Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Retd) on Thursday stressed the need for government and other stakeholders to accord more recognition to indigenous engineers in the execution of projects.
Rear Admiral John Jonah laid the emphasis when a delegation of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers led by its National Chairman, Engr Robinson Ejilah paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Deputy Governor who expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of dependence on expatriates, noted that it would be difficult for Nigeria to make any appreciable progress in sustainable national development if local production is not encouraged.
He urged the Federal Government to revisit the Vision 2020 National Development Policy Document with a view to promoting the use of Nigerian engineers in fixing needs in the power, construction and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
Rear Admiral John Jonah who also called on engineers to actively participate in national politics, enjoined them to be bold in pursuing issues that border on the development of their profession.
While expressing confidence in the ability of Nigerian engineers to compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world under normal circumstances, the Bayelsa Deputy Governor also stressed the need for them to update their competence through continuous training.
Rear Admiral John Jonah noted with delight the Institution’s choice of Bayelsa for its annual conference, assuring that the state government would communicate its role to the leadership in due course of time.
His words, “Bayelsa needs this kind of gathering more than others. It is a young state that is in a hurry to develop. Our infrastructure is still rudimentary but the governor has done so much to lay the necessary foundation from where we can build up.
“Engineering is a complex and respected profession. But in our Country, I don’t think we have realized the value of our engineers. We do not know our capacity and the extent of possibilities within the country.
“There is quite a lot happening in this country that we need to study and take advantage of mechanical engineers who have a lot to contribute to power generation. The most vexing problem in this country, as most of us would identify, is the issue of energy, which I believe can be handled by our own engineers.
“I have said time and again that engineers can save this country because if we can produce a particular object at, for instance , the cost of N1. 2billion in-country.
And if the same object is produced outside the country at N1 billion, I argue that the one produced in Nigeria comparatively speaking is still cheaper because the N1billion you pay out will contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of another country.”
In his remarks,, the National President of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMECHE), Engr. Robinson Ejilah disclosed that Bayelsa was chosen as the host for the Institution’s 2019 Annual General Meeting and International Conference after serious deliberation.
According to Engr Ejilah, the hosting right is in recognition of the state’s enormous support and contributions to the development of mechanical engineering profession not only in the state but the country in general.
While soliciting the state government’s support, he said the the conference, which is slated for the second week of October, would be used to correct the wrong impression that the Bayelsa and the South-South zone were insecure and inhospitable for such events.
Engr Ejilah added that the Conference will also feature the conferment of the distinguished fellowship awards on distinguished personalities including the Deputy Governor.
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