The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Monday in Lagos called for manpower development to address the skill gap in engineering practice to achieve rapid national growth.
Aregbesola made the call during flag-off of the Rauf Aregbesola Engineering Resource Centre being constructed by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) to address skill gap in young engineers.
Aregbesola, a fellow of the NSE, was represented by Mr Kolawole Omotunde-Young, a former Commissioner for Education in Osun.
According to the minister, every aspect of life has bearing on engineering.
He cited health, telecommunications, transportation, aviation, power, housing as examples of some sectors propelled by engineering.
The minister said that though engineering was important for positive growth and development, some criminal minds turned it into negative avenues for destruction.
He said that he had been in partnership with the Ikeja Branch of NSE for over 21 years, and thanked them for the honour to name the edifice, meant to bridge the skill gap in engineering, after him.
“Practically, everything that has to with man has a touch of engineering.
“We lament our lack of development and stunted growth in comparative terms, but to think that most of what is now Nigeria, especially our big cities, used to be thick jungles, is humbling.
“It will surely get better. Engineers, just keep at it. It is my sincere hope that our world will be made better by engineering,” he said.
The minister said that the resource centre would be a modest contribution of the Ikeja Branch to that dream.
“I urge everyone to contribute in one way or the other to its erection.
“I must sincerely thank the association, particularly the chairperson of the branch, for her dedication and zeal toward the realisation of this goal.
“My special thanks go to everyone that supported my nomination and have pledged to contribute cash, materials, knowledge and any resource in kind,” he said.
Mohammed said that Nigeria had vast intelligent human reaources but had no adequate practical engineering training institutions to harness their innovative potential.
He said that Nigerians were leading in innovations in various countries and had become distinguished rallying points for excellence because they had the right atmosphere to unleash their potential.
He commended the flag-off of the construction.
Muhammed pledged support for the growth of engineering in Nigeria.
“In the last 30 or 35 years, we have noticed a wide gap between industry and the academia.
“There is a wide gap in the cadre of young engineers and technicians.
“I can tell you on authority that most construction work contractors go to neighbouring countries to bring in artisans to complement our efforts.
“This engineering centre will train younger ones and will be able to monitor artisans,” he said.
She thanked Aregbesola for his passion for the project that started in 2019.
“We have identified that there is need for skill acquisition by young engineers, there is a need to put solutions to problems and challenges in the nation at large.
“We have been waiting since 2001 to have a resource centre that we will use as a training place for young engineers.
“We identified that in the tertiary institutions right now, a lot of students cannot identity the practical things in engineering; hence, the need to begin to bridge the gap between classroom and the industry.
“Engineering is not book, engineering is the practicals, engineering is the construction, production, fabrication, design, maintenance,” Akingbagbohun said.
She said that schemes created by government were going into extinction, making Ikeja NSE to take the step to ensure local engineering capacity development at the resource centre.
“Every nation that wants to develop or grow and wants to identify with development requires services of engineers that are capable,” she said.
She said young engineers were being used for every stage of construction – from design stage through construction.
She added that all arms of engineering would be trained at the centre.
A former Chairman of the Ikeja NSE, Mr Ayo Fanimokun, who is the project supervisor, gave a brief of the project.
He said the desire to bridge the skill gap had been on since the inception of the Ikeja NSE in 1993.
He said that previous efforts to bridge the gap between theory and practical failed until Aregbesola stepped in to change the narrative with the support for construction of the engineering centre.
According to him, the centre is a four-storey building with the second floor dedicated to training while other floors would house the library, fabrication and information and communication technology sections.
Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)https://nnn.ng/aregbesola-flags-off-construction-of-engineering-training-centre-decries-skill-gap/
Edo poll: New dawn, end of ‘godfatherism’ in Nigeria politics – Atiku
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated Gov. Godwin Obaseki on his reelection, describing his victory in at the Edo governorship election as end of ‘godfatherism’ in Nigeria politics.
Abubakar in a statement he issued in Abuja on Sunday said that the election marked a new dawn in Edo.
“There is a new wind of democratic change now blowing all over Nigeria. The forces of despotism, nepotism, and interlopers cannot successfully withstand this force.
“Nigeria shall soon be totally free from these forces.
“The only power that will stand in Nigeria is people power, not the power of godfathers or despots,” he said.
He added that the hard won victory of Obaseki was not just a victory, but a declaration of independence from the anti democratic forces.
“No victory can be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the governor and the good people of Edo for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.
“Edo has a rich history as the centre of black civilisation, and to this, she is adding a new history as the bastion of Nigerian democracy.
“This double whammy of ancient and modern glories is a testament to a people who have, for centuries, set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent,” he said.
Abubakar congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the people of Edo and their government, in good and bad times.
He said that the PDP had shown that it was not fair weather friends to the good people of Edo.
Abubakar said: “In good times, we will walk beside you. In bad times, we will be your true ‘comrade’. We will never be a turncoat.
“We will never abandon the principles we once espoused, so we can dine with our nemesis. Democracy has no nemesis. And this, the PDP has again proved,” he said.
Abubakar commended the Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Ewuare II, for the fatherly role he played as a neutral catalyst for peace in the election.
He said that the Saturday election was largely free from violence, a testament of the long and effective shadow he casts over his domain.
The former vice president said he looked forward to the continuation of four more years of tangible development, and people-centred leadership from Obaseki.
“From personal experience, I know Obaseki to be a magnanimous man, and I urge Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to accept the right hand of fellowship that is likely to be extended to him,” he said.
Abubakar also advised Ize-Iyamu to return to PDP saying, “I remind him that no matter how far one has gone on a wrong road, it is never too late to turn back and head in the right direction. The PDP is the right direction.”
Abubakar advised the people of Ondo State to demonstrate what the people of Edo had done in the forthcoming election.
“To the good people of Ondo state, my message to you is that freedom from the oppressive grasp of godfathers and external forces that seek to dominate your will, and eviscerate your treasury, is possible.
“Edo has done it. You can do it too!,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/DonaldUgwu
COVID-19: Africa needs urgent trade finance boost, says report
Africa needs urgent financing to re-energise its trade in the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a joint report has stated.
This is according to the latest trade finance report, jointly released by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), on Sunday.
The report, titled: “Trade Finance in Africa: Trends Over the Past Decade and Opportunities Ahead”, built on two previous studies released in 2014 and 2017.
It was also based on a survey of over 600 unique commercial banks in 49 countries across Africa for 2011 to 2019.
The report established a benchmark for trade finances in Africa before the COVID-19 crisis and recommended policy responses to the industry in the wake of the pandemic.
According to the report, only 40 per cent of Africa’s trade is bank-intermediated (goes through the formal banking system), which is a far lower share than the global average of 80 per cent.
The trade finance gap was also stated to have remained unacceptably high at 81 billion dollars in 2019.
The report found that these were some of the structural challenges that hindered banks’ abilities to effectively intermediate Africa’s trade with the world.
It also highlighted the critical role of development finance institutions in supporting the industry.
The study also found that unintended regulatory bottlenecks were one of the key constraints driving these patterns.
“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need for financing to re-energise the region’s trade is urgent.
“The good news is that Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including the African Development Bank, are playing a more active role in supporting the trade finance industry in Africa,” the report said.
According to the report, more than half of banks engaged in trade finance activities between 2015 and 2019 received support from DFIs to expand their transactions.
Yet, DFI support was skewed toward particular sub-regions and financial intermediaries, mainly foreign-owned private banks.
The report made recommendations to boost trade finance supply in Africa.
The recommendations included, raising awareness about the impact of strict regulatory requirements on sector intermediaries and addressing geographical and institutional differences in DFI support to the sector.
Stefan Nalletamby, AfDB’s Director of the Financial Sector Development Department, noted that the report series had become the main reference document for the industry on the continent.
“It reflects the Bank’s increasing thought leadership role on this important subject.
“We hope that the findings of this report will motivate policymakers and industry experts to devise and implement strategies in fragile states and low income countries to make trade finance more accessible to African traders, especially SMEs in fragile states and low income countries,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Buhari mourns Emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and grief over the death of the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said Buhari condoled with the government and people of Kaduna State over the demise of the traditional ruler.
In a condolence message to Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, the government and people of Kaduna State, the president said:
“With the passing of Alhaji Shehu Idris, Nigeria has lost one of its longest reigning traditional monarchs whose contributions to the promotion of unity and peaceful coexistence among Nigerians cannot be forgotten for years to come.
”The Emir of Zazzau, who ascended to the throne in 1975, had used his long reign to serve his people with dedication and identified with their aspirations at all times.”
He prayed to Allah to forgive the late Emir and grant his family and subjects the fortitude to bear the loss.
The Emir died at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna in the early hours of Sunday at the age of 84.
Shehu Idris was coronated the Emir of Zazzau on Feb. 15, 1975, and ruled Zazzau emirate for 45 years, before his death.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Edo governorship election a huge relief, says Ekweremadu
Former Deputy President of the Senate Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, has congratulated Goverror of Edo, Godwin Obaseki, on his re-election, describing the just concluded election as “a huge relief”.
Ekweremadu, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Campaign Council for Edo, said this in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr Uche Anichukwu, on Sunday.
The Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, declared Obaseki as winner and returned elected after collation of results in Benin.
Obaseki polled a total of 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival and the All Progressives Congress (APC), candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu who scored 223,619.
Ekweremadu commended the people of Edo, INEC and the security agencies for “rising to the occasion”, given what he described as the “dwindling fortunes of the nation’s electoral process in recent years”.
The senator, who was in Edo to monitor the election, added that the Edo polls had proved, once again, that no man could effectively play God.
He said: “I join other well meaning Nigerians to congratulate Obaseki and the PDP on this well-deserved victory.
“While our electoral processes still leave much to be desired, I must say that compared to recent elections, the Edo governorship poll has renewed the hope that we can get our elections right.
“This is given the conduct of the electorate, INEC, security agencies, and most of other stakeholders, which ensured a peaceful process, an outcome that reflected the will of the people.
“For emphasis, the Edo 2020 election showcased the beauty of democracy; the supremacy of the people’s will over the whims and caprices of any single man or woman, be it a godfather or godmother.
“And if there is a moral lesson to be learnt, it is also that no man can successfully play God, for God will always put men in their place,” he said.
Ekweremadu urged Gov. Obaseki to see his popular mandate as both an approval of his stewardship in the last four years and a call to lead Edoland on the path of greater peace, prosperity, and an all-round development.
Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Donald Ugwu