The president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Babagana Mohammed, on Saturday challenged engineers to resolve the intractable traffic gridlock in Apapa to ensure the country’s rapid industrialization.
Mohammed, who made the remarks during the inauguration of Mr. Christian Ufot as the ninth president of the Apapa branch of NSE in Lagos, said that engineers are known to be solution providers around the world and Nigeria should be no different .
He added that Nigeria has nothing to do with poverty, only if its engineers can explore the business and developmental aspects of their profession, which should solve problems to ensure their well-being.
He urged the Apapa branch to solve the problem of stagnation and other problems facing Apapa, home to the country’s main ports.
“Apapa Branch must use the strength of its membership to its maximum advantage, to dispel the idea that Apapa has been synonymous with traffic stagnation.
“Write position papers, make your presentation to the government,” Mohammed said.
He said that the NSE had 89 global branches, enough to solve all the development challenges Nigeria faces to accelerate its industrialization.
“Engineers, you are all above average students, what are we fighting for?
“Nigeria has thousands of engineers and there are still various social problems. Why are engineers poor, why their poverty in Nigeria ”, he asked.
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 develop pro-investment policies.
Folabi speaking on the topic “Industrialization of Nigeria – now or now” identified the massive youth unemployment among the skilled, unskilled, as well as the educated and illiterate and the need to clamp down on a kind of industrial revolution.
He gave a detailed history of the evolution of the nation’s agricultural and industrial sectors, comparing it with that of other advanced countries, and listed some lessons for Nigeria.
Folabi, Managing Director of Kresta Laurel Ltd, said Nigeria should not be deterred by the many challenges it faces, but should instead develop pro-industry policies, tackle corruption and build a viable infrastructure.
He called for industry-friendly laws without corruption to attract investment to Nigeria and take advantage of research and development opportunities in the nation.
He called on all levels of government to address the problem of energy and infrastructure, as well as work towards intermodal transport to facilitate economic activities while listing various other solutions.
“Nigeria, with a population of almost 200 million and a population growth rate of 2.43 percent, must industrialize or die,” he said.
He added that it was urgent to prioritize youth empowerment, which can only be achieved through industrialization.
“Engineers must take an active role in creating industries because we have roles to play from the conception of the industries to the full platform.
“If we want to remain actively engaged, we must support, encourage and improve the industrialization process. In fact, we should try to start it.
The invited speaker, who received an award of excellence for his contribution to the growth of engineering, said that the multiplier effect of industrialization was enormous if Nigeria could take advantage of its enormous human and mineral resources.
“Our political office holders must urgently promote 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 to save our nation from recession, hunger, crime and other negative effects of an inactive population,” he said.
Mr. Sunny Ejeje, an immediate past president who gave a brief history of the 20-year branch, said the association “had come a long way despite the ups and downs” and had a positive impact on the NSE and the nation.
“The Apapa NSE branch has come to stay,” Ejeje said.
The president, who also received an award along with other former executives from the branch, said the choice of theme for the show was appropriate, to ensure that the Nigerian project is taken seriously as the nation celebrates its 60th anniversary of independence.
Ms. Jane Ebong, Retired Executive Director of Services, National Engineering and Technical Company, received an award for excellence in engineering development.
Other recipients were Mr. Wole Ogunsanya, Managing Director of Geoplex Ltd and Mr. Ayo Giwa, Managing Director of Second Adams International Ltd.
New members also joined the branch.