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KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY ENGR. ADOKIYE TOMBOMIEYE OON, FNSE, FNSChE AT THE RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY

KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY ENGR. ADOKIYE TOMBOMIEYE OON, FNSE, FNSChE AT THE RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, FACULTY OF ENGINEERING 2024 ENGINEERING CONFERENCE.

DATE:20TH-21ST JUNE ,2024.

THEME: “ENGINEERING PRACTICE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY”

PROTOCOLS…

It is both an honour and a privilege to stand before you in this Ampi-theatre of Rivers State University of Science and Technology to discuss a topic of paramount importance:

“Engineering Practice for National Development and Environmental Sustainability.”

National development refers to the sustained improvement in the socio-economic and political well-being of a country’s citizens. It encompasses a wide range of factors, including economic growth, poverty reduction, social equity, infrastructure development, healthcare, education and environmental sustainability.

Environmental Sustainability is the responsibility to conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems to support health and wellbeing. Examples of environmental sustainability includes Renewable energy, recycling and reuse, sustainable agriculture, green buildings, sustainable business practices, work place energy conservation programmes etc.

Overall, National Development requires a coordinated effort involving government, civil society, the private sector, and international partners to address the multifaceted challenges facing countries and to build prosperous and inclusive society for all citizens.

In discussing the above topic, we must interrogate the Nigerian national development plan which is the framework put in place to guide government actions in developing the country’s critical areas as enumerated in the National Development Plan. Most of the plans span through a five years period starting from the first plan from 1962 to 1968 which implementation was compromised by political events leading to a civil war that ended in 1970. The second National Development Plan was between 1970 to 1974 and continued until the current plan that commenced since 2021 that will terminate in year 2025 and is structured into seven clusters namely:

1. Economic growth and development

2. Infrastructure

3. Public administration

4. Human capital development

5. Social development

6. Regional development

7. Plan implementation, communication, financing, monitoring and evaluation.

Looking at the previous plans, can we say that the objectives have been achieved? What went wrong? Who were the drivers of the plan? Why did they fail? What can be done differently to achieve the desired result? The answers to the above questions should be part of the focus of this gathering.

The sixth National development plan (2021-2025) key driver lies with engineers and engineering practice. Engineers must play key role both in policy formulation and

implementation for desired national development. As we gather here, we must acknowledge the pivotal role that engineering plays in shaping the trajectory of nations and safeguarding the health of our planet. Engineering is not merely a profession; it’s a driving force behind economic growth, social progress and environmental stewardship. However, the challenges we face in the 21st century-rapid urbanization, climate change, resource scarcity -demand a revaluation of our engineering practices to ensure both national development and environment sustainability.

Furthermore, engineering must be viewed through the lens of a holistic development.

National progress cannot be measured solely by economic indicators; it must also compass social well-being, environmental quality and cultural preservation. As engineers, we have a responsibility to design and implement solutions that promote inclusive growth, enhance quality of life and preserve the natural heritage of our planet.

Moreso, environmental sustainability must be at the forefront of our engineering endeavors. The degradation of our ecosystems, the depletion of natural resources and looming threat of climate change are stark reminders of the urgent need for sustainable development. We must adopt a circular economic approach where resources are used efficiently, waste is minimized and ecosystems are regenerated. From renewable energy systems to green infrastructure our engineering solutions must prioritize environmental sustainability at every stage of the project lifecycle.

Globally engineers contribute to their nation’s development with designs, constructions and manufacturing. In Nigeria, engineering practice has gone through several evolutions.

During the early years after independence, very few indigenous engineers were involved flagship projects, even as staff engineers. Today, following deliberate national policies (e.g. local content) significant number of Nigerian engineers are involved in national flagship engineering projects. Some are involved as engineering entrepreneurs. I want young engineers here to know that there are opportunities out there for you to add to our national development.

However, achieving national development and environmental sustainability through

engineering practice is not without its challenges. We must confront the entrenched interests that prioritize short term gains over long -term sustainability. We must overcome the inertia of outdated policies and practices that perpetuate environmental degradation and social inequity. We must bridge the gap between developed and developing nations ensuring that all countries have access to the knowledge, technology and resources

needed to pursue sustainable development. In closing, let us remember that engineering has the power to shape the future of nations and the fate of our planet. By embracing a holistic approach to development and prioritizing environment sustainability in our engineering practice. we can build a world that is prosperous, equitable and resilient for generations to come. Together, let us harness the transformative power of engineering to create a brighter, more sustainable future for all

Thank you!

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