2017 AEDC Summit: Vice Chancellor Tasks Participants on Game-Changing Action Plan
The Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Engr. (Professor) AAA. Atayero, has urged the African Engineering Deans Council (AEDC) to come up with an action plan that would not only change how things are done in engineering, but in all spheres of human development.
Professor Atayero, who gave the task on Monday, July 24, 2017, when the Executives of the AEDC and other stakeholders in the field of engineering from within and outside Nigeria paid him a courtesy visit, said the University’s request was that the AEDC must harness the wealth of experience of stakeholders for the benefit of the whole continent.
The Vice-Chancellor said that Covenant University, as a very young institution, considered it a privilege to have played host to the recently held 3rd AEDC summit.
Prominent on the visiting entourage, led by the Dean, College of Engineering, Covenant University and Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 3rd AEDC Summit, Professor Christian Bolu, were Alpha Momodou Bomo Beny, a Cabinet Minister who represented the African Union (AU) Chairman, President Alpha Conde of Guinea; Ambassador of Guinea to Nigeria, Mr. Gaoussou Toure; Chairman, Global Engineering Deans Council, Professor Peter Kilpatrick; President, African Engineering Deans Council (AEDC), Engr. (Professor) Adagbonyin Obiazi; President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Engr. Kashim Ali; Secretary-General, Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC), Professor Michael Faborode; and President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Udemba Jacobs among others.
Earlier, while stating the purpose of the visit, the LOC Chairman for the 3rd AEDC Summit, Professor Bolu, said that it was to apprise the Vice-Chancellor of the agenda of the summit. These, said Professor Bolu, included how the African Union can tap into the involvement of African engineers in the development of Africa; how students can be trained and made useful to the industry; and to develop a framework to make the endeavor a sustainable one.
According to Professor Bolu, the AEDC Summit, with the theme, ‘Engineering for Socio-Economic Development of Africa’, featured all Deans of Colleges of Engineering from five regions of Africa under the aegis of the AEDC, including representatives of the Global Engineering Deans Council, COREN, MAN and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
In his remarks, the representative of the African Union Chairman, Mr. Bomo Beny, said that the AU was into many activities, one of which has to do with collaboration among unions. Education, he stated, is a priority, just as the huge human population of Africa is an asset to the continent. “Africa will not succeed if we continue to dwell on our past; we have to begin to look towards the area of industry,” he added.
Africa, he suggested, should look at how to ensure collaboration between nations; how to use science to transform the society; and ensure that the science done conforms to the reality on ground. He stated further that looking at what goes on in African universities, there is difference in the kinds of products produced and what is needed in the industry and in essence, universities must continue to produce human resources that can operate in the industry. Mr. Beny promised to suggest to the AU President that as the continent talks about the dividends of democracy, it must talk about training at the universities.
The Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, Professor Faborode, who appreciated Covenant University for bidding and succeeding in hosting the summit, said that the presence of majority of stakeholders at the summit was a great omen and a sign of deliberate effort to achieve the goal of coming up with an action plan as outlined by Professor Atayero, the Covenant University Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Faborode, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said that the summit wanted to bridge the gap between the industry and the academia. “The agenda before us is very clear, we want our education and research to be relevant to the needs of our people in Africa,” he emphasized.
Stating that everything about Covenant University is impressive and the University’s attention to details was inspiring, Professor Kilpatrick, the Chairman of the Global Engineering Deans Council, averred that the problems that Africa faces are not unique to the continent. He said that challenges of diseases, scientific wellness and infrastructure, among others, are global and humanity must come together to find solution.
“These challenges can be solved where engineers take the lead, academia needs to care about the needs of industry, and technology leaders need to be mindful of the power of engineers. It is my hope that we realize great things for Africa at the conference,” said the McCloskey Dean of Engineering, University of Notre Dame, USA.
While expressing gratitude that all the major stakeholders were on ground for the summit, the AEDC President, Engr. (Professor) Obiazi, said that the summit would be using Nigeria to showcase what it intends to do and replicate it in Africa. According to him, prior to the summit, a select team of Vice-Chancellors had visited the manufacturing sector to identify their needs. “We need to recognize structures for the implementation of action points and COREN should help to anchor it,” he said.
Engr. Obiazi asserted that Africa must solve its problems, and the summit must put in place an action plan and tie it to a time frame so that by the end of each year, it would be clear what has been achieved.
Echoing similar sentiments in their comments, the President, MAN, and his COREN counterpart, Dr. Udemba Jacobs and Engr. Kashim Ali respectively, were unanimous in their submissions that the academia and the industry must work together, and with the feasibility of the two pledging their commitment with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Notable among other members of the visiting team were the Vice-Chancellor, Bells University of Technology, Professor Jeremiah Ojediran; a former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe; Dean, University for Development Studies, Ghana, Dr. Felix Abagale; and Principal, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology, Makerere University, Uganda, Professor Henry Alinaitwe.
Also representing Covenant University at the occasion were the Registrar, Dr. Olumuyiwa Oludayo; immediate past Dean of the College of Engineering, Professor Samuel John; and Head, Department of Civil Engineeing, Dr. David Olukanni.