The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Babagana Mohammed, on Saturday challenged engineers to resolve the intractable traffic gridlock at Apapa to ensure a speedy industrialisation of the country.
Mohammed, who made the remarks during the inauguration of Mr Christian Ufot as the 9th Chairman of the Apapa Branch of NSE in Lagos, said that engineers are known to be solution providers worldwide and Nigeria should not be different.
He added that Nigeria had no business with poverty, only if its engineers could explore the business and development aspects of their profession, which should solve problems to ensure their well being.
He urged the Apapa branch to solve the problem of gridlock and other issues confronting Apapa home of the nation’s major ports.
“Apapa Branch must use their membership strength to their full advantage, to dispel the notion about Apapa been synonymous with traffic gridlock.
“Write position papers, make your presentation to the government, ” Mohammed said.
He said that the NSE had 89 global branches, enough to resolve all the developmental challenges confronting Nigeria to speed up its industrialisation.
“Engineers, you are all above average students, why are we struggling.
“Nigeria has thousands of engineers and there are still several societal problems. Why are engineers poor, why is there poverty in Nigeria,” he queried.
In his remarks, the guest speaker, Mr Dideolu Folabi while delivering his lecture, called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the nation’s industrial sector and evolve investment-friendly policies.
Folabi speaking on the theme “Industrialisation of Nigeria – Now or Now” identified massive youth unemployment among both the skilled, unskilled, as well as educated and illiterates and the need to take drastic measures for an industrial revolution of sorts.
He gave a detailed history of the evolution of the nation’s agricultural and industrial sectors, comparing it to that of other advanced countries and enumerated some lessons for Nigeria.
Folabi, Managing Director, Kresta Laurel Ltd, said Nigeria should not be deterred by the numerous challenges it faces, but should evolve industrial friendly policies, tackle corruption and build viable infrastructure.
He called for industrial friendly laws devoid of corruption to attract investments to Nigeria as well as harnessing opportunities of research and development in the nation.
He called on all tiers of government to address the problem of power and infrastructure, as well as work towards intermodal transport to ease economic activities while listing various other solutions.
“Nigeria with a population of almost 200 million and a population growth rate of 2.43 per cent must industrialise or die,” he said.
He added that there was urgent need to give priority to youth empowerment which could only be achieved through industrialisation.
“Engineers should take an active role in the setting up of industries because we have roles to play from the conception of industries through the entire shelf.
“If we were to keep ourselves in active engagement, we must support, encourage and enhance the process of industrialisation. In fact, we should seek to initiate it.
The guest speaker, who received an award of excellence for his contribution to engineering growth, said that the multiplier effect of industrialisation was enormous if Nigeria could leverage on its huge human and mineral resources.
“Our political office holders must, as a matter of urgency, push for the declaration of a state of emergency in the industrial sector.
“Existing industries must not be allowed to die while new ones must be established as a matter of conscious effort in order to save our nation from recession, hunger, crime and other negative effects of an idle population,” he said.
Mr Sunny Ejeje, immediate past chairman giving a brief history of the 20-year old Branch, said that the association “had come a long way in spite of the ups and downs” and had impacted the NSE and the nation positively.
“Apapa branch NSE has come to stay,” Ejeje said.
The chairman, who also got an award alongside other past executives of the branch, said the choice of topic for the programme was apt, to ensure that the Nigerian project is taken seriously as the nation celebrated its 60th independence anniversary.
Mrs Jane Ebong, Retired Executive Director Services, National Engineering and Technical Company, was given an award for her excellence in the development of engineering.
Other awardees were Mr Wole Ogunsanya, Managing Director, Geoplex Ltd and Mr Ayo Giwa, Managing Director, Second Adams International Ltd.
New members were also inducted in the branch.