Baru lauds Nigerian Academy of Engineering
Posted: 13/Apr/2018

The Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru has commended the Nigerian Academy of Engineering for its leadership and promotion of policies that led to the general advancement and promotion of excellence in science, engineering, technology and innovation.

Dr. Baru spoke in Lagos yesterday at the induction ceremony of Group Managing Director of Arco Group, Mr. Alfred Okoigun as Fellow of the Academy. He said in the over two decades of its existence, the Academy has proven to be the national ‘Think Tank’ for engineering and technology, adding that NNPC was proud to be associated with the Academy.

He described the honour bestowed on Mr. Okoigun as a testament to his distinguished leadership, contributions to the engineering profession, outstanding achievements and exceptional character as well as his contributions to the well-being of the society at large.

Dr. Baru said NNPC will continue to support Arco Group and other indigenous companies so that their stories would continue to be sweet.

In her welcome address, the President of the Academy, Engr. Mrs Joanna Maduka said it is the responsibility of the Academy to ensure the advancement of engineering education and practice throughout the engineering family.

She said: ”This is achievable through continuous learning, advocacy and strategic collaboration with relevant professional associations and industry. The goal remains the significant improvement of the lives of our people and the state of our society, nation and humanity as a whole.”

She said part of the roles of the Academy is to facilitate information dissemination and exchange of ideas among members and other professionals; act as advisers to both the government and private sector operators on engineering, technology and other related matters.

Explaining the import of the induction of Mr. Okoigun, she said only a total of four persons have been so honoured in a period of 21 years of the Academy’s existence.

She said: “Those who had earned the honour in the past had demonstrated that they understood the role of engineering education and profession in the development of any nation and they had devoted their time, energy and goodwill towards the promotion of both in real terms in our country.”

She praised Mr. Okoigun for facilitating the establishment of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering and Arco Group Academia and Industry Linkage which will be devoted to finding engineering innovations that can be patented and attract funding for commercial scale production.

Responding, Mr. Okoigun traced his interest in science, engineering and technology from his tender age as a secondary school student then in the early 70s. He said having realised that no nation could develop without paying serious attention to the three catalysts of growth and development, he decided to study engineering, set up an engineering based business and use part of his company’s resources to promote education in those fields as well as the professions attached to them.

Mr. Okoigun said the honour that has been bestowed on him is a challenge to intensify his efforts of raising awareness on the imperative of giving science, engineering and technology their pride of place as desirable fields of study and as the pillars of the country’s development.

As part of the occasion, the former Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos and Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Prof Oyewusi Ibidapo-Obe, delivered a lecture on “Engineering Innovation and Last Mile Development: Towards a Synergy between Investors and Research.” He observed that while inventors take a long term view of their research works, the investors’ expectation is to earn quick returns from their investments in inventions. He called for an intervention agency that can manage properly, the relationship between inventors and investors so that researchers and investors can work harmoniously to resolve these divergent positions.

He said: “Nothing gets invented until it is in the market. Laboratory research is not enough. Innovations must be taken to investors.”

By: Akinola Ajibade and Charles Okonji
The Nation