Engineers lament neglect, seek greater role in governance
Buoyed by infrastructural challenges in the country, engineers have called for more roles in governance to address the problem.
They reasoned that engaging more engineers in the nation’s political space, represents the surest way of solving the nation’s challenges because engineering by practice is meant to meet societal needs.
This formed the fulcrum of discussions at a public lecture and induction of new members by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Apapa branch titled: “The Nigerian Engineer and the Political Challenges”.
Vice President of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Joseph Akinteye, who led the discussions at the event, lamented the neglect of Nigerian engineers in critical infrastructure because of their non-involvement in politics.
He said that 70 per cent of the nation’s budget consists of engineering issues whether in the road, water, housing, and education, hence the need for engineers and politicians to work hand in hand to move the nation forward.
Specifically, he mentioned the second Niger bridge project where the indigenous engineers were sidelined even after being asked in the past to submit a design to the effect.
He stressed that engineering cannot develop if they are not allowed to practice, which is also compounding the unemployment crisis in the country.
He therefore called for synergy between politicians and engineers as well as other critical professionals to move the country forward.
According to him, “No nation develops without engineering and technology. The reason we are having problems in this country is that we priorities politics. All of us cannot join politics.
“In developed nations, whenever they are forming their cabinet, they do not
Only get politicians, they have technocrats, these people are being picked from professional bodies, either presidents or past presidents of these professional bodies to form their cabinets”.
Regretting the neglect of professional bodies in Nigeria, Akinteye said in the past, they were asked to come together as a consortium to do the second Niger Bridge.
He called on the authority to bring more professional bodies into their government so that good ideas could be sold to the government during the federal executive council meeting. “When engineers are not there, politicians will still bring foreigners for pecuniary gains and at the detriment of the country.
Also the President, Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria, Dr. Felicia Agubata stressed the need for more engineers in the political space.
She said engineers by practice and training provide solutions to problems; hence their involvement in politics will be the icing on the cake in offices where they occupied.
Dr. Agubata noted that in the past, engineers were being relegated in contracts but the signing Executive Order 5 by the president last year changed the narrative as Nigerian engineers are delivering on their mandates
According to her, four state governors in Ebonyi, Borno, Nassarawa and Oyo, who are engineers, are changing the political landscapes in their states.
There are engineers, who are deputy governors in Ogun, Lagos as well as commissioners.
Chairman of the branch, Sunny Ejeje also noted that most engineers are shying away from politics, which has led to their neglect in the scheme of things.
He said the topic was timely to change the narrative so that the government will give the engineers the privilege of attaining political height to address societal challenges.
According to him, engineers need to take their place in elective positions and not complain about how things are run.
He noted some inroads made by engineers with the recent appointment of an engineer as a special adviser to Osun State governor on water resources and called for more.
In his remarks, President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Adekunle Mokuolu, who was, represented by the former president of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers Chief Akintunde Zedomi noted that the changing phase of engineering practice in Nigeria.
According to him, the interface between engineers and government in the past has not been cordial
He urged the new inductees to work in the ethics of the profession, stressing that the argument on the number of years it takes to become an engineer is not necessary but how to make the planet earth much better.
The event witnessed the award of excellence to deserving engineers and the induction of new members.