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The Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Akure Chapter has assured members of the Association in the State that the body upon the wake of a new leadership structure is poised to building more on the achievements of past administrations of the Association
Engr. Ezekiel Oluwatuyi Oloruntola MNSE is regarded as one of the finest brains in the Engineering family in the State, a true first amongst equals was elected and sworn in as the 21st chairman of the Association. The New Chairman is who passionate about using the Profession as a viable tools for bringing into reality amazing innovations which will go a long way in reshaping the nation outlook.
In an interview with newsmen in Akure, he takes us through some of his life history and plans for his new elated office as the Chairman of the Association for the next two years
Who is Engineer Ezekiel Oluwatuyi Oloruntola?
Engineer Ezekiel Oluwatuyi Oloruntola is my name. I am native of Ise Ekiti in Ekiti State. I spent my early life in that area, where I had my primary and second education. I attended St. Mark Anglican primary school in Ise Ekiti 1972-1976, in 1976-1982 I had my secondary education in Ise-Emure Grammar school, Ekiti, where I graduated, I had my secondary school leaving Certificate. There and then I moved after my secondary school I just decided to fend for myself so I took up a job then at Federal Ministry of water resources Benin-Owena River Basin, I was interviewed and I was taken as the best candidate, they took me and gave me account clerk then, a clerical officer. My story is just like from messenger to manager. Because I spent my life with Benin-Owena River Basin before I left at after 35 years of service. That is my early life.
My teacher in secondary school, being one the best students, want me to immediately progress to my university education. But within me I knew challenges my family were facing then, I have four (4) other brothers that are already in one higher institution or the other. So I know my father was just moving from one casual work just to make ends meet. He’s not financially buoyant, so I decided to fend for myself which was why I took up that job as clerical officer in account department. But my flair for engineering actually started when I was in secondary school, I did all the science subjects. So I have been interested in innovations, just sitting down, think and come up with an innovative ideas. So when I found myself in an account department I thought I won’t discover myself there despite the fact that I earned more money. I didn’t allow that to becloud me. I opted out and went for engineering institution where I studied in the Polytechnic I went to Kaduna where I had my OND and HND between 1987 to 1993. I enjoyed and achieved all that while still working. During my holidays, I come back to office, when I have leave I go back to school. I had OND in water resources engineering and HND in civil engineering with option in water resources engineering then proceed to FUTA for my post-graduate in civil engineering with option water resources engineering.
While growing it was challenging, like I said, I came from an humble family so growing up with that kind of arrangement is quite challenging. Thank God today I can look back and say God is good.
How does it feel to be elected and inaugurated as the new Chairman of the Association?
I give glory to God for the privilege given to us to witness yet another smooth transition in the leadership of our great society in Ondo State .Permit me to quote from the words of my father in the Lord Dr D.K Olukoya, he says “Unless God promotes you, nobody can promote you, when you seek promotion from Man, you may end up being promoted out of relevance”.
Although there were disagreement, apprehension, tension and fear before the election, this is expected in any democratic settings. We give Glory to God for the peaceful conduct of the election. I appreciate the concern, prayers and intervention of our esteemed Elders and founding fathers who jealously guided our peaceful co-existence.
I appreciate all key players in the struggle, I am happy we have put the outcome of the election behind us and agreed to work together and continue to build on the Legacy of our founding fathers and leaders.
To whom much is given much is expected, I want to assure you that I will not disappoint you, God on my side I will give the much expected from me, and I will protect the vision of our founding fathers.
Your thoughts and evaluation of the Association’s programs
Our traditional programs will be rebranded and sustained, New program with more attention to membership welfare and professional development will be introduced.
Engr. Raymond Olushoga memorial lecture will be introduced as one of the new programmes. The program will be co-sponsored by the branch and the family of the late legend. Engr. Raymond Olusoga contributed immensely to the Engineering profession, he mentored many Engineers that have made remarkable achievements in Engineering. It is not out of place to immortalize this great man. Other new programs includes: achievers lecture, holiday coaching/summer classes for children of Engineers, Young Engineers development and founders day celebration.
With the support of my executive committee members, construction of our secretariats building will be vigorously persuaded. Other uncompleted works, fencing, gate house, gate installation, landscape will be completed. We will also embark on drilling of boreholes for water packaging.
What are your plans for the Association for the next two years
Thank you very much. During my inauguration, while giving my inauguration speech I actually mentioned that would build on the legacies of our founding fathers, that is our past leaders. They have done very well coming up with this formidable group from the scratch even when there was little funds. The plan is to consolidate on their achievements.
So some of them initiated the secretariat that we are using presently, We have a gigantic building that we are working on, it is an initiative of our past leaders, elders. They have not completed and it is one of the things we aimed and we are hoping that by the grace of God, God on our side this tenure is going to complete that project and commission it.
There are some other plans which we intend introducing, some of the plans we intend introducing are:
Sunshine Engineers co-operative multipurpose society will be introduced to enhance members savings and access to credit facilities, there will be regular visit to our elders, regular health walk and keep fit exercise to enhance members healthy living quarterly, sports programmes will be introduced, members will be encouraged to have relaxing moments, regular time out will be organized.
PATNERSHIP WITH GOVERNMENT AND INSTITUTIONS
Permit me to use this opportunity thank the government of Ondo state under the leadership of his excellency, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN for infrastructural development in the state and for appointing some of our members into key positions.
We shall seek to partner with the Government in our Engineering based initiative, your excellency, my team will undertake a survey of state and come up with position papers addressing issues bothering on infrastructure, fire service Agency and industrial development.
APWEN recently inaugurated a new set of Executives, what’s your assessment of the Association and is there any plans to synergize with them?
APWEN Akure Chapter is doing amazingly great, despite the fact that they’re one of the youngest APWEN Chapters in Nigeria, they have succeeded in building something extraordinaire
We actually encourage them and if they are coming up at this level with the rate at which they are growing, we are very happy to see them around. What we do before now, we go to secondary schools especially girls dominated schools, we encourage them that this noble profession is not meant for men alone, women will be doing well. We cited some examples, that one of our past vice president at the national Engineer Oguntala some of them are women, they have done well. When we site this examples, in fact there was a particular time we have woman as head of service in Ondo state, Engineer Okeke, if I can remember now, when you see the Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) growing up in Akure we are happy to see them, we have confidence in them, they have been doing well in their various establishments.
The current Chairman of that body is dynamic, quite energetic, hard-working woman, the person of Engr. Dorcas Akinwunmi, she works with the state ministry and she is doing well. When we have women doing well, we are happy but that does not mean they will overtake men
Do you fore-see any possible challenges?
I cannot deny the fact that we have quite a number of challenges militating against our effective functioning, and one of the major challenges that we have is that of funding. Considering the various economic challenges and realities, it is a bit hard to fund a body.
Another Challenge that we have has to do with the government creating an enabling ground for indigenous Engineers to thrive in Nigeria. Most people go about with the orientation that foreign expatriates are better than us and this is not so.
The President just signed an order recently that gives substantial percentage to indigenous engineers to practice in Nigeria. If you are an expatriate, in Nigeria today you have to register with COREN and all other professional bodies before you practice unlike before that you just bring them, those that went to technical colleges to come and take charge of projects that are meant for engineers. The quacks that have actually proliferate the profession is a challenge, and we will eliminate that by the grace of God.
What is your advice to aspiring Engineers in Nigeria?
My advice to them is that they shouldn’t look at the engineering as hard course to pursue while in school, no subject is irrelevant. Like mathematical theorems we do in school helps a lot in taking management decisions. Engineering is a profession that is so interesting, it makes you do what is coming from your brain, it makes you stands out from other professions. Engineering is innovative, it affords us to develop our community. So I want to advise them that they should see it as a profession and the sky is their limit