Nigeria is at cross road, says Engineer Dideolu Falobi

Engr Dideolu Falobi is a reputable Nigerian Engineer, who has become a household in the noble profession across the globe, following his competence and number of feats recorded. He is the Managing Director of a renowned Engineering Company, Kresta Laurel with specialization in elevators constructions and maintenance worldwide.

Penpushing engaged Falobi , a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and  the President of the University of Lagos Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association in an exclusive interview where he bares his mind on number of issues relating to the profession and oothers. Enjoy the heart to heart interview

Q: Your name, profession and status

A: I am Engr. Dideolu Falobi, a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. I have been the President of the University of Lagos Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association(UNILAGFEAA) since February 28, 2020.

Q: When was UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association founded and what informed its establishment

A: The Association was founded in 2017 as a veritable tool for supporting the Faculty in meeting its needs, and as a means engendering mutually beneficial relationship among the alumni of the faculty as well as between the Alumni and the faculty.

Q: What is the strength of your membership and criteria for membership

A: The strength should be in excess of 6,000 members but the number of registered members is still less than 500 which is growing

Q: When did you become the President of the association and what informed your interest to lead the body.

A: I became the President in February 2020 and then, I offered to lead out of interest in giving back to the faculty that nurtured and more or less made me. Also, I felt the need to work with others to bring about the needed growth of the Association. An offer to serve basically.

Q: Why do you consider engineering as one of the best if not the best profession?

A: Engineering is development and whatever you see as development today has to do with engineering. No profession can do without engineering.

Q: What positive role(s) do you think engineering profession can play in fighting the ravaging  coronavirus which has now become threat to the world.

A: Well, the basic concepts of every engineering process  involves input, process, output and feedback. The application of these concepts will help in understanding and dealing with the pandemic. What are the inputs that make the disease thrive? What are changes we can make to those inputs in order to get the desired output which should be the eradication of the disease? In addition, equipment for monitoring and ensuring early detection of the diseases are being designed and deployed now. That is engineering. Equipment for doing sanitisation of human beings are being deployed. I can go on and on

Q: As President of the association, what are your plans for the future of engineering profession, and where do you intend to take the association to.

A: For the profession, the association has been contributing to the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the training of engineers in and out of school by improving on existing infrastructure, upgrading the laboratories and so on. There are various projects that the association and its members have been able to facilitate in the faculty which will aid the study of engineering. In addition, we have held public lectures that have added to the body of knowledge in the engineering profession in particular and globally in general. We have also trained the students on skills outside engineering which will be found useful by them on graduation.

For the association, I hope the Executive Committee under my leadership will be able to increase the membership of the association quickly. We also intend to create opportunities and networking avenues tor members so that membership of the association and their contributions can also benefit from the collective goodwill within the association.

Q: What will you like to be remembered for in the engineering profession?

A: I hope that I will be remembered for the values that I have added to the training of engineers, the enhancement of the ability of engineers to the society and deployment of engineering principles to the resolution of societal challenges wherever I find myself.

Q:   And why has the association considered annual lecture, and for what purposes

A: Like I said before, the annual lectures are means of disseminating information on topics considered germane to the society in general.

Q: The association is also preparing for another round of public lecture which is the 4th with the theme’ Nigeria Gas Potentials, Existing and Emerging Opportunities for Engineers and Investors’, Can you shed light on this choice of topic.

A: Nigeria is at the cross roads in terms of available resources and their value chain. The balance of trade between us and our trading partners are not in our favour. Our traditional Forex earners are getting depleted or are not as lucrative anymore. All this are against the background of the fact that we have the ninth largest deposit of natural gas in the world. According to WorldOdometer, “Nigeria holds 187 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves as of 2017, ranking 9th in the world and accounting for about 3% of the world’s total natural gas reserves of 6,923 Tcf. Nigeria has proven reserves equivalent to 306.3 times its annual consumption.”. Yet we have not scratched the surface in terms of investment and exploration of our gas deposits. A well engineered exploitation will change our fortunes as a nation radically. The lecture is meant to generate interest in gas potentials and motivate Nigerian engineers and investors into taking a second, even a third look at the gas industry with a view to taking advantage of the opportunities across the value chain. The guest speaker is a seasoned mechanical engineer, an alumnus of the University of Lagos Faculty of Engineering who has had an uninterrupted 33 years experience in the oil and gas industry. He has also had the unique opportunity of working with and on some of the best oil and gas production and service companies worldwide.

Q: Let us look at engineering in relating to economic and security challenges in Nigeria, what are negative and positive effects on the profession, and proffering solution

A: The economic and security challenges have impacted on all professions negatively in numerous ways. However every challenge can be converted to opportunities and this is the best time for engineers to roll up their sleeves and look at how engineering solutions can be deployed towards solving those problems. Some of them could be in the areas of intelligence gathering using AI solutions. Our ATMs manufacturing industry should also grow now. Drones, unmanned aircrafts, remote arms and explosive monitoring equipment and so on are some of the items that we should seek to develop local capacity for its manufacturing now. Ditto military vehicles.

However, the best way to fight economic and insecurity challenges is to provide gainful employment. Manufacturing and Construction are some of the sectors that employ massively and the government should take a second look at encouraging and supporting these sectors across the country. Finally, the deploy of the principles of engineering processes alluded to earlier will enhance the improvement in our economic situation and elimination of security challenges.

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