Umahi tasks engineers to harness abundant resources for industrial revolution – The Sun Nigeria
By Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has instructed engineers and investors to take advantage of the abundant human and material resources to achieve the industrial revolution needed in the country.
Umahi rose to the challenge in Nsukka on Saturday when he chaired the 18th Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture (HMML) held at Adada Nsukka Hall in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enigiets State.
The conference was organized by the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), titled “Potential Prospects and Drawbacks of the Development of Steel and Petroleum Industries in Nigeria”.
He said the theme of the event was appropriate as steel and oil were very vital for the development of any nation.
“Developing infrastructure in any country without two resources remains a daunting task.
“Our country is abundantly endowed with steel and oil resources, but we have not developed the capacity to exploit them to serve the people of our country,” he said.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Eric Igwe, urged the engineers to uncover the elements preventing the country from fully and properly exploiting these key resources for national development.
“No country has ever developed by simply selling raw materials without refining them into a finished product.
“If these resources are refined locally, it will add more yield and value, create job opportunities and boost the national economy,” he said.
The Governor thanked the Faculty of Engineering for the recognition and honor bestowed upon him to chair the 18th Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said the contributions of the late Herbert Macaulay to the engineering profession in the country as the first licensed engineer cannot be overstated.
Macaulay, who was the nation’s first licensed engineer in 1893, contributed enormously through research and practice to the profession, he said.
“Macaulay was trained and practiced as an engineer, architect, and surveyor at a time when there was little distinction between these disciplines.
“There is no doubt that this training has equipped him for his pioneering role as a nationalist in the struggle for political emancipation in Nigeria.
“Macaulay’s legacy should serve as an inspiration to every engineer in the country,” he said.
Sule, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Emmanuel Akabe, said Nigerian academics, especially engineers, should undertake serious research on how Nigeria could make the most of steel and oil resources, which has much to contribute to the development of the countryside.
“Engineers in institutions of higher education, especially those in UNN as the premier university in the country, should be able to properly advise the government on how best to solve problems in the steel and oil industry.
“This is important because no government in place will reject professional advice from the ivory towers,” he said.
The governor noted that solving the problem of the steel and oil industries will help boost the economy and reduce the number of unemployed youths in the country.
He expressed his gratitude to the UNN Faculty of Engineering for finding him worthy of coming to deliver the all-important Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture.
In a remark, Professor Emeka Obe, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at UNN, said that in 1978, the faculty’s engineering council, recognizing the pivotal role played by the person recognized as the founder of the Nigerian nationalism, Herbert Macaulay towards the independence of Nigeria, decided to establish a biennial conference in his honor.
“The theme of this 18th HMML is important because steels and oil are the engines of the modern economy, they are therefore very strategic for the industrial development of Nigeria.
“The HMML provides us with the opportunity to interact with distinguished professionals who care deeply about the love of our faculty and our university,” he said.
The Dean, however, appealed for help to enable the faculty to have a 1000 capacity lecture hall, a new separate building for seven departments, among others.
Professor Charles Igwe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in his welcome speech said that the university has always recognized the great contributions of the great person, thus the Faculty of Engineering has launched this series of biennial conferences in order to achieve the following goals;
“Showcase the many faces of the man who has been described as the father of Nigerian nationalism and encourage engineers, surveyors, architects and other professionals today to learn from the professional lifestyle and do their utmost to leave good footprints on the sands of time.
“To develop strategies and mobilize resources to improve the teaching, learning and research environment within the engineering faculty and the university in general, among others,” he said.
The VC, who was represented by UNN Deputy Academic Vice-Chancellor, Professor Johnson Urama, expressed optimism that the 18th HMML will provide solutions to the challenges facing industries in the country.
It was found that the venue of the event has been moved out of UNN to Nsukka town due to an ongoing nationwide warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) .