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11TH JANUARY, 2014
Let me briefly acknowledge all our distinguished professional colleagues here present. I sincerely appreciate all of you for the decision taken two years ago in electing me Deputy President, which has today qualified me to take over the mantle of leadership of our great Society. I am indeed, humbled by the confidence reposed in me by that singular action. There is probably no other higher honour that can be so conferred to equal the trust and confidence of professional peers. Today, then, ‘is the day, the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it…’ Psalm 118: 24.
I give glory to God, Almighty, for this privilege given us to witness yet another smooth transition in the leadership of our great Society. I must thence hasten to congratulate all members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, and all our guests for this milestone in the annals of the Society. “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, said the Lord of Hosts”. Zechariah 4:6.
My tenure is coming at a most critical time in the history of our country. Ordinarily, providing quality and inspirational leadership is but a daunting task, yet we must succeed, and I am sure we will because I am able to count on the rich experiences of several members of the Society, especially the constellation of Past Presidents; our Legendary Forbearers, Fellows and Members in diverse positions of esteem. What is more, there is a latent yearning of our fellow countrymen, for the display of our engineering ingenuity to bring about development to improve living standards.
I am also reassured by our multi-disciplinary collaboration with many other professional associations to consolidate our efforts at synergizing with the leadership of the country to take our dear country to the promised land of prosperity and citizen contentment.
Nigeria’s national vision statement aspires that we become one of the 20 leading world economies by the year 2020. Our top three economic development priorities are to:
• become a globally competitive economy that is resilient, diversified, and able to fully optimize Nigeria’s human and natural resources to meet the needs and aspirations of her citizens
• be an industrialized economy with a globally competitive manufacturing sector that is tightly integrated with the primary resource base of the nation, and contributes no less than 25% to Gross Domestic Product.
• develop the agricultural sector through modernization and the establishment of staple-crop processing zones.
While the top three social development priorities are to:
• be a peaceful, equitable, harmonious and just society where every citizen has a strong sense of national identity and belonging, is truly valued by the State, and is adequately empowered and motivated to contribute to the task of nation building.
• have a healthy and economically productive population that is growing at a sustainable pace, supported by a healthcare system that caters for all, sustains a life expectancy of not less than 70 years and reduces to the barest minimum the burden of infectious and other debilitating diseases.
• have a modern and vibrant educational system that meets international standards of quality education; is accessible, and adequately aligned to the changing needs of the society and the demands of industry.
Mr. President Sir, your Excellencies, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, these goals represent the aspiration of every Nigerian, who yearn for the best in life, and it is in tandem with the expectation of our great Society. For we believe and quite rightly that ‘engineering technology is life’.
In the words of one of my predecessor Presidents of our esteemed body, NSE, Engr. Dr U. J. S. Uujahman, “anytime I think about life, I wonder whether I am biased in saying that technology is its essence, that engineering is about creating, planning, executing, sustaining, ..about making changes” and progress.
No wonder, Dyson in 1989 stated thus, 
“Next to the gift of life is technology, for it is the greatest of God’s gifts as it offers the poor of the earth, a short cut to greatness and wealth, a way of getting rich by cleverness rather than by back-breaking labour”.
It is not surprising that countries that have made it or those that are emerging embrace engineering and technology as the basis of their progress. Korea Republic, for example, as a matter of deliberate policy, developed her engineering capability in key cutting edge areas including semiconductor electronics, telecommunications engineering, computer hardware and software engineering, as well as genetic engineering, and we can see what that has meant for a country that literally picked itself up from the rubbles of destruction of the Korean war in the 50s to become a world 'knowledge and innovation power' today.
Per capital income rose from a mere US$67 in 1953, through US$82 in 1961 to US$24,000 in 2007 and over US$30,000 today. It move itself from a beggar aid recipient country to a donor country. The story is the same in Singapore and other Asian Tigers. It is thus clear that in Nigeria’s quest for much desired economic emancipation, the logical pathway is first through technological emancipation. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and everything else will be made manifest to you”, hence the basis of our offer of renewed and active partnership with the Nigerian government and peoples is that “Nigeria must first seek engineering conquest, in order to gain technological emancipation, upon which economic prosperity shall be made manifest”.
In this regard, let me briefly outline the most critical contributions that engineering can make to the realization of our national vision;
• instigating and nurturing the technological work force, knowledge and innovation to facilitate the technical change needed to transform the economy and make it globally competitive
• contributing the technical and vocational work force to operate, service and maintain the equipment and facilities for industrial production and provision of services for the populace.
• developing, managing and sustaining the physical and technical infrastructure that will be the supporting skeleton/super-structure for the country’s competitive development.
As Prof. John Momoh of Howard University, USA noted recently while addressing the leadership of our universities “the elements of the strategic knowledge based initiatives to underpin our development strategy for a major economic revitalization must include, but not limited to the following:
a. Deliberate and focused investment in knowledge; science, technology and innovation, being the the common denominator for all countries with strong economy,
b. Exploiting the potential of universities to instigate and sustain economic growth through knowledge-based policy intervention. This is what universities do globally,
c. Promoting engagement in research and education focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),
d. Deliberately focusing on challenges facing the common Nigerians – hunger, disease, want, sustainable livelihood, etc
e. Using policy reforms and practical action to mitigate growing youth unemployment, restlessness and complacence, and in their stead exploit the collateral demographic dividend it
f. Empowering youths with knowledge, skills and planning capability needed to revitalize the industries, which will in turn provide practical training bases for young graduates.
Strategic Partnership with Government
So, we are certain about our most critical challenges, we are certain about our aspirations, and we are indeed not oblivious of possible solutions. Many Past NSE Presidents before me have also used this podium of our inauguration to beam searchlights on the issue of national development and how engineering can be exploited to come to the rescue.
All I need to add now Mr President Sir, is that we shall partner with Government and all stakeholders; we shall join forces to draw workable plans for our governments and all of us stakeholders to successfully implement the national vision. We have what it takes to turn around our fortunes to fully actualize the true great nation that we are.
We cannot over emphasis the fact that a healthy relationship with government is essential. I commend my predecessors for the inroads they have made particularly in the constant communications with the apex of our government institutions. What they have achieved is enormous, in view of the way already paved for closer ties with the critical organs. We will continue to nurture a strong relationship in order to remain not only relevant in the scheme of things in the country, but to position ourselves appropriately to give the desired contributions for sustainable national development. In particular, I shall ensure that the parley with Engineers elected into the National Assembly as well as the meeting with Chief Executives of Engineering based organizations which was initiated by my predecessors is held on routine basis. This move to my mind is a strong vehicle we can use to favourably influence legislation and a wide range of policies. We will also partner renowned organizations like the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and educational professional organizations.
As part of this inauguration, a pre-inauguration workshop on Engineering infrastructures and public-private partnership in Nigeria and indeed Africa was held in the last two days (January 9-10), which was aimed at bringing forth knowledge - and practice-based recommendations to advance the delivery of infrastructure to complement the progress that has so far been made by the Government in Roads, Rail, Power, Telecoms etc, and to feed strategically into the National 30-year Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP).
There was wide consultation, participation and synergy with all cognate national infrastructure agencies, including the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), and the Infrastructure Bank Plc, as well as cognate line Ministries. A brief summary of its outcomes are to be presented at this event to President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federation while we carry the message to the State Governors.
Permit me Mr. President to formally seize the opportunity of this auspicious occasion to announce a new initiative to establish NSE Monitoring Action Groups (NMAGs). The NSE Monitoring Action Groups will monitor policies and programs affecting critical sectors of the nation’s economy, for the purpose of engineering input and liaising with relevant stakeholders from public and private sectors to ensure coordinated action for a sustainable infrastructural development. Accordingly, two multi-sectoral action groups on “National Infrastructure Development (NID)”, and on “Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment (AWRE)” would be inaugurated within the first quarter of 2014 to flag up this noble idea.
The AWRE-NMAG, (i.e Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment - NSE Monitoring Action Groups) for example, in collaboration with the relevant NSE Divisions would be expected to, amongst other things, organize a census of all abandoned, dilapidated, moribund and below-capacity running Agro-based & Agro-allied Industries and Water Supply/Sanitation/Irrigation facilities and fully assess what it would take to rehabilitate such systems with a comprehensive feasibility report to guide practical intervention that can bring back the erstwhile rural industrialization and wealth creation in the agricultural sector.
The NID-NMAG (i.e National Infrastructure Development - NSE Monitoring Action Groups) on its own will undertake a comprehensive study of the present state and future infrastructure projections for critical sectors of the national economy, and hence identify gaps and financial needs to meet such gap. NSE leadership would extend this concept to other equally important sectors of our economy in due course.
On the Nigerian Content Development Law 2010, framed within the context of growth of Nigerian entrepreneurship and the domestication of assets in line with Nigeria’s strategic developmental goals, NSE will during my tenure push vigorously not only for its diligent implementation, but also for the replication of the policy in all other critical sectors of our economy.
The scheme, which has the potential to create over 30,000 jobs in the next 5 years, is geared to increasing the domestic share of the $18 billion annual spending on oil and gas from 45% to 70%, in addition to enhancing the multiplier effects on the economy, through refining and petrochemicals. The projected success/ expected outcome in this sector is awesome.
We are convinced that our country will not grow economically if we continue to import everything we use.
Our manufacturing industry has all it takes to produce quality products and add more value to foreign products if government policy provides them the enabling environment. To encourage local production and to boost the country’s economy, there is the need for appropriate fiscal policy review with the aim of creating market for local manufactures. There is also need for massive national value reorientation that will encourage citizens to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods to further advance the cause of local content.
During this tenure, NSE will continue to work hard to consolidate on our achievements. Our bid to demonstrate our capability is clearly seen in the collaboration of NSE and the NigComSat Ltd. The Society has through the partnership deployed E-voting, wholly developed by Nigerian Engineers, for the election of officers in 2012 and 2013.
This laudable effort of the NSE to promote Nigerian Content in key Engineering trades and related areas, which also culminated in the establishment of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, will continue to take the centre stage of our policy. The Local Content Development Committee will be fully supported to push our ideals to the public domain to affect policies favourably.
Engineering Regulation Monitoring and Value for Money
The rising incidence of building collapse, not to mention roads failure, in the country has become a disturbing trend. These tragedies are mostly accompanied by mass loss of lives and properties worth billions of naira.
Investigation reveal that poor workmanship, use of cheap and inferior materials, wrong interpretation of building design, inadequate supervision, non adherence to due process in building construction, lack of maintenance culture, greedy attitude of contractors, abuse of plans and the activity of quacks are some of the reasons behind these avoidable agonies. We will partner all stakeholders to stem this negative development.
We will join forces with COREN on Engineering Regulation Monitoring to ensure that the relevant laws guiding the sector are adhered to. In particular we will wrestle the importation/infiltration of so-called “expatriate” non engineers to take up critical engineering jobs. We shall work with the Head of Service, Chief Executive Officers of all the International Oil Companies (IOC's), and all the Service Companies giving a deadline by which they should submit the list of all Engineers in their employment, with their cadre and NSE Membership Status.
We shall vigorously defend and protect the turf of qualified engineers in all spheres of the economy. We shall stimulate law enforcement agencies to bring offenders to justice, draw the media into the stakeholders’ forum to play their part by educating clients to avoid cheap services which often land them into the hands of quacks. We shall mount pressure at levels to stem the menace, and ensure that Nigerians get value for their money in all engineering undertakings.
Zero Tolerance for Corruption
Talking about value for money in engineering and allied infrastructures, Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation has been ripped and raped for long since after independence. It is common knowledge in project and international development circles that not up to 30% of committed funds are effectively utilized in projects in Nigeria.
The heavy burden of corruption is self defeating, counterproductive, killing Nigerians (bad roads and collapsed buildings), killing initiatives, discouraging foreign direct investment, and overall destroying and regressing an otherwise vibrant and progressive economy.
NSE will do all possible to stop the use of engineering for looting of the National treasury by Nigerians and their foreign collaborators.
Welfare of Engineers
Closely related to the issue of service delivery, relevance to national development through collaboration and synergy with Government and all other stakeholders is the issue of benefit to members of our great society.
We intend, by our active and visible engagement, to widen opportunities for greater engineering participation, and hence greater opportunities for our members, especially young engineering graduates. My heart bleeds, when I see young graduate engineers remaining jobless for years in a country where there is considerable infrastructure inadequacy.
I desire to remain in the subconscious of our Members even after my tenure as NSE President. In this regard, the NSE under my leadership will push vigorously for the welfare of our colleagues serving in both public and private sectors of the economy.
The issue of commensurate remuneration and the routine review of same for our hardworking Engineers will feature prominently on the front burner and I will see to it that they are logically tackled. I will re-engineer our advocacy to government to consider the Nigerian professional first, in job placement or contracts award in the efforts to tackle our development and build sustainable capacity. On this issue, I pledge my word to be my bond.
For us in this new dawn; we owe ourselves the duty to join hands to the best to uplift the NSE to be strong enough to impact positively on its Membership and our Nation in general. The issue of assisting our Engineers on the pressing need of befitting shelter will be fully tackled. I shall reach out to the appropriate authorities to actualize the Engineers Mass Housing Scheme which was initiated by my predecessors.
We shall focus on affordable and quality mass housing for engineers nationwide, and towards this, we shall fully mobilize through the forum ’’Engineers in Housing Development’’ to impact the country at large.
Promotion of Excellence and Service Delivery through Technology Advancement Initiatives
In the words of my predecessor, Engr Balarabe Shehu, FNSE, “while we are very ready to use the big stick on any member that falls below the professional standard, we will promote initiatives that would reward excellence in engineering practice and innovation”. We shall show case life-changing engineering achievements by reviving the technology advancement initiative, which includes, design competitions, exhibitions, industry-supported fairs, etc. The goal is to re-energize the creativity and innovative restlessness of the youths, whose interest in engineering must be sustained, in the quest of our technological emancipation. This will be a major action point of the tenure.
Membership Admission Through Matured Route
The NSE will continue the drive to admit Matured Engineers as members through consideration of experience over a period of time.
International Activities
I am elated to inform this august gathering that we have continuously taken active part in international affairs and demonstrated dynamism in the activities of our regional, sub-regional and global bodies. We have used these platforms to promote friendship and boost our technological learning.
Under my leadership, we shall maintain the confidence that our colleagues at the regional level have reposed in us by granting us the privilege to host the Secretariat of the Federation of African Engineering Organizations (FAEO) as well as the Presidency 2014 through 2015.
The big event, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) summit (WECSI 2014) in Abuja later this year is also another exercise of pride to us and our nation as a whole.
It is no mean feat to be granted the hosting right for this global engineering conclave. We are assured of the support of the Nigerian Government and peoples in contributing towards a successful hosting of engineers from all over the world for WECSI 2014.
There are about 18 countries in Africa who are yet to establish their professional bodies, the WFEO has expressed concern about this and is looking unto us to galvanize these nations.
Therefore, under my leadership, we will also focus on the activities of FAEO and assist in bringing these other countries on board within a very short time.
Capacity Building
I must here commend the ingenuity of my predecessors who were inspired to establish and equip our world class center of excellence, the Engineering Practice And Resource Development, (EPRD) which is a Strategic International Engineering Capacity Development Institution formed by NSE in partnership with International Energy Services Limited (IESL) an Oil & Gas, Engineering and Manpower Development company with the purpose of developing engineering capacity and skills in the country.
As an academician, I have come to appreciate how achievements can be made through intense research work, hence I shall throw my weight behind the Governing Board of our much cherished EPRD to successfully galvanize the latest materials required for capacity building for our professional colleagues to strengthen their skills. We shall prioritize continuous professional development. So much has been said about solutions to the lack of infrastructure which is a direct task of our engineers. I believe this process can be enhanced through the development of the appropriate skills.

It will be recalled that the NSE on January 28, 2013, instituted a Governing Council for the NSE-TAD (Nigerian Society of Engineers Taming African Deserts) and saddled it with the responsibility of reclaiming territories under the threat of desertification. The Council which will operate through Boards has been specifically mandated to deploy modern technology to turn the Sahara desert to a green land of abundant opportunities for Nigerians and other Africans living in the area.
NSE-TAD is a fallout of relationship between the NSE and Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE) which started in 2011 at the National Conference of the NSE held in Tinapa Resort, Calabar, in Cross River State. At that event, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, OON, founder of FADE made a presentation on the project of bridging and greening of the Sahara desert. We will do our best on this project for the purpose of positively impacting the economic and social lives of the people around the corridors of the desert region and the entire African continent in general.
Divisions and Branches
As you may be aware, the Nigerian Society of Engineers is managed in structure through its 19 Divisions and 59 Branches. The Divisions are based on professional specializations while the Branches are spread in geographical locations across the country.
I shall support our Divisions who have been very proactive to further explore the EPRD to make indelible land marks in order to further proof that they are our true engines of professional growth. I shall support the Divisions to continually evolve programmes geared towards knowledge enrichment for us not only to keep pace of trends but become global leaders in engineering feats.
Divisions would be mandated to submit at least two incisive papers emanating from their national conference for publishing in the NSE Technical Transaction Journal.
As for Branches, it is gladdening that our Branch network has continued to grow. We now have a total of 59 Branches. The joy here is the fact that, they are doing pretty fine, however, I am aware that there are challenges that are slowing others. I shall work closely with all our Branches on strategies to surmount their challenges.
Also during my tenure, I will continually encourage our Branches to promote Community Engineering. This is one unique platform we would effectively exploit in order to reach out to the grass roots.
The National Engineering Games (NEGG)
Distinguished colleagues you will agree with me that, the National Engineering Games (NEGG) which debuted in 2011 with subsequent editions in 2012 and 2013 has turned into a mega sporting event. It is indisputable that this is attracting enthusiasts across the country and beyond the shores of Nigeria.
NEGG was approved by the leadership of the Society to provide an avenue for the ever-busy engineers to come together and engage in exercises in order to keep fit, promote oneness of the engineering family and enlarge our visibility and network. I hereby charge Branches to fully take part in this annual fiesta for us to benefit from the purpose of its institution.
Young Engineers Development Forum
Our Young Engineers occupy a special position as far as our future is concerned. We shall leave no stone unturned to support initiatives geared towards mentoring and nurturing Young Engineers to be fully prepared for the legacy of excellence we are going to bequeath to them.
The NSE Job Bureau must function optimally, create and identify opportunities to help our Young Engineers to either explore entrepreneurship or find suitable placement in organizations where they can continue to improve their skills, excel and earn decent living befitting qualified professionals.
Our Students will be encouraged to continue their competitions and participation in international events as a way of providing them the opportunity for networking with their peers in other parts of the world and to impact national development.
With the help of our colleagues in the academia, we will join forces with COREN to tackle the persistent cases of closure of Engineering Faculties on account of non-accreditation. The closure of such Faculties, in addition to its embarrassment to us, is a set back to the development of engineering, hence all hands must be on deck to ensure the laid down rules are complied with from the onset to avoid discontinuity of programmes. Very importantly, my Presidency will improvise a means by which we will work with the appropriate stakeholders in order to create a link between the Engineering Faculties of our citadels of learning and the industry as well as other stakeholders.
NSE will intensify Periodic Official Visitation to Higher Institutions of Learning. We will also form strategic partnerships with, JETS Clubs in Secondary Schools, Training Institutes, Technical/Trade and Craft Colleges to promote and encourage the best technology oriented students to pursue careers as Engineers.
NSE Facilities
I congratulate my amiable predecessors whom God endowed with the wisdom to lead us well and to prioritize the development of our befitting facilities. We will ensure a speedy completion of the NEC Abuja Phase II building and ensure effective maintenance of same. We will continue to maintain and manage the
National Engineering Center, Lagos. We shall explore Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives to build all other outstanding projects, and demonstrate appropriate best practice.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The NSE under my leadership will strive to give back to Society in form of social service to our people. For instance, we shall partner with FRSC on the promotion of Road Safety and safe road use. It is my intention to put in place Sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility projects. In this regard, we shall form a body to be known as NSE Volunteer Engineers for intervention in Road Rehabilitation, Emergencies, Natural Disasters among others.
The Secretariat
The Secretariat is central to our optimal performance being our ‘situation office’ where we execute our daily operations. I will support the Executive Secretary to deliver effectively on his mandate. We shall make the working condition conducive and improve on our IT driven operations.
We shall encourage our hardworking Staff and prioritize their capacity building, without failing to wield the big stick on those found to have contravened laid down rules as well as enforce strict adherence to work ethics and standards for sustainable productivity.
A National Engineering Strategic Plan
The critical issues that have been unfolded in this speech have resulted from a major review of the journey of th
e NSE so far since inception, vis-à-vis the fluctuating trajectory of our national development. Working through various sub committees, we have identified some strategic goals/objectives, and matching set of activities, resulting in a strategy map which forms the kernel of our strategic plan for the NSE.
The essence of the plan, which was thoroughly discussed and ‘bought-into’ yesterday at the pre-inauguration workshop by our membership, is to reposition/rebrand the Society for greater relevance in instigating an innovative and value-driven production economy, impacting on national development policy and economic growth, and engendering better and rewarding service delivery by members. In other words, our engineering practice must resonate with the lives and livelihood of ordinary Nigerians who daily yearn for the good life. The Plan will be published for mass circulation.
My pledge is to provide the leadership that will drive and sustain this initiative until we achieve the desired success. I call on all engineers, our revered Past Presidents, Fellows, all Branches and Divisions, young engineers, other professional bodies, captains of industry, all men and women of goodwill, and fellow Nigerians to support this NSE initiative towards achieving our national vision.
I wholeheartedly thank each and everyone here that has contributed to the success of this day. I must acknowledge the selfless contribution of all members of the Presidential Investiture Planning Committee, as well as members of the “DEMO Strategic Committee”. They are the architects of the day, and I thank them all.
I thank Mr. President for agreeing to be part of this event. I thank HE, Dr. Rahman Olusegun Mimiko, who inspired me from St Joseph College, Ondo, mentored me at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and made me a Commissioner for Agriculture in his Government in Ondo State until February 2013, and now Special Adviser on Agriculture, thereby preparing me for this new challenge. Mr. Governor is here with a large delegation from his Cabinet and the State at large. I thank them all.
Before my Governor took me back home, I was a ‘Lagos Boy’, rising to the position of a Chief Lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic. So I owe my conscious development to Lagos, hence, I am very appreciative of Lagos State Government and HE Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN. I remember in a special way my Mentor and Father in the NSE – Late Engr. Ralph Adeola Alabi, FNSE. May his soul rest in peace. There are so many other Dignitaries, for whom I doff my hat of appreciation.
I thank my dear Wife; Omotolani and Children; Adeteniola, Adegboyega (Mr. President Christ Redeemer College, Shagamu, Ogun State), Aderinsola and Adewonuola for their unalloyed support in my pursuit of excellence in academics, my profession and in service to our fatherland. To the Olorunfemi, Akinyemi, Eketunde and Anibaba Families, I say A BIG THANK YOU and a very special one to my Dad and Mum, Pa (Prince) & Mrs. Ezekiel Abiodun Olorunfemi who for reasons of old age could not be here physically.

Most importantly, I appreciate our God almighty because the Psalmist says: “It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night,” — Psalm 92:1-2
‘I wish you all journey mercy to your various destinations. God bless you all richly. Happy and Prosperous 2014.

Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi, FNSE
President/Chairman-In-Council Nigerian Society of Engineers


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