By Kingsley Adegboye
Nigeria can only attain economic and industrial development like China and other developed countries when the Nigerian Government begins to involve indigenous engineers in running the country’s economy. Besides, the government must also kick out corruption in the system.
These views were canvassed by the immediate past president of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Prof Ayo Ogunye. Academy is the elite group in engineering profession in Nigeria comprising only fellows of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE.
The Academy faulted a statement credited to President Goodluck Jonathan that Nigeria could become like China which is the world’s second largest economy.
Speaking at the investiture of the 8th President of the Academy and induction of 13 new fellows, Prof Ogunye observed that while the development of China is driven by engineers, Nigerian engineers are relegated to the background in the scheme of things.
He regretted that there is only one engineer in the 25-member Advisory Committee for the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan set up President Jonathan.The committee is headed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Ogunye pointed out that if it were China, there would be more engineers in the committee than any other professionals.
Ogunye noted that Nigerian Academies are never consulted as think tank by the Federal government, unlike what obtains in China. He noted that with the exception of one of the five Academies that is partly funded by the government, the rest receive zero funding from it (government).
“The truth of the matter is that engineers are able to work out a long-term strategy for what is best, based on scientific rationale to analyse problems, evaluate means and alternatives, and formulate achievable goals. This has resulted to the growth in the economy of China at 10 per cent a year for two decades and the country now exports more in a day than it did in a year in 1976. In a desperate move to embark on economic transformation of China, the leadership of China intensified anti-corruption efforts going after both ‘tigers’ and ‘flies’ referring to high-ranking and low-level corrupt officials. Effective institutions were set up to deal with corruption that was rampant in its administration until the 60s. The deteriorating corruption among civil servants was curbed by sacking dozens of high-ranking officials for corruptions over the past years which not only showed the anti-graft resolve but also a grave situation. Between January 2008 and August 2013, prosecuting agencies handled over 151,000 cases of corruption and bribery involving more than 198,000 people.