Umahi tasks engineers to harness abundant resources for industrial revolution

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From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has tasked engineers and investors to take advantage of abundant human and material resources to achieve the needed Industrial revolution in the country.

Umahi gave the challenge in Nsukka on Saturday when he chaired the 18th Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture (HMML) held at Adada hall Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enigiets State

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The lecture was organised by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), titled, “Potentials prospects and drawbacks of steel and petroleum industries development in Nigeria”.

He said the theme of the event was apt as steel and petroleum were very vital for the development of any nation.

‘Development of infrastructures in any nation without two resources remain an uphill task.

‘Our nation is abundantly endowed with steel and petroleum resources but we have not developed to capacity to harness them to serve our nation’s population,’ he said.

The governor who was represented by his deputy Mr Eric Igwe Urged engineers to find out things preventing the country from full and proper exploiting these key resources to national development.

‘No country has ever developed by just selling raw materials without refining them to finish product.

‘If these resources are refined locally it will add more return and value as well create job opportunities and boost the national economy,’ he said.

The governor expressed appreciation to the Faculty of Engineering for the recognition and honour given to him to chair the 18th Herbert Macaulay memorial lecture.

Speaking on the theme of the lecture Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said that the contributions of the late Herbert Macaulay to the engineering profession in the country as the first licensed engineer would not be overemphasised.

According to him, Macaulay who was the first licensed engineer in the country in 1893 contributed immensely through research and practice of the profession.

‘Macaulay trained and practised as engineer, architect and surveyor in those days when there was little distinction between these disciplines.

‘There is no doubt that this training equipped him for his pioneering role as nationalist in the fight for Nigeria’s political emancipation.

‘Macaulay’s legacies should serve as an inspiration to all engineers in the country,” he said.

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Sule who was represented by his deputy, Mr Emmanuel Akabe, said that the academics in Nigeria Universities especially the engineers should go into serious research on how Nigeria could drive maximum benefit from steel and petroleum resources who has a lot to contribute to the development of the country.

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‘Engineers in the tertiary institutions especially those in UNN as the foremost university in the country should be able to advise the government properly on the best way to solve the problems in the steel and petroleum industry.

‘This is important as no sitting government will reject professional advice from the ivory towers,’ he said.

The governor noted that getting the problem of steel and petroleum industries solved will help boost the economy as well reduce the number of unemployed youths in the country.

He expressed his gratitude to the faculty of engineering in UNN for finding him worthy to come and deliver the all-important Herbert Macaulay memorial lecture.

In a remark, Prof Emeka Obe, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, UNN, said that in 1978, the faculty Board of Engineering, recognising the pivotal role played by the person recognised as the founder of Nigeria nationalism, Herbert Macaulay towards Nigeria’s independence resolved to establish a biennial lecture in his honour.

‘The theme for this 18th HMML is important because steels and petroleum are drivers of the modern economy, thus they are very strategic for Nigerian’s industrial development.

‘The HMML provides us with the avenue to interact with distinguished professionals who have the love for our faculty and indeed our University at heart,’ he said.

The Dean, however, appealed for help to enable the faculty to have a 1000 capacity lecture theatre, a new and separate building for seven departments, among others.

Prof Charles Igwe, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka in his welcome address said that the university has always recognised the great contributions of the great person, thus the faculty of engineering has initiated this biennial lecture series in order to achieve the following goals;

‘Highlight the several faces of man who has been described as the father of Nigerian nationalism and encourage present-day engineers, surveyors architects and other professionals to learn from the professional lifestyle and make every effort to leave good footprints on the sand of time.

‘Map out strategies and mobilise resources to improve the teaching, learning and research environment within the faculty of engineering and the university at large, among others,’ he said.

The VC who was represented by UNN’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Johnson Urama, expressed optimism that the 18th HMML will provide solutions to the challenges Industries are facing in the country.

It was gathered that the venue of the event was moved outside UNN to Nsukka town because of an ongoing nationwide warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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