It is with profound difficulty and deep pains that I write this tribute on Engr. Ibrahim Khaleel Inuwa, FNSE, FNIMechE, FAEng, FNIM, OFR, a man many of his contemporaries know as friend, colleague, consummate engineer and proud Nigerian. Younger ones like me remember him as leader, mentor and pathfinder. Some may wonder why this stratification. Simple! Engr. IK as he was fondly called in the engineering family always loved to be seen and referred to as an old man, even in the midst of older engineers to the point that some of us, especially, Engrs MB Shehu, AA Rabiu and OAU Uche, albeit mischievously, often relished his moments with Engr. Dr. Olu Ajayi, FNSE, FAEng, a past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), who made it a point of duty to call him small boy, whenever both were in their elements.
I first met Engr. Inuwa during his presidency of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, when he visited Makurdi Branch. I was a Principal Engineer in the Ministry of Works then, but not Registered. The difficulties of commuting to and from Enugu, the nearest NSE Professional Interview Centre then didn’t make it attractive to many except the likes of Engr. Felix Atume, FNSE, mni, past Executive Secretary NSE and Registrar COREN, who was very committed and indeed the face of the branch for a long time. Engr. Inuwa therefore gave us succor when he announced at the presidential dinner in his honour that the NSE Council had approved an Interview Centre for Makurdi. That was the turning point in my engineering career. God bless Engr Inuwa’s soul.
My activism however, only commenced in Abuja branch as Technical Secretary. At the Owerri conference in 1995, I was a rapporteur, and Engr Inuwa was my Session Chair, hence I had a close working relationship with him. I recall working all night to get my reports ready because I noticed from the onset that he had a knack for details, and was as generous with praises as he was with condemnations. Gladly, I met his expectations and received encouraging comments, which he so kindly shared with some senior engineers, as I later found out. I know for a fact that his testimonial was helpful in my political career in the NSE. God bless Engr Inuwa’s soul.
Engr. Inuwa was the youngest to have ascended the presidency of the NSE, and had instituted a ‘prize’ for whoever would beat the record. His tenure was highly productive and famous for its role in the first attempt at re-activating the Ajaokuta Steel Complex project, berthing the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (NLNG) where he served on the pioneer Board and saving the properties of heroes of engineering, who offered their title deeds to secure the bank loan that was used to build the National Engineering Centre Lagos, to mention but a few. God bless Engr. Inuwa’s soul.
Engr. Inuwa was the first NSE President of northern extraction. That made him a leader and pathfinder, and his light shone so brightly that credit for the present high population of engineers from the north serving NSE with commitment, honour and integrity are surely and squarely his. God bless Engr. Inuwa’s soul.
Engr. Inuwa was a good family man. He loved his family dearly, and always shopped for every member of his family whenever he travelled. I recall teasing him on many occasions, especially when he shopped diligently for his married daughters, and you can guess his response. For a man who practiced what he preached, two of his daughters are engineers! All efforts should be made to complete the printing of his memoir and launch it in his memory. God bless the soul of Engr. Inuwa.
Shortly after the tragic death of Past President Mustapha Bulama, FNSE, OON, at 58yrs, Engr. Ven. PB Oyebolu, FNSE, FAEng, the most senior living Past President, instructed that engineers, especially past Presidents should no longer jump the death queue, but irrepressible Engr. Inuwa has broken the rule. Past President Oyebolu will have to deal with that. It is however instructive to note that Engr. Inuwa passed the day the President of our country, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Hon FNSE, inaugurated the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Implementation Team (APPIT). What a fitting farewell, given how dear to his heart the project was.
Engr. Ibrahim Khaleel Inuwa, until his passing was a Past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Technical Secretary of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), Deputy President of the Nigerian Institute Management (NIM), Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and honoree of the Association of Professional Women Engineers (APWEN) Engineering Scholarship for girls.
May Allah forgive his shortcomings in this month of mercy, accept his good deeds, grant him an abode in Al-Jannatul Firdausi and comfort his family.
Adieu Engr. Ibrahim Khaleel Inuwa!
Written By Engr. Kashim Abdul Ali, FNSE, FAEng, FSESN, NPoM, mni
Past President, NSE and COREN