Engineering, Catalyst for Economic Development -Seasoned Engineer
Engineers need to develop a broad fundamental understanding of their professional responsibilities in the society as the era of engineers being limited to the workshops and on the field is becoming outdated, an award-winning engineer, Engr. (Mrs) Olufunmilade Akingbagbohun has advocated.
She said that the era of engineers sitting back as advisers and consultants is fading, hence engineers should prepare for participation in national politics, where policies that affect the national economy are made.
Engr. Akingbagbohun, who was Guest Speaker at the Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant University, held on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, averred that being part of policy-making bodies would afford engineers the opportunity of using their professional knowledge to attract and defend important engineering infrastructural development projects.
Speaking on the topic of the Town and Gown seminar titled, ‘The Role of Engineers in the National Economy Development’, Engr. Akingbagbohun, who is the Assistant Chief Engineer, Lagos Traffic Radio, 96.1FM, said that engineers design, create, explore, and innovate; they receive education and training in many fields; work in many different environments, and do things that make the world worthy of living.
The major roles of engineers, according to Engr. Akingbagbohun, who is also the Treasurer, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Ikeja Branch, Lagos, are Technical, Social and Economic. She argued that since previous efforts aimed at stimulating economic growth (foreign aid, investment in machines, loans, debt relief etc.) had failed, it was imperative that “rather than giving out a fish to someone to feed on, teach him how to process and package fish for export and you have stimulated economic development. This is the work of engineers”.
Highlighting the role of engineers, Engr. Akingbagbohun said that the engineering profession makes important contributions to the economy, through direct addition to economic output from the work they do, adding that they also play vital roles in the economic development of the nation in sectors such as education, production, construction, information and telecommunication, infrastructure, clean and sustainable energy among others.
The guest speaker encouraged the students to begin to see themselves more as potential engineering ambassadors and prepare for the challenges of participating in socio-economic activities in the country. She emphasised that their activities on campus shouldn’t be activism inclined, but on development and innovation; that they should integrate their “professional code” into their daily work as engineering students; while programmes that bring professionals into the academic folds are to be encouraged.
While emphasising that the work of an engineer is to stimulate economic development, Engr. Akingbagbohun urged the budding engineers to be innovative and think of what they can do that is unique and can solve problems in the society.
In his comments, the Dean, College of Engineering, Covenant University, Professor Christian Bolu, acknowledged the challenge of producing quality engineers, but disclosed that stakeholders in the profession were setting modalities in motion to address the issue. He said that the curriculum for student engineers was being adjusted, practicing engineers and students would be brought together for mentoring, and students were being encouraged to be self-employed.
Earlier at the seminar, the Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Sunday Oyedepo, noted that the seminar was special, because the department was having a female engineer to do justice to the topic. He said the students would be exposed to the roles an engineer should play and how they can contribute to the development of the society.
The event, which had Professors Festus Oyawale, Anthony Inegbenebor, and Oluseyi Ajayi in attendance, also featured other faculty and staff of the Mechanical Engineering department.