The Federal Government must engage with and effectively utilize the skills of members for infrastructure projects across the nation, says the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
They bemoaned the fact that “Executive Order Five,” which President Muhammad Buhari signed into law in 2018 and which aims to promote science, the acquisition of technology, and the involvement of local businesses in government procurement activities, is failing to benefit engineers.
At the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE) fellowship conferral ceremony in Lagos, NSE President Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil stated that the government prefers foreigners to complete the majority of the infrastructure projects.
He argued that in order to ensure proper implementation of the Executive Order, the Federal Government should formally involve NSE in monitoring its implementation.
The NSE president said: “We are asking government and states to challenge Nigerian engineers with projects that they think we cannot do. Our members have proven their capabilities in different places in the country. We have also done well outside the country and can do it in this country.
“The Akwa-Ibom State government recently commissioned a 9.5 kilometres, 10-lane road with tunnels to evacuate storm waters. A Nigerian engineer and indigene of Akwa Ibom executed the project. We are also challenging private sector to give us projects and we will deliver. We thank the Federal Government for the Executive Order Five, but I must say that the executive order is not working.”
Gidari-Wudil, further disclosed that the NSE has a new scheme called, ‘smart office’ that will host a technology hub in Abuja, which will enable engineers to develop their products. He added that it costs about N300 million.
He disclosed that when the centre starts operations, Nigeria will have sufficient projects to show in terms of technology development.
The National Chairman, NIMechE, Mrs. Olufunmilade Akingbagbohun, advised government at all levels to harness skills of local engineers to stop brain drain in all sectors of the economy.
She said: “Nigerian professionals remain our hope to stimulate industrialisation, ensure job creation and prosperity for all. To achieve this, technology will be a critical asset. It is my belief that our national policies must lean progressively towards recommendations and input of professional bodies. This is the only way we can carry everyone along and open up new opportunities.”
Akingbagbohun, who congratulated the new fellows and awardees that included, the Chairman, Elizade Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, charged them to serve the institution at chapters and committees levels.
Also speaking, Chairman, NIMechE Board of Fellows, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ashiru, who is the Pro-Chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoyi, urged engineers to upgrade their skills for relevance in the society.
In his presentation on ‘Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the New World Normal’, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Africa Plc, Dr. Segun Ogunsanya, who was represented by Mr. Adedoyin Adeola, emphasised the role of technology in socio-economic development.
He argued that while Nigeria missed out from the first and second industrial revolutions, there was a need to embrace new technology to be part of opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution, which is driven by ICT.
Ogunsanya challenged engineers to form partnerships and synergy to set new frontiers in technological development.