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Engineers push for synergy, innovations to curb infrastructure deficit

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To accelerate self-reliance and growth in the country, practising engineers have been challenged to synergise with other professionals across sectors.

The government at all levels was also tasked on evidence-based policy making for development. The Chairman, Lagos State Water Corporation, Muminu Adekunle Badmus said this at the 11th Olu Awoyinfa distinguished yearly public lecture themed, “Forming an uncommon partnership: solution to challenges of developing nations”, organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Ikeja Branch in Lagos.

The forum featured the presentation of N100, 000 cheques to each of the two best graduate students in engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State as well as induction of 21-new members into its fold.

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Badmus noted that to rid Nigeria and other developing countries of many challenges encumbering it; there will be need for innovation stressing that Nigerians must begin to form uncommon partnership from health to water supply and sanitation to building infrastructure, agriculture, and banking.

To him, uncommon partnership will help the nation to succeed by providing capabilities that couldn’t be built, as well as fresh insights and mutual relationship, which both parties can prosper from.
   
The Chairman of Ikeja Branch of the NSE, Dr Funmilade Akingbagbohun stressed that the nation needs engineers that can bring development and solutions to some of the medical issues and other challenges in Nigeria.
   
Dr. Akingbagbohun charged engineers in the country to emulate the founding fathers of the branch who demonstrated uncommon innovative approach to the profession, groomed the young professionals and left a space that no one could fill.

On her part, the guest speaker from the University of Lagos, Dr. Olanike Buraimoh stated that a country can’t grow beyond its academics and if the nation doesn’t reckon with the researchers, it will have a long way to go in attaining the desired growth.
 
Buraimoh said for Nigeria not to be left behind and to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by year 2030, which hinged on self-reliant and self-sufficiency, there must be deliberate, well planned and sustainable collaborations between engineers and other professionals to develop products and chemicals that are needed within the country rather than relying on importation.
 
She observed that to some extent, collaboration exists between engineering group and chemistry. Akingbagbohun however, stressed the need to have uncommon collaborations with other groups like biologists and microbiologists among others, to solve societal problems.

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The microbiologist specifically emphasised that a sustainable collaboration must take place between the academia and the industries, ministries, government and policy makers to foster evidence-based policy making and that every field of engineering can partner with microbiologists in developing products that can solve Nigeria’s infrastructure challenge.
 
Dr. Buraimoh who is a lecturer at the department of microbiology said, “The nation will benefit a lot of things like bio-products and Nigeria doesn’t have to import most of the chemicals that is used in textile, food industry. I can tell you that 99.9 per cent of chemicals used in this country for production are imported. If they are able to support the researchers we can actually convert the bio-wastes around us to get the products that Nigeria needs.”

She added, “Before now, promotion is based on the number of papers a lecturer can publish but right now there is a system in federal universities, which focus on innovation and patenting. That means when you have a good result, you don’t go ahead to just publish, you have to be patent it with Nigerian government and it is a good way forward. But there is still a problem because when you patient, you don’t have our big men to purchase the patient. They rather prefer to import the items because they get more money. The truth of the matter is if the rich in the society can invest on the patient based on the research from the academia, definitely the country will move forward”.

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