Don tasks engineers on innovations, research

Engineering professionals in Nigeria, under the auspices of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE) have been urged to develop engineering innovations to speed up growth in critical sectors of Nigerian economy.

Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, made the call when he spoke on “ Engineering Innovation and Last-Mile Development: Towards a synergy between Investors and Research” at the induction ceremony of the Chief Executive Officer of Arco Group Plc; Mr. Alfred Okoigun organised by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering in Lagos.

He wants NAE to lead as the intervention agency in achieving the vision that would place Nigeria among the community of nations in terms of innovation and skill capacities.

Ibidapo-Obe explained that the academy should be the intervention group between the inventors, researchers and investors, which are the people who have the funds to ensure that inventions get to the market place.

“The lecture is of two folds namely; that the Academy of Engineering should be the intervention group between the investors, the researchers and the investors, which are the people who has the funds to ensure that inventions get to the market place”.

“The second intervention is that looking at what we called inventions that I saw within the Abuja exhibition last month, we need to raise our bar and ensure materials displayed as inventions should be much higher that it was.

That was why I tried to look at what the future is really looking at both from the worlds’ point of view and what the African Union is looking at, in terms of what is necessary for the next decade”, he said.

He posited that to transform the low-status of innovations in Nigerian market, the Nigerian Academy of Engineering needs to shift focus to thematic areas like; micro-grid development for energy generation, gene-drives invention to tame the scourge of malaria, and development of artificial intelligence underpinning all these among others.

“I have mentioned ten items, which I think, the academy could take up and make much better.

Specifically, items such as solar energy, fusion energy, managing nitrogen circle, access to water, reverse linear thinking, security cyber space, water purification, synthetic biology, drones and 3G-printing”.

He lamented that majority of the named inventions in the market are of low quality compared to what should be the acceptable standard warning that nothing gets innovated except it is acceptable in the global market.

His words: “Investors are concerned with result of research and development. Inventors’ looks at the long-term result while investors look at the short result. We therefore need intervention agency to promote innovations in the country”.

In a speech, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru commended the Nigerian Academy of Engineering for its leadership and promotion of policies relating to the general advancement and promotion of excellence in Science, Engineering, Technology and innovation for better economy and society.

Baru described the induction of Mr. Okoigun as a testament to his distinguished leadership, contributions to the engineering profession, outstanding achievements and his exceptional character as well as his contributions to the well being of the society at large.

In his address of appreciation to the Academy after he was decorated as Honorary Fellow, Mr. Okoigun traced his interest in Science, Engineering and Technology from his tender age as a secondary school student then in the early 70s.

He said that having realised that no nation could develop without paying serious attention to the catalysts of growth and development, he decided to study engineering, set up an engineering based business and use part of his company’s resources to promote education in those fields as well as the professions attached to them.

He described the honour as a challenge for him to intensify efforts of raising awareness on the imperative of according Science, Engineering and Technology their pride of place as desirable fields of study and as the pillars of the country’s development.

Earlier, NAE President, Mrs. Joanna Maduka, said the lecture was organised in furtherance of its commitment towards the promotion of engineering profession in Nigeria.

According to her, the academy is more interested in the development of the engineering education, capacity building and merging research with the industry so that established industries and the country at large would be better placed.

Mrs. Maduka, an engineer praised Mr. Okoigun for facilitating the establishment of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering and Arco Group Academia and Industry Linkage, which will be devoted to finding engineering innovations that can be patented and that can attract funding for commercial scale production.

“The induction of Mr. Okoigun as Honorary Fellow of the Academy makes it a total of four persons that have so far been honoured in a period of 21 years of the Academy’s existence.

Those who had earned the honour in the past had demonstrated that they understood the role of engineering education and profession in the development of any nation and they had devoted their time, energy and goodwill towards the promotion of both in real terms in our country”, she said.



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