Investment in Education Spurs Development – Chancellor
The Chancellor of Covenant University, Dr. David Oyedepo, has described education as the crux of development in any nation. He made this statement while speaking at the fifth inaugural lecture of the University which took place on February 19, 2016, with the theme, ‘Sustainable Engineering: A Vital Approach to Innovative Product Development and Community Capacity Building.’
While making his remark, the Chancellor emphasised that the responsibility for development in a progressive society lies with both the citizens and the government, but people have to be developed before they can develop their environment.
He expressed concern over the non commitment of the Nigerian society to the development of their environment; stating that Nigerians believe the government has to be solely responsible for national development. “True development is the awareness of the citizens to the need to change their situation and development can never be a product of political ideology. We are the major source of our problems in this nation and each one of us has a role to play in bringing about a change. The job is everybody’s job and I pray that in no distant future, everybody would be singing a new song,” he stated.
The Chancellor pointed out the need for the government to sit up and review their developmental processes, while the citizens should begin to exhibit a stakeholder’s mentality and collaborate with the government in order to see desired results. He stressed that Rome was not built in a day, but the work started one day, therefore, it should begin by creating the platform for the required change.
Speaking on the role of universities in the change process of any nation, the Chancellor stated that the university system is built to enhance the capacity of man to generate solutions, and that lectures like this are one of the channels for expanding the zeal and zest of people to commit to development. He also stressed on the need to apply spirituality to educational pursuits and research explaining that the first two leading universities in the world took off on the platform of spirituality.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo, welcomed the participants and stated that the day’s lecture was very significant to development of every nation, seeing that sustainable engineering is crucial to sustainable development. According to the Vice-Chancellor, many technical advances are brought about through engineering. Engineering activities are significant contributors to economic development as well as the standard of living and well-being of any society; they also have significant impact on our cultural development and environment.
During his presentation, the lecturer of the day, Professor Israel Dunmade described engineering as the application of scientific and mathematical principles for practical purposes such as the design, manufacture, and operation of products and processes, while accounting for constraints invoked by economics, the environment and other sociological factors.
Quoting a statement by Rosen (2012), he said, “Engineering uses resources to drive the world’s economic activity, in virtually all economic sectors, e.g., industry, transportation, residential, commercial, agriculture, communication, etc. Also, resources used in engineering, whether fuels, minerals or water, are obtained from the environment, and wastes from engineering processes (production, transport, storage, utilization) are typically released to the environment.”
He observed that our environment serves as a source for resources needed by engineering for improved standards of living. It also serves as a sink for our wastes, which is the burial place for our emissions. He stated, however, that: “...as our population increases, more and more resources are needed from our environment for food, clothing, housing, transportation, and other necessities of life. But there is a limit to the productive capacity of the earth. Many of the resources we draw from the environment to meet the aforementioned needs are not renewable and the rate at which we harvest some of the resources is too fast to regenerate. Similarly, our engineering activities in the process of meeting the aforementioned housing, energy, transportation and other needs release enormous amount of wastes and emissions to the environment. The rate of release has been so high that it has surpassed the earth’s absorptive capacity.”
Consequently, he said, “these voracious resource exploitation and enormous waste releases are causing resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, desertification, global warming, ozone layer depletion, eutrophication, birth deformities, and various types of diseases. Definitely, something has to be done to arrest the negative trend.”
Professor Dumade enumerated some of the measures to arrest the negative trend as a change from the current engineering way of doing things to the sustainable engineering approach. He defined sustainable engineering as an interdisciplinary/multifaceted approach to adaptive integration of supply side and consumer side of an engineered system over its lifecycle stages by utilizing various methods in a technically sound, socio-economically sensible and environmentally friendly manner.
“Sustainable engineering is adaptive in that it is a "visioneering" concept that gives every stakeholder the opportunity to share ideas and think outside the box in arriving at an appropriate solution to an engineering problem that satisfies the majority's interests in the project. It encourages the consideration of the complete product and process lifecycle during the design effort. The intent is to minimize environmental impacts across the entire lifecycle while simultaneously maximizing the benefits to social and economic stakeholders,” he opined.
Present at the event were members of the University Management, Senate, Faculty, staff, students and invited guests from all walks of life.