The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has said that Nigeria lost her best opportunity for massive development to stomach infrastructure between 2007 and 2015.
Fashola, who spoke on Monday as the guest lecturer at the Herbert Macaulay Memorial lecture (HMML) of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said: “While other oil producing countries were busy building their nations at a time when oil prices peaked, the past administration in Nigeria developed a different form of development known as stomach infrastructure.
“We should never forget this. We decided to share the money rather than invest the money just to win elections. The money that should have been used to fund the Abakaliki rice was used to import rice.
“This is the opportunity that President Muhammadu Buhari has come to recover through the enormous Development and Recovery Plan. So, when the President is talking of change, he is talking of a time when we will invest in real infrastructural development and not stomach infrastructure.
“Unlike before, President Buhari has made a choice and that choice has led to massive development across the country.”
He thanked the Vice Chancellor of the the institution and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering for the opportunity to deliver the lecture, urging them to ensure that more quality engineers are produced in the school as there are now opportunities for them to excel.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Prof. Chukwuma Ozumba stated that: “the Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture Lecture was instituted by a Special Resolution of the Board of Faculty of Engineering in 1978. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the institution of this lecture HMML.
“To deliver this years lecture, we sought for a personality who has had experience in the management of engineering-related infrastructure and who presently occupies a very sensitive position where engineering plays significant roles in our national development.
“We found such a personality in the person of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the immediate past Governor of Lagos State and current Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
“The relevance of engineering in all facets of life cannot be overemphasized. The Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture series has provided a platform for an in depth discussion of engineering problems and their solutions and has since 1980, made significant contributions to the national development through these engaging discussions,” he said.
In his speech, the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, O.U. Okparaku stated that Fashola, was: “a special person with the pedigree, experience, knowledge and versatility to deliver a lecture which will cut across various sectors in which engineering science and technology have made significant impacts in human development and our national life.
“Your excellency, we thank you for honouring our invitation to deliver our special HMM Lecture. We are here to tap from your knowledge and experience not only from the ministry of Power, Works and Housing but also from the Lagos state government where you managed engineering related infrastructural development for 8 years.
“Our HMML events have since inception focused on the achievements, problems and prospects of the development of the engineering technology in Nigeria. Issues raised during these events have in one way or the other impacted professional practice and development of the engineering profession in our country,” he added.