By Grace Alegba
The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Babagana Mohammed has vowed to get funding within a week for innovative ideas that would bring progress to Nigeria.
Mohammed made the pledge during the annual dinner/induction ceremony of new members organised by the Apapa Branch of the NSE in Lagos on Saturday night with the theme “The Engipreneur: a Veritable Catalyst for the Future of Engineering in Nigeria”.
The President called on engineers and all Nigerians to embrace vocational and innovative skills to be able to create wealth and turn the fortunes of the nation around.
He said that there were several funds meant for inventions sitting idle which he would help anyone or engineers with innovative skills to access.
” People complain that there are no funding, but the Central Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry funding are there, but you must come up with bankable proposals.
“If you have any bankable innovative proposal approach me and I will give you the money within a week,” he said.
Mohammed said that engineers were intelligent and were usually above average and so should profer solutions to societal problems and make a living out of it.
He said he was saddened by the situation where engineers being the best brains were roaming the streets in search of white collar jobs where in actual sense they should be innovative creating jobs.
“Infrastructure deficit is huge in Nigeria and Africa eighty per cent of activities going on in this country is engineering based, please help me count how many engineers we have in Nigeria, tell me the number, why should we be poor?
” Something is not adding up well, it is either we do not understand engineering or engineering does not understand us because poverty and engineering do not sleep in the same room.
“This country belongs to all of us and we must put our heads together, you must use your fingers and work with it, it is not only engineers, everybody must get skills, it is important, “he said.
He urged engineers working in multinational corporations to empower their colleagues and drive innovations, adding that, those in paid employment should also start small businesses.
He advised engineers and all Nigerians to embrace skill acquisition to take advantage of wealth creation opportunities.
He appealed to engineers to query projects to ensure things were done right in Nigeria, adding that, truthfulness was required to solve all issues of corruption in the infrastructure processing and delivery in Nigeria.
“We must be truthful and ethical in all our dealings, we must tell ourselves and everyone the truth always, it does not matter who is involved,” he said.
Earlier, the Guest Speaker Mr Adebanmbo Ademiluyi, Managing Director, Quaint Agencies Ltd, had advised the nation’s engineers to roll up their sleeves to take on practical jobs considered as dirty.
Ademiluyi warned against engineers imbibing the culture of taking up white collar jobs ignoring entrepreneurial opportunities which could make them employers of labour instead of job seekers.
He advised engineers to seek intervention funds, form conglomerates, and get requisite trainings and mentorships required to equip them to create new technologies to solve several society problems.
He listed the various obstacles to innovative ideas and how engineers could overcome them while enumerating several successful innovations by local engineers generating huge revenue.
The guest speaker also listed various small opportunities being overlooked by local engineers which were money spinning ventures to include block making, paving stones manufacturing, phone repair, electricals, among others.
Also, Mr Abolarinwa Akinola, CEO/MD Bloom Tech Infrastructural Ltd who was the special guest of honour urged engineers and inductees to be courageous and knowledgeable to excel and take opportunities.
“You must be very bold, be sure of your self and be determined about what you can do or deliver,” he said.
Apapa NSE Branch Chairman, Mr Christian Ufot while delivery his speech said that the topic was apt and thought provoking to address the issues of development in the nation.
Ufot congratulated the inductees whom he noted were lucky to be brought on board as members by the President of the association while urging engineers to practice tips that were delivered at the event.