The Dean, Faculty of Technology, University of Ibadan, Prof. Olaosebikan Fakolujo, has said the time has come for the country to stop being a consuming nation, but rather catalyse rapid industrialisation by leveraging and investing in technology.
Prof. Fakolujo said this at the induction of 293 2018/2019 graduates of the faculty as graduate members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, stating that Nigeria must cease from becoming a consuming nation and invest in technology to fast-track industrial and economic development.
Disclosing that the induction, which ought to have taken place in 2020, was postponed due to “the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU strike, and other nationa/global issues,” Fakolujo noted that 43 of the inductees graduated with First Class in various technology fields, while 112 made second class honours, upper division.
He said, “I am highly excited to inform this gathering that 43 of them, which constitute 14.7 per cejty, graduated with First Class Honours. Two are from the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering; one is from the Department of Civil Engineering; 18 are from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering; 10 are from the Department of Industrial and Production Engineering; 9 are from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and three are from the Department of Petroleum Engineering.
“One hundred and twelve of them graduated with Second Class Honours, Upper Division. 127 of them graduated with Second Class Honours, Lower Division; 10 of them graduated with Third Class Honours and one of them graduated with a Pass Degree.
“It is crucial for you to identify with the reality that Nigeria needs to cease from being a consuming nation and wake up from her slumber by engaging in productive activities that can guarantee rapid industrialisation, earnings from exportation and economic transformation. Technological development is undoubtedly a prerequisite to industrialisation and economic development in any nation of the world.”
Fakolujo, however, urged the graduands to acquaint themselves with more modern technical and management skills to be relevant engineers nationally and internationally.
He further said, “I am glad and confident that today’s inductees have received very sound engineering training that will make them a spectacular workforce desired for impactful national and international technological advancement and growth; there is need for you to continuously acquaint yourselves with modern technical and management skills acquisitions that will make you excellent asset for the emerging economy of the world. To be relevant engineers in the emerging economy, you are expected to constantly be abreast with the state-of-the-art skills and technology in order to be well prepared for critical role in the following core areas.”
The best graduating female student, Favour Victoria Aiyegbeni, in her remarks, said she became the best graduating female student by hardwork and passion for engineering.
She said, “I was not actually aiming high, but rather making sure I understand my courses. I didn’t want to go out there without knowing what I know. It was such a motivation to be the best at what I knew that pushed me. I see myself doing a lot on robotics and AI. I have actually started working on stuff like that and I see myself also delving into business as a consultant and business owner.
“We need to create awareness and enabling environment by government to those pushing innovation. I have seen a lot of people build some things which are fine, but are not cool for African settings. So its good to be innovative, but it must be tied to solving a societal problem.”
On his part, the best male graduating student, Emmanuel Nwachukwu, called on government at all levels to make the environment conducive for thinkers and innovators to thrive.
He said, “Africa’s greatest resource is her people. They are bright, intelligent and have the potentials but when the environment is not set right for you, it will be very difficult to flourish. I don’t see looking oversees as an end; it’s a means of building competence. I can then go and know how to do it better and come back here and solve problems. I am investing in myself to leverage on technology knowledge, programming languages and data science.”