The President, Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Prof. Azikiwe Peter Onwualu flanked by Engr. Vincent Maduka, Engr. Alex Ogedegbe and other Past Presidents of the Academy after the investiture on 23rd June 2022
The Acting President of African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Professor Azikiwe Peter Onwualu, FAS has been elected as the 12thPresident of the prestigious Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng) https://www.nae.ng/.
The investiture was held at a colorful event that took place in Lagos on Thursday, June 23, 2022. The ceremony also witnessed the conferment of fellowship awards to ten (10) members who had distinguished themselves in their areas of specialization in engineering. Among the 10 new fellows was Professor Winston Soboyejo, a former President of the African University of Science and Technology.
In his acceptance speech, Professor Onwualu said that the academy needs to interface more with different arms of government in order to be part of policy formulation. He added that the academy needs to revive technical skills, vocational and entrepreneurship education to prepare future graduates. According to him “We need to work on academia-industry collaboration to drive innovation in all sectors of the economy using technology hubs to promote re-industrialization and revitalization of critical infrastructure in Nigeria”. We need to use our wealth of experience to advice government on finding engineering and technology based solutions to the current challenges of insecurity in Nigeria, he said.
Delivering a lecture titled: “Engineering Education in Nigeria, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” the guest lecturer and past president of the academy, Professor Rauf Salawu said that there had not been commensurate increase in funding for the institutions in Nigeria. Salawu added that in spite of the new scientific knowledge about teaching and learning, significant transformation of engineering education in Nigeria remained elusive and unattainable. He predicted that within the next 10 years, increasing number of students would turn to credit granting Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC), causing a major shakeup in higher education.
“To avoid obsolesce, institutions he stressed must add value that cannot be easily provided by video teaching or other technology,” He urged institutions to adopt the use of active learning to engage student in projects, design and laboratory experiences that would prepare them for professional practice.
Earlier, the outgoing president of the academy, Engr. Alex Ogedegbe, said that the mission of the academy was to generate and expand the coverage of new ideas and increase appropriate applications for policy formulation and presents the same, as recommendations to stakeholders for the progress of the nation.
One of the inductees, Dr (Mrs.) Adenike Amao, a female engineer, called on parents to give special support to a female child that show interest in science and engineering field which has become male dominated profession. Amao added that there were many issues that could discourage female in engineering profession. She urged women in engineering field to always approach women professional body such as the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) for mentor-ship.
The event also featured life achievement awards presentation to deserving members and lecturers among others.
Born on April 27, 1959, into the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Onwualu, Oba, Idemili South Local Government, Anambra State, Nigeria, Professor Azikiwe Peter Onwualu attended St. George’s Primary School, Oraifite before he proceeded to Merchants of Light School, Oba in Anambra State, Nigeria where he obtained the West Africa School Certificate (WASC) in 1977 in first division. He then attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1982 with First Class Honours. He later received a Master’s (1987) and Doctorate (1991) degrees in Agricultural Engineering from UNN and Technical University of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Canada (now Dalhousie University) respectively. He joined the services of the UNN in 1983 as a Graduate Assistant and was promoted to the rank of Professor of Agricultural Engineering in 1999.
Professor Onwualu has contributed immensely to the development of Agricultural and Materials Engineering in Nigeria with special interest in Agricultural Power and Machinery, Agro-Processing and Biomass Engineering. He was Head, Agricultural Engineering Department, UNN (2000-2003), Director, Engineering Infrastructure, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, Abuja (2003-2005) and Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Abuja (2005-2013). He was a Visiting Professor at the National Universities Commission (2014-2015) before joining the services of AUST in 2016 as Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. He was Coordinator, Science, Technology and Innovation Thematic Group of Vision 2020 and Chairman Committee of Director of Research Institutes of Nigeria (CODRI). He is a member of Board of Directors of African Technology Policy Studies Network (Nairobi) and Chairman of Board of Engineering Materials Development Institute (EMDI), Akure. He is a member of National Research Fund Committee (NRF) of TETFund (2019-2022).
He is a Fellow of 12 professional bodies, including Polymer Institute of Nigeria, Agricultural Society of Nigeria, Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigeria Academy of Engineering, Nigerian Institute of Management, and Nigeria Academy of Science. He is happily married to Mrs. Blessing Nwamaka Onwualu of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and they have four children, a son-in-law and grandson.
African University of Science and Technology was represented at the epoch-making event by Dr. Shola Odusanya and Dr. Vitalis Anye; visiting Faculty and Acting Head of Department at the Materials Science and Engineering respectively.
The AUST community felicitates with Professor Onwualu on his appointment and wishes him a very successful tenure.