President Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Address by
Engr. (Mrs.) Nnoli Akpedeye FNSE, FNICE, PMP, FMP
during her Investiture as the 13th President of
The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria
on 13th February 2014; at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja
At the APWEN annual conference and AGM in 2012, my fellow female engineers elected me as APWEN’s vice president. It was a great privilege and an exhilarating moment in my life. I give God the glory and thank you all for the honour and opportunity to serve our noble Association. In the last 2 years I have worked collaboratively with my amiable President Engr. Olayinka Abdul and gained cogent experience under her solid captainship. My gratitude also goes to our visionary APWEN’s founders (led by Engr. Olu Maduka FNSE) for laying a solid foundation; and to all past Presidents or guiding, nurturing and developing the Association to her current enviable state of vibrancy.
It is said that ‘the only room that is always available, is the room for improvement’, and it will be my top priority to ensure that the APWEN takes full occupancy of that room.
We will further consolidate our position within our umbrella body – the Nigerian Society of Engineers through seamless alignment with the goals and objectives of our dynamic, centenary President Engr. Ademola Isaac Olorunfemi. Permit me to personally and on behalf of APWEN appreciate Mr. President for his unflinching and continued espousal of our Association. It is noteworthy that Mr. President has always honoured APWEN’s invitation and attended in person. Mr. President also committed to and ensured the appointment of an unprecedented number of female engineers into NSE Boards and Committees on assumption of office. On our part, APWEN’s commitment to NSE will be demonstrated through active participation in Mr. President’s programmes and initiatives particularly NSE Monitoring Action Groups (NMAGs), the World Engineering Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure (WECSI), Nigerian Society of Engineers Taming African Deserts NSE-TAD, and the welfare, training and development of female Engineers.
We will strive to strengthen APWEN Chapters through clustering of activities to enrich the quality and reach of our programmes. This means we will need to be more of ‘our sisters’ keepers’. Groups of Chapters (two or more) are encouraged to jointly host events to reduce the financial burden, harness the benefit of synergies, and expand the scope and range of APWEN achievements. The forerunners of this strategic objective are APWEN Kano & Kaduna Chapters, who jointly plan to host a National Public Lecture this year. In the spirit of healthy competition, I am confident that at the end of this event there will be Chapters wanting to collaborate for ‘International Women’s Day’, ‘Business Luncheons’, ‘Seminars’, ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ and so on.
Our links with local and international professional women organisations will be bolstered to provide cross-learning and exposure of members to opportunities outside the immediate purview of APWEN. It gladdens my heart to see the increasing level of involvement of our members in the area of paper presentations at Conferences both at home and abroad. We will stimulate heightening of technical contributions at such fora and will pursue sponsorships for deserving members.
APWEN has come a long way in her membership drive and we currently have an impressive register of circa 3,000 members. Existing Chapters are charged to attract and retain additional members, while inauguration of new Chapters will continue with re-energised focus on viability criteria that are prerequisite for their formation. Existing Collegiate Chapters need to be more visibly involved in the activities of the local Chapters to foster engagement with and guidance of our student member community.
Mentoring of young engineers is crucial for their career development and provides confidence and impetus for younger colleagues to build successful careers in Engineering. I appeal to senior members to take the rookies/JJCs/younger professional colleagues under their wings and provide the much needed guidance, advice and mentorship. Suffice to note that I have spoken to a few senior members who have given their firm commitment to and full support for a revitalised APWEN Mentoring programme. To facilitate this process, guidelines will be issued to all Chapters in the first quarter of 2014.
Our Association is well noted as a driving force for encouraging girls to study and ultimately practise Engineering. Career talks to target age groups and catchment areas will continue with greater emphasis placed on local authority and public schools with little or no guidance/career counselling. The first Introduce a Girl to Engineering event held in Lagos State in 2013 and was immensely successful with excellent feedback from participants, invitees and APWEN members. Chapters are invited to deploy this hands-on engineering application programme in their states to expound our Career Talk messages in practical terms. To complete the cycle, we will seek sponsorships for financially disadvantaged girls who have a passion to study engineering.
Recognition and awards will be instituted for innovation and contributions of APWEN members to our nation’s economic development through the utilisation of their engineering skills. Whilst we take advantage of training offered by the NSE Engineering
Practice and Resource Centre, we should institute self-help strategies similar to APWEN Warri Chapter’s in-house training on the use of Microsoft Office software.
The Welfare of our members is of utmost importance and we will maintain our exceptional, unique practices in this area. The bond that holds our sorority together will be effectively exploited to celebrate key achievements and provide assistance to those in need.
I am honoured and humbled by the support of colleagues, friends and family. I am most grateful to the Investiture Planning Committee led by Engr. Ini Usoro. Thank you for the excellent planning and execution of this event. May the good Lord reward you exceedingly and abundantly above all you can imagine. To my rock of Gibraltar, my husband – Dafe Akpedeye SAN and my children Emokiniovo, Oghenefejiro, Ovietobore – I love and appreciate you for always being there for me. Without my family I would not be where I am today. You are simply the best!
To all APWEN Partners, the Press, friends and well wishers, we say a big THANK YOU for your association with APWEN and look forward to more fruitful and mutually rewarding partnerships going forward. The agenda for my two-year tenure has been drawn up and sponsor cards are available for your endorsement. A single APWEN event can change the lives of a multitude of female children and women engineers; and APWEN activities also provide significant reputation boosts for partners or sponsors. I make bold to say that One million Naira invested in APWEN is equivalent to one million Dollars of sustainable social, economic and human capital development. So invest wisely; invest in APWEN!
God bless you.