The Victoria Island Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) under the chairmanship of Engr. Rose Madaki had put together an inaugural lecture of Engr Mohammed Babagana to commemorate with his remarkable feats in the branch. Engr Mohammed Babagana who is currently the deputy president of NSE would assume the presidency of the society in December this year. Our correspondent at Engineers’ Forum took out time to inquire about his goals and aspirations for the coming tenure and the crisis in NSE.
Congratulations on a successful inaugural lecture, how does it feel to be celebrated as a living Icon?
I am greatly overwhelmed and grateful for such a decision by my colleagues to celebrate me.
Sir at the moment, what do you consider as the challenges of engineering practice in Nigeria?
The engineering practice has a lot of challenges but we are working towards a change because the engineering society has started having legislations now. Before there were no legislations and it was difficult for engineers to be involved in the practice but of recent, there are now Acts and legislations for COREN and Executive Order 5. These Acts has given engineering practice and COREN some power to monitor, prosecute and enforce regulations in engineering. And I consider this improvement as key to the development of the profession, with time we will improve.
Currently, there is an unresolved crisis in the NSE which became visible at the EGM in Abuja, how do you intend to resolve that problem?
The truth is, that is a family affair and not a crisis. We are working around it and we are talking with our colleagues. It is natural when you bring a lot of people together some people will have divergent views, but we need to accommodate all people, that is the reason we are in that position of leadership. There is a need to bring everyone in, we have to run an inclusive government. As I speak with you we have heard their grievances by discussing with them. Very soon we are going to have a physical meeting, where we can properly address the issues.
You have had a successful tenure as deputy president, what are you going to do as president?
To some extent, we are going to create awareness among engineering personnel. We must work as a team to rescue our country and we must provide skills to close the gap. Our people must be employable and be of use to the Nigerian community.
What are the visions and plans for your coming administration?
Come January, I have a structured programme and a roadmap to work with. Having been in the system, I am familiar with the move of things in the system and will not waste a minute in acting. It is just a two years tenure and we can’t afford to waste time, every minute counts. The administration is going to be open to everybody, the position is not going to be for Babagana alone but everyone. It is our society, our engineering. They have the right to tell when I am not doing something right. The administration is not going to be about me but engineering practice. So it is our duty to all join hands together and work because if the system collapses it falls on all of us. The fact that we all pay money into the system makes us stakeholders, it is a teamwork. My vision is to have an inclusive government.
The face of engineering in the world today is changing with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution(4IR), how will the coming administration align Nigeria with the tech development we find in the world today?
Yes, that is the reason we are going for advocacy so many people have to know. And it is not just going to be centred on government but also private individuals with a strong financial capacity among us. If they have new ideas that will change things, so be it! People need to know that in these things it is not the government’s responsibility alone, but for all of us. We must improvise new methods of doing things, the old methods will not work, we have to take up new methods to get new results.
A good number of engineers in Nigeria are not members of the NSE how do you intend to address the situation?
Induction has been an activity carried out subsequently by branches, we would always do our best to encourage the branches to carry these out as at when due, that’s the best we can do. The issue is even more than the induction, it is the question of if we are attracting the quality of people we want, not about the number but quality. We are also working on the curriculums.