded.