On Thursday, June 7, 2018, the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE)
, Engr. Adekunle Mokuolu, FNSE, paid a working visit to the Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) at the Head Office complex on 10th Street, Cadastral Zone, Central Business District, Abuja. The visit was part of the regular advocacy forays of the NSE to Engineering Agencies and organisations in the course of furthering the development of the profession in Nigeria and the fortunes of the practitioners, i.e. NSE Members, in those organisations.
During the meeting, the NSE President congratulated Engr. Prof James Momoh, FNSE, on his appointment as Chairman of NERC. He noted that the appointment was well deserved as he has been at the vanguard of advocacy for regulation of the electricity value chain in Nigeria for many years. He recalled how the Prof. has contributed immensely to the development of NSE, attending NSE conferences, serving as Resource Lecturer and delivering pungent intellectual papers, sometimes, pro bono.
Engr. Mokuolu noted that having three slots out of the seven (7) members of the commission in the persons of Engr. Prof Momoh as Chairman, Engr. Sanusi Garba as Vice Chairman and Engr. Frank Okafor as Commissioner, is a big advantage for the Engineering body in Nigeria. He said: “for the first time in NERC, we have round pegs in round holes”. He pledged NSE’s full support to help the management of NERC to succeed.
The President expressed the strong desire and need for a Masterplan for development of Power in Nigeria, with a Development Control Unit to complement it. He also called for NERC’s support for the Presidential Executive Order 5 in order to ensure effective implementation of the President and C-in-C’s directives, as contained in the Order, in the electricity value chain. He cited examples of recent adverts for contracts in the industry which substantially excluded Nigerian professionals.
He went on to announce the recent launch of NSE international Branches in Houston, USA and London, UK, a move he said was to expand the influence of NSE beyond national borders. Finally, he solicited NERC’s support for NSE’s intervention in the rural areas through the Community Engineering Programme of his administration.
In his response, the NERC Chairman declared that he was proud to be an Engineer and a member of NSE. He expanded the President’s earlier analogy of the history of his relationship with NSE which has spanned decades and earned him the award of Fellow and other merit awards. While promising support for NSE to the extent that the influence of his office would allow, he suggested areas where a joint venture between NERC and NSE could work for the benefit of Nigerians, especially in lighting up local communities.
Prof. Momoh applauded NSE leadership for the initiative in inaugurating International Branches. He however advised that NSE should further reach out to other parallel bodies of Engineering practitioners already existing in those countries for collaborations and possible merging. On Executive Order 5 and Nigerian Content Development, Prof. Momoh opined that the only way Nigerian Engineers can make a statement is to undertake a major flagship project. He said:
“On local content, my thinking is that if we do not have a flagship project, people will still be doubting us. Yes, you are already thinking about building a road inside the federal housing scheme, as you announced. Go ahead and build that. But we must also be thinking of something very big that will bring together Engineers from the industry, academia and the diaspora, promoted by NSE. We need a symbolic monument, designed and built by us; an iconic image that will have the signatures of all disciplines of Engineering – Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, etc. Let’s just have something to define the originality of Nigerian Engineers”.
He suggested that when such project commences, government agencies and private business organisations and industries will be easily convinced to put up a percentage of fund towards achieving what can be rightfully called an iconic Nigerian engineering project.
He also advised that for the standard of Engineering Education to be improved, NSE should intervene by influencing the engineering curriculum in tertiary institutions, urging NSE to engage with regulatory bodies in the education sector in order to get involved in regular review of the curriculum.
While the NSE President had members of the NSE National Executive Committee on his delegation, Engr. Prof. Frank Nwoye Okafor, FNSE, FAEng, Commissioner for Engineering Performance & Monitoring, Engr. Abdu Bello Mohammed, MNSE, General Manager, Engineering Performance & Monitoring as well as other senior management staff of NERC were present at the meeting.