Former President Goodluck Jonathan, has tasked Nigerian engineers to key into the prospects of digital revolution by innovating competitively to ensure that the nation and the African continent did not lose out on the growth and development opportunities being offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The former President noted that the extant industrial revolution characterised by the dominance of the Internet and a fusion of technologies was reshaping and changing the world at a fast rate, adding that Africa could not afford to miss out as it did in the previous technological revolutions.
Jonathan, who stated this on Friday in Abuja, at the investiture of Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil as the 33rd President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), further charged engineers to take the lead in the push for sustainable growth and development.
Describing engineering as the foundation for development, technological advancement and national transformation, the former President further stated that the nation has vast natural endowments to support the development of alternative and renewable energy sources.
His words: “I believe that our engineers hold the key to our economic and technological advancement, be it in the prevailing information technology and knowledge industry or in the conventional brick and mortar infrastructural development. Our engineers should take the lead in the push for sustainable growth in the nation’s development impetus.
“I made the point at the last event of NSE that the frequent collapse of buildings in the country does not speak well of the integrity and quality of our engineering; and this is happening at a time when many developing countries can boast of several secure skyscrapers standing above 100 floors.
“Having produced accomplished engineers for this long as an independent nation, we should be aiming to take the lead in the building of quality roads, rail, and other civil infrastructural development in the country.
“It is a good thing that the person taking charge today to lead NSE is an accomplished electrical engineer, with a knack for innovation. I believe he is carefully watching global developments in the energy sector where the world is gradually migrating to renewable energy, with less attention being given to fossil sources, because of environmental concerns.
“Ours is a nation with enormous power challenges. We need relevant engineering and creative engineers not only to revamp and boost power supply, but also to be able to diversify our power infrastructure. We need to build and consolidate a good energy mix that is required to reinvigorate the nation’s economy.
“If we diligently apply ourselves to developing alternative and renewable energy sources, we will become a force to be reckoned with in this regard, considering that we have abundant all-year-round sunshine, several kilometres of ocean coastline and different bodies of water with significant waves, currents and wind.
“These are all natural endowments that require good engineering to make our country a champion in the development of hydro, solar and wind energy infrastructure, all of which are renewable sources.
“I must point out, as a teacher, that NSE should pay special attention to the teaching of engineering in schools to ensure that its curriculum is constantly retooled in tune with the changing needs of modern society.
“If our universities should serve as hubs for technological innovation and national transformation, the society of engineers should be ready to play a role to ensure that engineering is recalibrated to provide transformative solutions to the challenges of our society.
“To remain a progressive nation, we should be better positioned to deploy the capacity and ingenuity of our workforce, especially in science and technology, to innovate and improve our society.”