Peter Uzoho and Oluchi Chibuzo
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has stressed the need for collaboration between the government, the industry, and practitioners of engineering to improve the standards of the profession in the country.
Obasanjo, stated this in Lagos, in his keynote address at a special induction lecture organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, in honour of Prof. J.A. Obafemi Onipade, recently.
The theme of the lecture was: “Engineering Education for Sustainable Development in Nigeria.”
The lecture was delivered by the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos, Prof. F.A. Falade.
According to the ex-president, if there was going to be economic growth, the field of engineering must be effective and implemented at its full capacity and the industry must have its own input in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In addition, he said the financing of engineering academies and faculties must be adequate and properly used.
He added: “I listened attentively and read as much as I could. I want to emphasise one of the points he (guest lecturer) brought out from that lecture without meaning to denigrate any other profession.
“The point is that whatever a pharmacist would use to produce a medicine has to be made by an engineer. It is right to say that without
engineers there would no development.
“There should be collaboration particularly between the government, industry and the profession of engineering. Here in Nigeria, that has always been a lapse that we have to do something about.
“It is a gap that we have to bridge if we are going to make progress. The training of engineers must be right. The industry must have its own inputs on the training. The financing and facilities must be adequate.
“And government must wash its hands out of that. The practice of engineering must be made available. If foreigners have to bring in engineering experts, we also must train our own engineers to do for us what we need to do for ourselves.
“Members of the profession, the engineers, technologists, craftsmen and technicians, must be taken together as one member of the family.”
The elder statesman, however, thanked the academy for honouring Olopade, who he said, deserves to be honoured, adding: “One thing you note about him is that he has taken the profession very serious in practice, promotion and encouragement.”
On his part, Olopade stressed the need for companies to train technicians in the country, pointing out that this would help to reduce unemployment.