Welcome Speech By ACEN President, ENGR. GEORGE C. OKOROMA, FNSE, JP Delivered at the 42nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of ACEN on 4th of November 2020 at NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Kado, Abuja, FCT.

Welcome Speech By ACEN President, ENGR. GEORGE C. OKOROMA, FNSE, JP Delivered at the 42nd Annual Conference and General Meeting of ACEN on 4th of November 2020 at NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Kado, Abuja, FCT.

Past Presidents,

Distinguished Guests,

EXCO and Council Members,

Distinguished Firm Members,

Members of the Press,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am most delighted and grateful to God for bringing us together physically after more than 5 months of lockdown due to the upsurge of the novel Coronavirus. It is a thing of great joy for me that despite the challenges brought on us by the pandemic, every one of us in the ACEN engineering family is alive, hale, and hearty up till this date. This can only be ascribed to the unfailing mercies of God Almighty which He has given to us freely.

With joy flowing in my heart like a river, I wish to welcome you all to the 2020 Annual Conference and General Meeting of our dear Association.

Since inception in 1971, the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria-ACEN has continued to lead the way for effective and ethical engineering consultancy services for Government, Ministries, Departments, Agencies, and Corporate Organizations.

The past 49 years of our existence have witnessed first-class leadership from 17 carefully elected engineers of high repute and goodwill. Within this period, a lot of novel ideas were birthed, policies were promulgated and initiatives were championed for the growth and advancement of engineering and consultancy services in Nigeria.

I am glad to say without mincing words that this is the first Annual Conference and General Meeting that is holding in my tenure as the 18th President of this Association. The next time that I will appear before you in our AGM would be to hand over the baton of leadership.

While we are grateful to God for this great opportunity to gather and share with one another, we cannot afford to neglect the mood of our nation at the moment. Our heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones and those whose property were destroyed and vandalized during the END-SARS protest that took place in major cities of our country. I am confident that the voice of our youths has been heard and that their request is being addressed accordingly.

Permit me to use this medium to express my heartfelt gratitude to Exco and Council and to our Distinguished Firm Members for conferring on me, the honour to stir the affairs of this Association as your President.

I wish to thank you all very kindly for the support and goodwill that my team and I have enjoyed from you so far. The current position of ACEN on the zenith of greatness is a function of your unreserved corporate and administrative support which you have given us.

With you on our side, we are confident that the path of ACEN will continue to shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.

The Annual Conference and General Meeting of our Association is a time when we come together to have a holistic review of our stance, how we have performed, and how close we are to our set national and international targets.

It is a time to take stock of our activities for the past one year and discuss matters that strengthen the understanding of our role as consulting engineers in the economic development of Nigeria.

As the only professional body of engineering consultants in Nigeria, a key part of our responsibility is to be fully involved as an integral part of the nation’s engineering activities and ensure that designs and construction of infrastructural projects are done with total adherence to international standards and with resilience and sustainability thinking.

The theme for this year’s AGM is ‘ENGINEERING CONSULTING AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN A RECOVERING ECONOMY.’

There is no denying that we are in an uncertain time. Many things have changed, businesses have crumbled, companies downsized and awards of contracts are lower than ever.

As we emerge out of the pandemic, it is imperative we re-focus our searchlight and learn innovative strategies to strengthen our firms and to help us survive in the post-covid-19 economy.

A lot of critical thinking and expertise went down the line to enable the AGM Planning Committee to pull up this theme; and I am glad and proud of the depth of knowledge and exposure of the resource persons who have been invited to share ideas with us in this epoch gathering.

It is, therefore, my pleasure to welcome our Guest Speaker – a Distinguished Engineer of international repute, Engr. Nurudeen A. Rafindadi, FNSE, FAEng, the Managing Director, Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Permit me also to welcome all the distinguished engineers of impeccable quality who have been selected to guide us in idea-focused technical sessions and to facilitate discussion during plenary sessions.

Thank you so much, Engr. Imo Ekpo, Principal Partner, Micek Consults Limited, and Dr. Kingsley Obiora, Director General, Economic Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria for accepting to bless us with your wealth of knowledge.

I must thank very kindly all the Presidents of sister associations, CEOs and MDs of corporate establishments for their goodwill messages.

I believe deep down in my heart that we are going to have a great time together. We are going to learn, unlearn and relearn many things today.

At the end of this conference, we would come up with a communique that we hope will be an aggregate of our collective views on an integrated approach to strengthen engineering consultancy services and infrastructural development in a recovering economy.

We have our partner for this conference, CDK Integrated Industries Limited, and Corporate Sponsors, Actolog Solutions Limited in attendance, and wish them good fortune during this COVID-19 pandemic year.

I wish to thank very kindly the brains behind the planning of this event and the leadership of Engr. Sam Otenike, FNSE who is the Chairman of the Planning Committee. You all are super amazing and I thank you for your hard work.

To this end, distinguished engineers and firm members, I welcome you all to the 2020 Annual Conference and General Meeting of our Association.

Thank you, and may we have fruitful deliberations.

Engr. George C. Okoroma, FNSE, JP

ACEN President

4th November 2020.

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