Realising this, he said policymakers are not sleep on the wheel and are working hard to get things right for Nigeria.
Azubogu, a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was speaking at the 4th International Conference on Engineering Adaptation and Policy, Reforms For Industrial Development (ICEAPR), with the theme: “Nigeria, beyond the oil, at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli, Anambra State.
He noted that the role of engineers in nationbuilding cannot be over-emphasised and called on them to rise to the challenge and show the way forward.
The lawmaker said that Anambra State needs an engineer at the helm of affairs to accelerate economic development.
Delivering his paper, another engineer and one-time governorship aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Barth Nwibe, said the world is going green and one of the ways to move the country forward is to increase oil production, to identify innovative companies and build them up.
Nwibe, who is the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Segofs Energy Services (oil and gas company), said the challenges facing Nigeria are low exploration, drilling and production activity.
Lamenting that Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world today, the APC chieftain noted that unlike in the 80s, when the country had 40 rigs, Nigeria today has only 17 rigs.
He, however, warned that if nothing drastic was done, Nigeria would in the next 30 years, be selling one million barrel of oil each day, adding that Nigeria needs the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which according to him has been kept pending over the past 12 years.
Nwibe said the cheapest way to raise funds for the country was to increase oil production to five million barrels a day, expressing the need for Nigeria to embark on urgent agency reforms to increase oil exploration.
Corroborating Azubogu, he advocated for an active participation of engineers in governance, frowning at the contradiction of government appointing non-engineers to manage engineering portfolios, saying: “Politics and leadership build and destroys a nation. States and the country need the right people to drive the country and states forward.
“Such action limits economic growth, innovation and development as round pegs must not be forced into square hole.”
The chairman of the occasion, Dr Patrick N Obi, in his remarks said engineering plays a key role in ensuring the growth and development of a country’s economy as well as improving the quality of life for citizens.
“A country’s economy is no longer measured by the quantity or volume of her mineral resources. Rather, it is knowledge, and not baggage, that drives economies all over the world,” he said.