INAUGURAL SPEECH OF THE 12TH PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF PRIOFESSIONAL WOMEN ENGINEERS OF NIGERIA ( APWEN), ENGR. OLAYINKA AYOYEMI ABDUL, MNSE ON THE 1ST OF MARCH 2012, AT SHERATON HOTELS AND TOWERS, ABUJA.
All protocols duly observed
Today marks yet another journey in the life of our great Association – Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN). I am delighted to be installed today as the 12th President of this prestigious and noble association. Though l formally assumed office on the 1st of January, 2012 today symbolises the beginning of my tenure. Hence, it is my privilege to address guests at this epoch-making ceremony.
With all sincerity of purpose and intent I humbly accept this honor bestowed on me today. I will serve and by the special grace of God, l will do my utmost best, to keep the APWEN’s dream alive and take the association to a greater level. I have no doubt in my mind that the challenges are enormous but not insurmountable, in view of, the global financial crisis and its attendant consequence in world economies. The situation is such that all right thinking individuals, corporate organisations, and governments must factor the prevailing economic and financial situation into their work plan. God is our strength.
I appreciate and thank all the worthy, estimable women engineers from various chapters of APWEN who elected me as Vice President(President –in waiting) at a keenly contested election at our Annual General Meeting in Abuja in 2009.
The outgoing President Engr (Mrs) Inibong Louisa Usoro and her Executive have done marvelously well and have kept the hopes and the dreams of our founding leaders very much alive and glowing. The outgoing team deserves a huge round of applause for their work. I am proud to have been a member of the former executive. The mandate of this new executive is to ensure that the dreams are taken to the next level!
I must commend the various APWEN chapters who have worked tirelessly in areas of professional development, both in our program in house and in various international engagements.
APWEN, it may interest you to know was established in 1982 as a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). APWEN is a non-governmental organisation with a direct mission of stimulating women engineers by providing a veritable platform for sorority and arousing an appetite for excellence in engineering profession, mostly among women in Nigeria.
I recall my first contact with APWEN, back then in Reid Crowther International- a Canadian consulting firm. It was in 1996, during the leadership of Engr Idiat Amusu FNSE, l attended a Business Luncheon organized by APWEN and was fascinated with what l saw and without prompting l joined APWEN and it has been a worthwhile experience. I also joined out of personal conviction that APWEN will help many women out of their shell and doldrums of queried self-esteem in a male dominated field. I am glad to state here that I made the right decision. The association through the years has propelled many women to come out of their confines and harness their God given potentials. Through her numerous activities, we have brought visibility to women engineers in the country. Today many hesitant female engineers are coming out boldly to identify with APWEN. This has resulted in increase in female enrolment in engineering studies in the tertiary institutions, the young girls have mentors and role models worthy to emulate.
My mission includes: Identification of critical need areas such as link between the ‘gown’ and the industry, and to propose and actualize ways of bridging the gaps identified.
Training and retraining of practicing Nigerian female engineers, and encouraging them to venture into engineering enterprise.
Propel the advancement of engineering practice among female folk in particular and engineering in general- by adopting a technical problem solving approach and other scientific empiricism targeted at dealing with all perceived acuteness.
I promise to build and sustain the foundation laid by APWEN as entwined with the dreams and aspiration of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
As female engineers, it is important for us to have a platform where our views can be articulated and coordinated for a well- informed decision. This is the pivotal part of the objectives of APWEN.
In conjunction with my lieutenants and support of all, the afore-mentioned simplified objectives shall be vigorously pursued under the acronym.
A – Affiliation
P – Promotion of Academic Values in Engineering
W – Welding academic values in engineering
E – Education, research and scholarship.
N – Networking
We shall continue in our drive to affiliate with other professional bodies around the world to help our women in having stronger professional training and network.
Promotion of Academic Values in Engineering
We have carried out surveys and discovered to our amazement that our academic curriculum in tertiary schools needs serious and urgent attention, if our goal of encouraging young engineering graduates particularly amongst the female in engineering education is going to be realized. To achieve this we will push for a restructuring of the school curriculum; sponsor academic research that translates into environmental and technological growth consequently boosting our economy, APWEN will help to revamp antiquated/non -existent laboratories. We intend to collaborate with organisations, individuals and agencies (UNESCO and the World Bank) in equipping some senior secondary schools and tertiary institutions with basic equipment for the qualitative learning of science and engineering.
We shall strive to build an enduring synergy between schools (secondary and tertiary institutions) and the professional world by working closely with educational regulatory authorities at local, state and federal levels so that this laudable objective could be fast tracked.
Education, Research and Scholarship
During my tenure, we will use our exposures, international affiliations, academic prowess and professional experiences to further strengthen the members and the growing interest among the girl child in the study of engineering profession. The increase in enrollment today is encouraging, APWEN shall improve by sponsoring educative debate in schools, procuring essential equipment in schools for the purpose of assisting the schools to drive our aims and aspiration among female students, other activities such as career talk in schools and rallies for awareness and sensitization will also be sustained. We will also work closely with the print and electronic media on our programs.
We intend to give priority to the girl child and promote the study of science education which leads to the choice of engineering as a career. We hope to collaborate with organisations to sponsor research and research-based programs among female researchers in our tertiary institutions and further extend our scholarship grant to junior secondary schools through our upcoming foundation in honor of our founding and senior members.
The association will reinforce its push and drive for affiliation with companies and government parastatals as part of our strategy. We hope to achieve this through courtesy visits, formal proposals which will address present day engineering issue and other formal compliments. Membership drive will also be strengthened.
Our networking programmes will be extended and strengthened. We will build robust and congenial relationship between our association and other well- meaning organizations, private bodies, educations and research institutes and well-meaning international organizations. Recently, our networking has paid off with the signing of our MOU with Society of Women Engineers, USA and of note is our very strong link with International Network of Women Engineers and Scientist (INWES) for the past 17years. We intend to continue more passionately with our network policy.
We shall utilize these links fully for the improvement of our female engineers and the girl child. State chapters’ activities will also be encouraged to give us a more dynamic and positive edge in our quest for professional excellence.
Above all, we shall pursue a course that will take the association to the next level, making sure that our members are encouraged and excel in their different professional practices and taking pride in belonging to this association while prospective members also derive gains by joining APWEN.
APWEN at 30
APWEN is 30 this year and this age signifies maturity in life, we have decided to work more compellingly to achieving our aims.
Firstly, we plan to institute our board of trustees, the modality is ongoing.
Secondly, our observation is that, there is a disconnect between the experience in the industries and what is currently been taught in schools. To bridge the gap and thus prepare the student for real life work experience, we will volunteer ourselves to practically teach some of the science oriented courses in some selected schools and tutorial centres across geo political zones. This is a way of bridging the gap between the industries and professional associations, like ours.
Thirdly, we will come up with a detailed review of directory of women engineers, to include graduate and student members. Furthermore, APWEN will continue with her traditional mentoring programs and take –a girl child to work.
Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)
APWEN has been enjoining a warm and cordial relationship with NSE; our members had held various top ranking positions in the executive of the NSE. APWEN has collaborated with NSE to achieve its set aims and objectives, for all this and many more, l want to specially thank all the Past Presidents who have given support to APWEN in one form or the other.
To our brand new President and commander- in- chief of Nigerian Engineers, my friend and brother, Engr Mustafa Balarabe Shehu FNSE the chairman of this event, please accepts our appreciation for your time and support in gracing this occasion.
Appreciation and Gratitude
The support I have enjoyed from professional colleagues has been awesome at this time of my life. My sincere gratitude goes to you all.
I appreciate my family members here present, thank you for your continuous support, counsel and for simply, accepting me- Olayinka, as who l am. I cherish the love and affection we have all shared.
To my friends, I am also extremely grateful. For those who were unable to grace this occasion, your prayers and support is appreciated.
Time will fail me to start mentioning names of those who have taken time out to be here. But everyone here stands for something in my life and, seeing you gives me a reflection of hope because it means you are here in one way or another to support me and APWEN.
At this point, let me acknowledge Engr (Olori) Bukky Osiberu FNSE, for accepting my invitation at a very short notice to be our guest speaker, you made us proud with your excellent and well researched paper. To the special guest of Honor, Mr Taofeek Abiodun Oki, MD, Lagos State Development Property Corporation, my mentor and boss-your presence is an honor- thank you for being there for me and APWEN, l look forward to a stronger and more mutually beneficial relationship between APWEN and LSDPC. APWEN looks forward to your continuous generous support.
To all our individuals, corporate sponsors and development partners, especially our long standing ally, SNEPCO, you have given us a platform and reason to continually perform through your funding support to our various programs, thank you and may you continue to grow and be strengthened.
Our thanks will be incomplete without mentioning the menfolk i.e. the husbands. A successful woman must have an understanding husband and this is an occasion to let our husbands know that we appreciate them.
Our programs demand quite a number of things which are all listed for your view. I pray you all to liaise with us, in doing so, be assured that your donations will be duly acknowledged and put to good use with integrity and sincerity of purpose.
Female engineers, through APWEN programs have the innate capability for expanding the frontiers of engineering profession among the girl child in Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world if encouraged and supported, among whom your child, your wife, your parent or a friend.
Supporting APWEN is a support to the female folk, come to our aid and you will be building a better nation.
God bless APWEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
God bless NSE!!!
GOD bless Nigeria!!