Academy urges integration of engineering, technology in policy formulation
The Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) has called for policies that would bring engineering and technology to the centre stage in public policy formulation and delivery.
NAE noted that the development trajectory of Nigeria has been severely hampered by the absence of sound engineering input in policy formulation and implementation, hence, the need for conscious effort to reset and recalibrate to make progress economically and in infrastructural development.
Speaking at the 2021 yearly lecture of the academy, entitled, ‘Locating Engineering and Technology in Government Policy Framework for Growth and Development,’ organised by the academy in Lagos, the guest lecturer, Prof. Ayo Ogunye, said it was imperative that seasoned engineers are appointed to positions of authority in government, especially ministries, departments and agencies, whose responsibility remits high engineering content, adding that they must however, be held accountable by relevant engineering professional bodies.
Ogunye, a past president of the academy said for so long, engineers have been kept away from having an input or say in government policies in relevant areas and issues, either by deliberate design or out of ignorance.
According to him, exclusion of engineers manifests in several forms, such as unwillingness of political leaders to obtain sound engineering input and advice, or rejection of same, in the process of policy formulation and execution, appointment of non-engineers to positions of authority with high engineering content, in place of engineers and exclusion of professional engineers from decision making in political positions.
This, the chemical engineering expert stated was a deplorable situation, which must be remedied in order to reverse the failures of the past and chart a new course.
Besides, Ogunye explained that several individual engineers have been appointed to positions of authority but have not represented the profession well and have failed the nation by not offering sound technical advice and making towards shaping policy in areas relevant to them.
He stated that students design and research projects in the universities as well as research projects of the faculty, must be increasingly targeted at specific issues of relevance and value to the country.
The universities, Ogunye said should be encouraged to establish industrial parks and embrace the concept of entrepreneurial institutions, as a further step towards commercialising their research findings.
He advocated a strategic working group, consisting renowned engineers and scientists, with clearly defined mandate, should be instituted, preferably within the orbit of the Nigeria Energy Commission, to chart pathway for energy transition.
The forum also featured presentation of life achievement awards to Gregs Thomopulus, Alfred Babatunde Soboyejo, James Karonwi, Dr. Samue Nnaemeka, Dr. Harold Demuren, Egbert lmomoh, Dr. Osborne Phillips, and Yusuf Sagaya as well as induction of 10 new fellows to the academy.
Earlier, the President of the academy, Alex Ogedengbe, reiterated the objective of NAE, which was to ensure advancement of engineering education and practice throughout the engineering family.
This, he stated is achievable through continuous learning, advocacy, strategic collaboration with relevant professional associations, government, the academia and industry.
He said the academy had made achievement in the design and acquisition of the database and digital platform project using a firm, Kontemporary Konsulting Limited at the cost of N4.22 million.
Ogedegbe said the forum was part of opportunity to address issues in the society, positively impact the economy and social life of Nigerians.