I love the Engineering Profession not particularly because I lived my dream to build a career in it but due to the fact that I am passionate about and admire the profession. Since childhood, I have always wondered with amazement what magic individuals who erected tall buildings and strong bridges in the air, performed. What of roads which carry and manage the heavy weights of thousands of cars and big trucks on a daily basis for uncountable number of years without caving in or even showing the slightest crack. The airplane with all its passengers, luggage, facilities, has the ability to take off and suspend in the air. Offshore engineering work is a scary adventurous but awesome sight to behold. Trust me, I can’t go on and on to enumerate all the professional feats of an engineer, some are unimaginable, unfathomable and invisible to the human eyes. True, it goes beyond what we think and know. Unknown to me, I was not alone in my thoughts that “Engineers are second only to God”. The Duke of Edinburgh said Engineers performed such an essential function that it was hard to imagine life without them. He also said Engineers held the key to the future of humanity and its ability to continue to thrive on the planet. I quote him: “The whole of our infrastructure, from sewers to power supplies and communications, anything that wasn’t invented by God is invented by an Engineer”.
By definition, Engineering Education, Practice and Regulation are about the infusion of personnel with the appropriate body of knowledge in school, equipping the individual with the right skill sets hands-on in practice with the requisite laws and regulations in place to guide and protect the application of knowledge and skills to solve problems of humanity in ethical, safe, economic, healthy and environmentally-friendly manner. Development and Technology- synonyms to Engineering- birthed to existence the revolutionary ages from Stone Age to Machine Age to Atomic Age to Information Age. Mobile telephony, the internet, aircraft, computers, electricity are just few out of the numerous technological innovations by engineers which have made life easier, processes faster and our world a better and more comfortable haven to inhabit.
With the lingering urgent task of using engineering to drive change especially in Nigeria (Africa and the world at large) and the persistent knock/strong desire for high quality of life offered from self-sufficiency of food, local production of goods and services we need and adequate/reliable infrastructure, clearly the engineering profession has been beckoned. Interestingly, engineers once given the stepping blocks and enabling environment, have the ability to take the bull by its horns and surmount these challenges, completing the tasks efficiently. This is simply because they have been duly and rigorously trained to analyze problems and proffer solutions in a rational systematic way. Embedded in them is the mindset to define a problem, identify alternatives, select the best solution and implement it. There are moral and ethical obligations coupled with ethics which engineers have vowed to, as part of their professional status to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Truth remains that the country will keep needing engineers to promote development, reduce poverty, achieve solutions on climate change, mitigation and adaptations, and cope with natural disasters and other requirements of the nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In a bid to save our economy, Engineers with their high level of professionalism, hardwork and commitment to the practice, are poised to fashion out more economical and quicker construction methods, material and environment-protection technologies, renewable energy, more flexible urban mobility solutions and telecommunications systems which provide broadband interconnections. In general, these professionals/gifted hands can design technologies and systems which are able to facilitate national, regional and international trade, thus, fostering technological innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, self-independence and a better stable economy and national image. Creation of many job opportunities, efficient use of resources and protection of the environment are sure positive results. In effect, we unanimously say: “Anything we must consume, we must produce”. We say an affirmative and resounding YES to INDUSTRIALIZATION. Industrialization drives both infrastructure and agriculture. Singlehandedly, it is the agent of both economic and social sustainability.
A well-known proverb states thus: “Once the head is good, the whole body is influenced positively, on the other hand, if the head is rotten, the whole body is bad. In the same vein, all Nigerian engineers home and abroad proudly associate with the No 1 Nigerian Engineer, the 30th President and Chairman-in-Council of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), the Vice President of the Council of the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), a colossus, a rare gem, a man of honour, a prolific writer, a dexterous orator, a fascinating character, an incomparable mentor, Engr. Otis Oliver Tabugbo Anyaeji, FNSE, FAEng in his timely and most welcome foresight and strategic vision for the Engineer, the Engineering Profession and practice, the Government, the nation and economy. With already-concluded successful and purpose-driven Engineering workshops, seminars, lectures, conferences and yet-to-be-held programmes, the big dream is in the pipeline and on the verge of being achieved. In November 2015, the Society unveiled the maiden edition of the Nigerian Infrastructural Report Card under the able leadership of the Immediate Past President of the Society, Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, FNSE. We look forward to the Bureau for Engineering Manpower Planning 2016 Document to be published by the Nigerian Society of Engineers. It will serve the sole purpose of advising the Nigerian Government accurately on the need and numbers of Engineering Personnel (Engineers, Technologists, Technicians and Craftsmen) to be incorporated in the “Policy-Making Space”, rightfully because engineers normally have superior knowledge of current scientific issues compared to career politicians. Fortunately, if implemented by the Government, this would go a long way in effective handling of different engineering based sectors and technological issues, as well as maximization of public welfare and minimization of the negative impact of technology.
Now, it is the responsibility of the Government and Professional Engineering Bodies to determine on a planning basis, the needs and numbers of engineers in our country, just like South Africa, Morocco and Malaysia have implemented and set the pace. Parents, Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions all have a great role to play in these formative and awareness stages in order to birth worthy leaders of tomorrow. The right exposure and necessary foundation must be laid if our structure must stand. Our school curriculum must be rich and informative enough. At the earliest stage possible, our children’s passion, flair, interest and dream must be captured/recognized in time. Not everybody have brains for engineering, but no matter your course of study or profession, you are relevant and important once you be at your best. All what the country needs is the “joint efforts of good brains in various fields of life” coupled with transparency and unity. Even as a sibling, friend, parent, relative of an engineer, you have a huge supportive role. It’s time for our take-home:
Civil Engineers Build the World
Mechanical Engineers Move the World
Electrical Engineers Power the World
Computer Engineers Program the World
Electronics Engineers Gadgetize the World
Textile Engineers Clothe the World
Chemical Engineers React the World
Polymer Engineers Redesign the World and
Petroleum Engineers Fuel the World.
I duff my cap for my fellow engineers and pray sincerely that God keeps us all, gives us the good health to improve in our practice and makes the world realize that engineers and engineering are indispensable.