The Nigerian Academy of Engineering and Arco Group, have expressed concern that Engineering education and profession are not being given the pride of place they deserve in national planning and development.
The Academy led by its President, Mrs. Joanna Maduka was in Arco’s Head Office, Lagos, to brief the organisation on its expanding role in promoting engineering education and profession, as well as discuss ways and means of broadening its collaboration with it in different spheres of its activities.
The visit was also to appreciate Arco for its commitment towards sponsoring the academy’s annual post-doctoral fellowship.
In her opening remarks, Maduka observed that the economic growth and recovery plan recently put in place by the federal government, did not have sufficient technical input, a situation which she said did not reflect the crucial role of engineers in economic planning in Nigeria.
She also deplored the pervasive scarcity of modern teaching instruments and equipment in the engineering and technical departments of tertiary institutions in the country, and called on all concerned to improve the situation in order to enhance the technical competence of graduates of the institutions.
The Academy’s President told the management of the organisation that a recent survey of abandoned projects all over Nigeria showed that the total cost of such projects is N5 trillion, adding that most of them were engineering projects.
“There is need for fresh initiatives from the public and private sectors on how to review and revive the projects for completion,” Maduka said
A member of the delegation, Professor Augustine Esogbue, based in the United States and the coordinator of the academy’s activities in the diaspora, informed the gathering that Nigerian engineering talents abound in different countries around the world.
He emphasised the need for the country to reach out to them and make use of their expertise in various fields of engineering, noting that they have emotional attachment to their country.
A former President of the Academy, Professor Ayo Ogunye, requested that Arco’s annual sponsorship of its Post-doctoral Fellowship programme be upgraded to an endowment in order to make it a permanent scheme that will be named ‘Arco Post-doctoral Fellowship’.
Responding to a question raised over the relevance of research being carried out by the beneficiaries of the Academy’s Fellowship, Maduka said that there should be proper link between engineering research fellows and industries because the results of research projects should meet specific needs of their sponsors.
According to her, “a study should have immediate and medium term benefits that will galvanise the economy.”
Another member of the delegation, Mr. Babatunde Soyode praised the founder of Arco Group, Mr. Alfred Okoigun for his efforts and his encouragement of younger Nigerian engineers to improve their skills through company-sponsored scholarships and on-the-job trainings.
Okoigun expressed his organisation’s gratitude to the academy for considering it a worthy ally in the promotion of engineering education and profession.
He enjoined the academy to propagate its activities in a manner that will attract the goodwill and support of public spirited organisations and individuals that can contribute their own quota towards the success of its various programmes and activities.
Okoigun said that Arco was eager to collaborate with the academy in areas of mutual interests to both sides.
“Let us articulate what we can do together. We are passionate about engineering. No country develops without science and engineering,” he said