Engineers are technically skilled professionals who are responsible for solving problems. Their main focus is on making things work efficiently and effectively by applying the theories and principles of sciences and mathematics to research, and develop economic solutions to technical problems. The Engineer differs from the scientist by the nature of their training. While the scientists try to explore the natural world and discover new knowledge about the universe and how it works, engineers apply that knowledge to solve real problems, often with an eye toward improving cost and efficiency. The purpose of engineering is to innovate, design, create and maintain products, system and equipment for the benefit and wellbeing of humans. Their works are the link between the perceived social needs and economic applications. They are the bridge between science and art. Engineers are the backbone of nation building and the purpose of engineering is to innovate, design, create and maintain products, systems and equipment for the benefit and wellbeing of humans.
Collapse of buildings and structures under construction are no longer breaking news in Nigeria. One might be patriotic enough to ask, is a building under construction supposed to collapse if it was well designed and executed? When you look further, you might be tempted to extend the question a bit; Are we supposed to be witnessing power failures and other failures in a region blessed with abundant natural and human resources? Why are the products from Nigeria not competing in the international market? Who then has a solution to these challenges? The government? The citizens? When things fall apart according to Prof. Chinue Achebe, its center can no longer hold. If a country fails to realize the role of engineers in her nation building and the engineers are leaving for better opportunities abroad, then the country will continue to experience collapsed buildings and bridges, substandard products, failed roads, communication failures, environmental hazards, epileptic power supply to mention but the few as it is in Nigeria today.
Role of Engineers in Nation Building
Meanwhile, as nations in the world are undergoing reformation and the economy is getting more modernized, consumption patterns have expanded and demand is constantly on the increase. There is therefore a growing consciousness of quality control at every level of production. The engineers have to realize their responsibility and play an effective role in tackling today’s complex issues in the nation building. To build a nation is to make it habitable for the citizenry by providing social amenities, infrastructural facilities, job creation and security and many more; the engineers therefore have a serious role to play. Thus, they are duty bond to design products, machineries and plants to manufacture these products, and systems to ensure quality and efficiency. They are to design, plan and supervise construction of buildings, and ensure their safety and stability against hazards; design highways, bridges, railways and transit systems, dams, irrigation canals, power system, ports, harbors as well as off-shore structures.
Engineers should equally know that it is their duty to develop and implement improved ways to extract, process and use raw materials; develop new raw material that can improve product performance and take advantage of advances in technology to harness the power of the sun, the gas, the earth, atoms and electricity to supply the nation’s power needs; analyze the impact of the products they develop or systems they design on the environment and the people; design ways of managing the nation’s waste, converting or recycling them to useful products. Parts of their functions also include determining the cause of component failures, estimating the time and cost of completing new projects as well as maintaining the existing ones.
Some should move into engineering management and sales. In sales and management, an engineering background enables one to discuss the technical aspects of projects/products and assist in the planning, installation and product use. With such a vast and varied nature of their job, they are really the backbone of a nation’s building and development, and their role should not be neglected in a nation’s development. The engineers on their part should be proud of what they do and contribute effectively towards the growth of their country and the world at large.