Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday restated the need for adequate training and provision of special funding to support Nigerian engineers if the nation desires to make progress.
He argued that since it was right to say that ‘without engineers, there can’t be development’, there should be more collaboration, particularly between the government, industries and the profession to engender growth and infrastructure development of the country.
He stated this while addressing members of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Lagos, insisting that lack of collaboration between the three parties in Nigeria, has hindered the growth of the engineering profession.
The gap, he stressed, should be bridged through better financial support for the professionals to develop scientific innovations needed by the people.
“If we are going to make progress, the training of engineers must be right. The industries must have their own input on training; financing of engineers and facilities as the training of engineers must be adequate.
“And government should not avoid that. If foreigners have to bring in engineering experts, we must also treat our own engineers right to do for us what we need. Technicians, craftsmen and technologists should be taken together as members of the profession.”
Obasanjo, himself an engineer examined the contributions of Obafemi Olopade, who was inducted into the academy at the forum, maintained that indigenous engineers should emulate his mindset towards engineering to move to the profession to next level.
Speaking, Olopade urged the academy to set up machineries for the training of technicians and artisans as a means to mitigate rising unemployment in the country.
“I would suggest that the academy should encourage most of the companies coming to Nigeria to train technicians and artisans. Engineers have always been at the top of the pyramid with a wide base, but there is no adequate support”,
President of NAE, Professor Fola Lasisi, lamented that the Nigerian University engineering education and training system was beset by low entry standards, non-uniformity in entry process for all engineering faculties and general low level knowledge of science, engineering and technology.
He, however, said in line with the zeal for Nigeria’s development, the academy would consistently promote excellence in the profession through its activities.