To boost infrastructure and technology advancement in Nigeria, engineers have been charged to play more active role in the public policy process, provide the right guide for industry, and leadership towards sustainable development of the country.
Immediate past chairman, Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Dr. Funmilade Akingbagbohun, who gave the charge during a training organised by the Lagos branch, noted that the practitioners should develop broad understanding of their responsibilities in the society and see themselves more as potential ambassadors as well as participate in the nation’s socio-economic activities.
Akingbagbohun, who spoke on the ‘role of mechanical engineers in national economic development’, emphasised that Nigeria needs engineers to contribute at every level of national economy and policy implementation to confront the challenges facing the country in specific areas such as energy, infrastructures and environment, which are engineering-related challenges.
She advocated more industry-academic partnership between the professional bodies and the academic community to advance impact of engineering on the society.
According to her, while many parts of the world have recognised this, Nigeria still believes it could achieve concrete development strategy without engineers in policy formation and implementation.
Akingbagbohun stated that President Muhammadu Buhari administration shifted the dynamic by recognising the interlink by signing Presidential Executive Order 5 to provide opportunities for the local engineers. She, however, noted that it’s not the destination practitioners’ desire but a signpost to the beginning.
The former chairman of Lagos branch of Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers urged practitioners to drive national productivity as rapid innovations in the field of engineering and technology could help increase the production capacity and efficiency of the economy, as well as minimise the cost of production.
She said: “Engineers as part of their jobs should regularly develop various techniques, machines and equipment, which can produce high quality products in very short period of time.
“Although capital also plays a role in growth and development, the primary driving force is not capital. The rapid growth in the field of technology is bound to generate more employment opportunities, which will in turn generate more human capital, with people who are innovative, knowledgeable and think out of the box.”