Buhari Urges Nigerian Engineers to Partner with FG on Infrastructure Development

Goodluck Jonathan

Former President Goodluck Jonathan flanked on his immediate right by the newly inaugurated president and chairman-in-council of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE),Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, FNSE; the president, Federation of African Engineering Organisations, Carlien Bou Chedid, FGHIE; the Executive Vice President, World Federation of Engineering Organisations, Mustafa Balarabe Shehu, FNSE, and the immediate past president of NSE, Babagana Mohammed, FNSE. To the former president’s immediate left are: Margaret Oguntala, FNSE, the first female to be elected deputy president of NSE, and the president, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Ali Alimasuya Rabiu, FNSE, at the event.

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigerian engineers to partner with the federal government for rapid infrastructure development in Nigeria.
The President said this last weekend at the investiture ceremony of the 33rd national president and chairman-in-council of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

“If we must make progress as a nation, the government and Nigerian engineers must partner together for the rapid infrastructural development of the country,” he said.

Represented by Ogbonnaya Onu, an engineer, and minister of science and technology, Buhari said his administration has made significant progress in the infrastructure development of the country.

“We have made significant progress in railway transportation to link various parts of our federation.”

Special guest of honour at the event, former President Goodluck Jonathan described the NSE president as “an engineer with years of experience at this time to move the Society forward…It is a good thing that the person taking charge today to lead NSE is an accomplished electrical engineer, with a knack for innovation.”

He further charged Nigerian engineers on renewable energy and review of Nigeria’s engineering curriculum. “If we diligently apply ourselves to developing alternative and renewable energy sources, we will become a force to be reckoned with in this regard, considering that we have abundant all-year-round sunshine, several kilometres of ocean coastline and different bodies of water with significant waves, currents and wind.”

He advised the NSE to “pay special attention to the teaching of engineering in schools to ensure that its curriculum is constantly re-tooled in tune with the changing needs of modern society.”

He reminded the engineers of their responsibilities to ensure the overall development of the nation. “Our nation is at a crossroads; a point of decision requiring urgent action in the areas of technological advancement, industrial revolution and national rebirth. I believe that our engineers hold the key to our economic and technological advancement, be it in the prevailing information technology and knowledge industry or in the conventional brick and mortar infrastructural development. Therefore, our engineers should take the lead in the push for sustainable growth in the nation’s development impetus.”

Jonathan agreed with Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, the keynote speaker, in his call on Nigerian engineers to strengthen their professional involvement in the infrastructure development of Nigeria, stating that “I’m glad that a sitting governor delivered the keynote address. I agree with him.” He charged Nigerian engineers “to work with governors in implementing the infrastructural development of our country.”

He lamented that “the frequent collapse of buildings in the country does not speak well of the integrity and quality of our engineering; and this is happening at a time when many developing countries can boast of several secure skyscrapers standing above 100 floors.”

The former president thanked the group for honouring him. “This is the second time in barely one and a half months that I would be taking part in NSE events, here in Abuja. The first time was in December 2021, where I was represented at my younger brother, Azibaola Robert’s Investiture as honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE). I know that the Society was inspired to honour Mr. Robert because of his considerable contributions to the development of engineering and the technological development of Nigeria through the activities of Zeetin Engineering, which he founded”.

Earlier in his keynote address on “Infrastructural Development in a Stressed Economy – the case of Borno State”, Governor Zulum, FNSE, a professor of soil and water engineering, charged Gidari-Wudil and his colleagues to work closely with the various state governments to ensure that his “tenure will be marked very strongly with closer collaboration with the government in the delivery of infrastructure in Nigeria as a whole.”

He referenced several cases in his state and lamented that the poor quality of materials often used by engineers in construction was detrimental to the infrastructure development of the country. To remedy the situation, he urged Nigerian engineers “to strengthen your professional involvement in the infrastructural development of Nigeria.”

In his inaugural speech, Gidari-Wudil promised to “ensure the continued future growth of the Society, sustain all existing relationships with international engineering organisations, as well as pursue all mutually beneficial aspects to the NSE, while exploring other new partnerships.” He acknowledged the election of Engineer Margaret Oguntala, FNSE, as the first female deputy president in its decades of existence.

He solicited the support, co-operation of the federal government and all Nigerian engineers, as well as their foreign counterparts, to ensure Nigeria’s candidate emerged as the president of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) in an election due in March this year.

“Our unflinching and dedicated support for his election will make him the first black African to become the President of the WFEO,” Gidari-Wudil said. “This will be an achievement not only for NSE, but for Nigeria and Africa at large. Nigeria as a country needs to give as well as solicit support for him to succeed in this important global position. I, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, all the state governors, diplomats, and all sister engineering bodies in Africa, to rally support for him.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony, the founder of Zeetin Engineering, Azibaola Robert, FNSE, welcomed the new NSE president on board. While congratulating Gidari-Wudil, he charged him to throw his weight behind regulation on materials, code of practice in engineering, amongst others, “to give energy and bite to the practice of mechanical engineering, to create things in the automobile, aeronautic, electrical, renewable energies and more.”

Robert affirmed that “it is only this way that Nigeria can become a force at the world stage”.

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