Many a time, we find people complaining bitterly about the neglect of the government in developing their communities. Funny enough, it’s even more pathetic when even engineers also cry “foul! Foul!” when they are skilled to turn their environment around for good. But come to think of it:”who is the government?”, “who and who are the beneficiaries of these infrastructures when functional?”
There is no one individual called “government”. You and I make up what is called the government. Yes, don’t try to remind me of those that are constitutionally voted into power to serve – that is only a nomenclature, you and I suffer the consequences of neglect of these facilities. So, what do we do? We need to start taking care of what we can in our immediate environment.
The “government” is not a faceless creature. He is that man or woman living next door to you and so will also come to appreciate whatsoever we do in our respective communities. As engineers, we should begin to make a statement in our various environments, to enhance the living standard of the communities we live in. It is in so doing that the people around us will come to know who we are and listen to our suggestions and advice. That deliberate sacrifice to save a dying community is all we need to attract government attention to the plight of the Nigerian Engineer.
The theory of sowing and reaping is fundamental in every human endeavour. If we don’t give to our communities as engineers, we should not expect the communities to give back to us. What do most Nigerian communities want and what does the Nigerian engineer want?
The needs of the Nigerian engineer include the following:
- Need for acceptance and recognition by the society and the government.
- The engineer wants to be consulted by both public and private promoters.
- He wants to be remunerated well for his input.
- The engineer wants an enhanced salary scale for those in the public service, considering their long years of study, training, and experience acquired and the numerous risks associated with the practise of engineering.
- The engineer wants their data to be used by the politicians in national planning for agriculture, water provision, housing, transport, highway, e.t.c
Let us also x-ray the needs of many Nigerian Communities:
- They want shelter
- They want food
- They want security
- They want access to health facility
Now, if the engineers in the various communities come together, under the direction of the host branch of NSE, to clean the drainage on a particular Saturday, that goes a long way in solving the following issues for the community:
- The flood water will flow freely without causing any havoc.
- There would be no more stagnant water in the drains to aid the breeding of mosquitoes, thereby reducing the prevalence of malaria fever.
- Malaria fever which is the major cause of death in Africa will be drastically reduced, thereby reducing the traffic on the limited health facilities in the various communities. If the traffic on these health facilities is reduced, the wear and tear on them also reduces, and so they can serve the communities for longer time before replacement.
- The singular activity of cleaning the drains can also elongate the life-span of the existing shelter in most parts of Africa, particularly in the northern zone, where they have very shallow foundation for their houses. This is true because the flood water would not be able to leave its designed channel and weaken the foundations of these houses.
You can imagine the multiple effects on our society if we also embark on other community activities. Our works will bring us closer to the people and so when we talk, they will listen. When we cry, they will rush to provide succour. Once again, That deliberate sacrifice to save a dying community is all we need to attract government attention to the plight of the Nigerian Engineer, but first, we need to do something in that very community where we live, no matter how small. You can start something today!