By Nwogha Andy, Abakaliki
The Governor of Ebonyi State, Engineer David Nweze Umahi has advocated the implementation of a compulsory one-year qualifying Programme for young Engineering graduates.
Engineer Umahi made the suggestion Tuesday during the 29th Engineering Assembly held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Engineer Umahi who was speaking as the Chairman of the 29th session of the Assembly, identified Engineers as people with the ability to address the myriads of challenges facing the Nation.
The Chairman in-session said the training and retraining were necessary to equip young Engineers for the challenges of tomorrow.
“I call for the training of our young Engineers and I propose the adoption of one-year compulsory course for our young Engineers and I am going to provide you a facility fully built and furnished that can accommodate 3000 persons for take-off in Ebonyi State and that should be the basis for qualification to answer an Engineer.
“We train our people in this kind of arena, we provide people that are of practical experiences, we provide expertise, they come there to teach for six months and the rest of the six months must be compulsorily attached to projects. I want us to radicalize Engineering practice in Nigeria.
He called for discipline from the Engineers and urged them to put the integrity of the Profession above financial gains.
“Mr. President, we need this Assembly to change our country, we need this Assembly to change our history. I have always told people that there are two things to chase if you chase money and you chase the profession, you will get the money but you will miss the profession but if you chase the Profession and its ethics, you will get the money and you will get the Profession. You need to cultivate an attitude of discipline. Discipline is key. The question is, is there still discipline in our tertiary Institutions.
“We, young engineers, need to cultivate the attitude of discipline. When I was doing my NYSC, we were going to work 29 days in a month, we woke up by 6:00 AM then, I was the only black man heading a section in the Italian company in Lagos – Ebinga pipeline project. We need discipline, patience, and patriotism.
“When I was a contractor as the party Chairman, I had a constant failure of the asphalt in one of our roads and I sat down and as ask, how do I solve this problem and I went to the cement technology and I had to open the asphalt and I concrete it and put asphalt overlay and the water seepage top and when I started as Governor, as a contractor, I had about 3 asphalt plant in Ebonyi State, I could have as well been selling asphalt but 99% of our project are concrete based out of patriotism.”
“When you go to sites, you see that there are black people that are doing the job with one man that is supervising (moving up and down) and we tend to obey that man but if it is a black skin we tend to disobey that person, what is wrong with our skin?”.
Explaining further, the Governor noted that the cost of executing projects in Nigeria is the highest all over the world as he provided the solution of Nigerians developing Nigeria.
“Mr. President, this can make people angry but the truth remains that the cost of projects in Nigeria is the highest all over the world, why should it be? I have to engage and train our young engineers, 90% of my projects in my second tenure are done by Ebonyians who are engineers under direct labour cost.
“So, I would like us to engage our engineers, we have a lot to offer this nation, I will like us to say no to the cost of projects in this country, I will like us to say no to the treatment meted on our engineers in the various construction companies that are expatriate based, I like the payments that are been done to expatriates, some of them not even engineers, heading us to be reviewed to favour our engineers.”
“Mr. President, I am telling you that Nigerians can develop Nigeria, it is very possible and Ebonyi State offers that challenge.”
“I will be ready to take up any assignment towards the radicalization of the engineering profession in our country.”
Governor Umahi also buttressed his earlier calls for the adoption of Concrete technology in the construction of Federal and State roads across the country, citing its durability and cost-effectiveness as the comparative advantage.
He said it was due to its glaring benefits that the ongoing 199 kilometers of Abakaliki Ring road project is executed on 8-inches concrete pavement, assuring that the project would be completed before the end of his administration.
Engineer Umahi also attributed the massive infrastructural transformation of Ebonyi State such as flyovers as the product of his Engineering acumen and grace of God.
“How we started our flyover revolution in Ebonyi State, we never built anyone, we never had any, I never experienced in practical terms the building of a flyover but had to give out one flyover to a Chinese company, the memories of Engr. Nweze lives on as he was the one supervising it, and I put a lot of Engineers from various ministries to understudy it and they did and after the first flyover which was contracted out, the rest of the 14 twin flyovers with the length of between 350 and 500 meters have been built by Ebonyi State Engineers.”
“I sat down with Engr. Nweze and said that Ebonyi State is been neglected, sometimes you say there are 36 states and they name all the states and say that there is one missing and that state is Ebonyi State and I said no, we will rewrite the history and we sat down and said, what do we do and we decided to design a very complex flyover that has about six outlets and with a fountain in the middle of the flyover and we did that. The aim of that flyover is that when people get there, they must ask a question, in asking the question, you will put Ebonyi State in recognition.”
The Ebonyi State Governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the Executive order regulating the practice of Engineering in Nigeria saying it would go a long way to regulate the Profession.
The theme of the 29th Assembly of Council for the Regulation of Engineering Practice in Nigeria is ‘Advancing The Frontiers Of Engineering Practitioners And Entrenching Professionalism In National Development’.