INAUGURAL SPEECH BY THE 9TH PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL WOMEN ENGINEERS OF NIGERIA,ENGR.VALERIE IFUEKO AGBERAGBA,MNSE ON THE 23RD FEBRUARY 2006,AT THE ABUJA SHERATON HOTELS AND TOWERS.
I am indeed privilege to address a gathering of distinguished guests and engineers at this investiture ceremony.
Today marks the official beginning of my tenure as the 9th president of association of professional women engineers of Nigeria (APWEN.)
I, therefore, seize this opportunity to thank all the intelligent women engineers from different background and states for electing me as president –in-waiting amongst others at the Annual General meeting held in lbadan in 2003.
APWEN has come a long way. The mission of the association as captured in its aims and objectives is as follows:
• To stimulate women to achieve professional excellence as engineers and leaders;
• To expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life;
• To generate enough awareness that engineering is a career for girls too and improves on the numerical strength of female engineers in Nigeria.
We have made significant progress in the fulfilment of this mandate. Our past presidents have laid a foundation for their successors to build upon. Our continuing obligation is to face the challenges that our objectives pose. I must at this point, thank the immediate past president, Engr.patricia Nekpen Ihenacho for getting a permanent secretariat for the association.
In the next two years, Our vision will be to see APWEN as a pivot where women engineers can anchor and draw, share and disseminate knowledge. We will encourage them to strive for excellence in professional service delivery. We will also continue to inspire and encourage girls and women from different background to consider engineering as a rewarding and meaningful career.
The training of the girl-child has been a cardinal programme and we will sustain this. We will also organise programme aimed at increasing the awareness and knowledge of science and engineering amongst children. In this regard, our programmes for the girl-child will include the following;
KNOWNING ORE ABOUT ENGINEERING
The programme intends to encourage young people to think and see engineering and science in terms of its vital role of improving the quality of life. It will be organise for children from senior primary grade to the junior secondary level. APWEN has always concentrated on secondary school student ,but from survey and result of junior schools in science, we believed that children in senior primary school should also be targeted as it is the formative years and most of them know very little about engineering and the positive impact it has on our everyday life.
SEMINARS/WORKSHOPS ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND MATHEMATICS EDUCATION (STME)
This programme aims at helping students realize that science and engineering can be very interesting and simple to understand .The importance of science and technology in national development cannot be overemphasized hence the need to create the awareness in our children in the formative stage .we have already discussed with some state.
PRIZE GIVING/SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
The scholarship award by our founding president, NSE president, and some other members of APWEN will be resuscitated. We will encourage every chapter of APWEN to emulate Abuja chapter by introducing prize giving to the best female science students in the junior and secondary certificate examination in their states. Scholarship will be given to outstanding female students to read Engineering.
Similarly, we call on the stakeholders of engineering to help in revamping our ailing facilities in secondary school laboratories.
APWEN will work with the Education Ministry and the
Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), to organize a stakeholders meeting to map out our strategies for the way forward.
More impetus will be given to training and retaining. Seminars and workshop on issues of national development will be considered.
Importantly, we would like the existing curriculum in our universities to be looked into as it is being challenged by modern trends in engineering.
In his inauguration speech on 14th January 2006, our president, Engr.Emeka Ezeh stressed the need for engineers to have our code of ethics displayed in our various offices and ensuring that engineers abide by the code of ethics. Sir, we would request that we go beyond this and insist that the code of ethics by COREN and NSE be taught in our universities. This I believe will in still discipline in the younger professionals.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
Awards and recognition will be given to female engineers who excel in their field practical.the different categories to be considered would be made public in due course.
It is proper in an occasion like this to acknowledge the contribution of those who have impacted positively on one’s life.
My thanks to all my friends with whom I have interacted in the course of my service to the Nigerian Society of Engineers and APWEN. In particular, the NSE deputy President, Engr.K.A. Ali, FNSE, Engr.U.G. Jibrin, Engr.Z.A. Momoh and Engr.F.N.Nwankwo.
Engr. Ebele Okeke, FNSE, your exposing me early to leadership and great support is highly appreciated.
My big boss and the Executive Secretary of FCDA, Engr.M.S. Alhassan, FNSE. has always been ready with his support.
Engr. Nkechi Isigwe Chairperson of the Investiture Committee ,APWEN Abuja and all other members of the committee, I acknowledge your sacrifices
To our Silver president, Engr. Emeka Muoma Ezeh, you have always been there for APWEN. I say thank you sir.
My husband, Hyacinths, and our children, for accommodating APWEN and all her demands, your support and understanding have been wonderful. My siblings –they are the best anyone could ever been blessed with.
To all our sponsors, for believing in APWEN and supporting us so well. My parents made my education possible. Yes they are served last that whom we love best. God wants us to feel his presence; hence He created mothers I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother for her sacrifice and devotion to the cause of her children.
Adapting Shakespeare, I’d say: ‘More is thy due than more than all can pay’. And to our God, who make all things beautiful in his own time be all the glory and honour for making this day a reality.
With deep sense of humility, I acknowledge the challenges that APWEN has given me by electing me as president and other members of my executive council. Inspired by the effort of my predecessors, the demands of national development, I hereby pledge on behalf of the executive council members to do our best and justify the confidence hereby reposed on us.
Distinguished Guests, Engineers, and all other invited guests, I thank you for your attention.