The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday in Lagos challenged the nation’s engineers to come up with innovations on alternative sources of energy to reduce the nation’s dependence on petrol.
Aregbesola made the call at the 29th Founders’ Day Celebration of the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the inauguration of the society’s Engineering Resource Centre named after him.
The minister, who is a fellow of the NSE, urged Nigerian engineers to copy the Egyptian model of transport system where all the commercial vehicles were running on gas and as such reduced pressure on consumption and continuous subsidy of petrol.
He appealed to engineers to take the lead in harnessing the huge employment opportunities in various sectors to create jobs for the nation’s teeming youths and grow the economy.
He lamented that lucrative opportunities in underwater welding that required short training for artisans in the oil and gas sector was wasting because Nigerian youths did not have the skills to take up the jobs.
He also urged local engineers to profer solutions to the nation’s power sector and meet expectations of playing vital role in building a strong foundation for the future of younger ones through its innovative approach.
He said every aspect of life has bearing on engineering while enumerating roles of engineers in health, telecommunication, industry, power, transportion, construction and other sectors.
“Everything about human life is engineering,” he said.
He called for engineering solutions to problems of overcrowding and housing deficit in Lagos State.
Aregbesola urged Nigerians to help in saving foreign exchange earnings through proper implementation of the federal government local content policy.
He said NSE and other professional bodies should position themselves to ensure the government received value for money on projects across the nation.
“More than anything, engineers and professionals in general, should re-horn their sense of role and responsibility to the society in a developing economy like ours,” he said.
Newly elected National President of the NSE, Mr Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, charged all NSE branches and districts to begin rural area projects that would have direct impact on the people.
Gidari-Wudil commended the inauguration of the newly-built Engineering Resource Tower and assured an inclusive government, which would ensure welfare and development of engineering.
Mr Olutosin Ogunmola, Ikeja Branch Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said beyond innovations for the nation’s economic growth, the tower would be used for training of young engineers.
Ogunmola said the Founders’ Day event was an occasion to celebrate the Ikeja branch and acknowledge the contributions of past leaders to inspire the new generation to do more.
Also speaking at the event, the special guest of honour, Dr Taiwo Afolabi, Chief Executive Officer, SIFAX Group, who inaugurated the building said he supported the project to ensure the growth of the engineering profession.
“I am sure the opening the Rauf Aregbesola Engineering Resource Centre will help advance the cause of the engineering profession in Nigeria,” Afolabi said.
Explaining further, Afolabi said: “The Rauf Aregbesola Engineering Resource centrewhich we are commissioning today (Monday) was envisioned in February 2020 by the administration of Engr. Mrs. OlufunmiladeAkingbagbohun FNSE FNIMechE. The centre was a direct response to addressing the huge gap between the classroom and the industry.
”The team envisioned that this innovative building would serve as a training, development and resource place for the professional development of all Engineers and production of parts for commercial purpose. The current administration of the NSE through Engr. Tosin Ogunmolade has taken this baton boldly and has led it to an impressive conclusion.
“This laudable project was named after a great engineering icon and my good friend whose passion and drive for engineering skills, development and local content cannot be overemphasized.
“Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s love for the engineering profession propelled him to buy into the project and helped in raising the necessary funds for the building project. One of his areas of interest is welding certification. He had a special passion for underwater welding and is taking the bull by the horn in solving the challenge of scarce engineers in that space.
“Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has contributed greatly to the development of Engineering and Engineering personnel in Nigeria hence the honour of having this building in his name by the branch.
“This well conceived project would help to develop our young Engineers and create an atmosphere of learning and re- learning in order to fulfill the Executive Order Five of President Muhammed Buhari GCON.
“This legacy from the Engineering Icon would help in creating more jobs in the Technopreneurship space for young Engineers and also give opportunity to practicing Engineers in the area of Professional Development and Local Content Practice.
“At SIFAX Group, we recognize value when we see one and I must say that this project is of value. We are leading a charge where all our engineers are putting their best into making sure that we continue to deliver value to all our customers. Our engineers at SAHCO Plc, one of the subsidiaries of the Group in the aviation sector has produced equipment sourced from local materials which have received global attention and mention. We are open to a mutually-benefitting partnership between the Group and the Nigerian Society of Engineers in order to continually harness the best in the trade”.