RE-ENGINEER YOURSELVES FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, A UNIVERSITY SCHOLAR CHARGED NIGERIAN ENGINEERS

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An internationally renowned researcher and prominent Nigerian Engineer, Engr. Dr. Hilary Owamah has called for the re-engineering of the Nigerian engineers for optimum national economic growth and development. Dr Owamah, who is the Acting Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Delta State University, Abraka and President Academic Research and Entrepreneurship Development (A-RED) Initiative, made this disclosure while delivering the maiden public lecture of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Ughelli Branch, Public Lecture and Induction Ceremony, held at Don Rose Event Centre, Ughelli, Delta State, on the 1st September, 2018.

Dr Owamah told the audience that the Nigerian engineering education and practice needs a re-engineering in the areas of training/education of would-be engineers, improvement of competence/skill of practicing engineers and improvement of engineers’ participation in public policy and governance. According to the guest speaker, until engineers are allowed to fully perform their roles in the society, achievement of sustainable economic development would continue to elude the country as no country has ever developed being fully dependent on foreigners for her infrastructure and machinery development. “It is regrettable that over forty years after independence, Nigeria still depends largely on foreign nations for her various technological and industrial needs. Its development is still grossly low in terms technological productivity”, said Dr Owamah.

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The erudite scholar attributed the causes of technological backwardness in Nigeria to discouragement of indigenous technological growth by the colonial masters, non-implementation of Nigeria’s industrial policies after independence, attitude and poor state of educational institutions and suggested remedies to be safe-copying of items already in the market, genuine encouragement of made in Nigeria goods by government, bringing corruption and politicization of the power sector to end encouragement of the development of appropriate indigenous technology and good leadership.

Dr Owamah advised Nigerian Engineers to begin to participate actively in public policy making and governance in order to lend their technical expertise to government policies that have to do infrastructure and technological development before the policies are cast in stone. “Engineers can make a big difference given that public policy needs to be founded on solid science” he added.

According to Dr Owamah “if engineers who actually know how things work are not involved in helping craft and direct public policy, then important decisions about our nation’s future will be made by people who know nothing. The guest speaker concluded by saying that the education of engineers must prepare them for the multi-disciplinary nature of the problems they will face and that public policy is shaped in a highly competitive environment and as such engineers must therefore compete in this environment in order to meet their obligations to serve the public and the profession.

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The Engr. Adekunle O Mokuolu, FNSE in his remarks commended the Dr Owamah hugely and said “for a very long time, I have not witnessed a presentation like this. This is just beyond the consumption of Ughelli Branch alone. I will make sure Dr Owamah re-presents this paper before the President (GCFR) and Vice President of Nigeria during the NSE 60th anniversary celebration at the International Conference Centre Abuja as speaker for the event. The other dignitaries present in the occasion are Engr. Chief D. A. Umukoro (Retired Perm Sec., Ministry of Works, Delta State), Mr Samuel Ilabor (Vice-President, A-RED Initiative), many NSE Branch Chairmen (Asaba, Warri, Sapele, Auchi etc.), Prof. Temi Akporhonor (Former Rector, Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara), HRM, King Matthew Ediri Egbi (Owahwa 11,JP, FOD, the Okobaro of Jeremi (Ughievwen) Kingdom) and others. The chief host and chairman of the NSE Ughelli Branch is Engr. Roland Uveruve. Dr Owamah was later conferred with an award of excellence for research and contributions to the growth of engineering in Nigeria.

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