NIGERIA cannot keep contracting jobs to foreigners while its own contractors suffer, former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke has said.
He said Nigerians must be allowed to make mistakes and correct the mistakes; otherwise we will not pass anything to the next generation.
The ex-governor said this in a keynote address he delivered at the Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers (NICE) in Abuja.
The event was organised by NICE in honour of Rev. Ette Ette, a veteran civil engineer.
He said western countries awarded contracts to their firms to grow their economies and create jobs while the reverse was the case in Nigeria.
Duke decried the declining level of manufacturing in the Country.
He lamented that Nigeria’s huge population had not been exploited to productive advantage for the country and its peoples.
The former governor said: “In the U.S., Europe, China, they give contracts to their own people. We cannot continue contracting our own jobs to foreigners. We have to make the mistakes and correct the mistakes; otherwise we will not pass anything to the next generation.
“It cannot be theory, every time; it will be a thing of pride that we build our country not others building it for us.”
The former governor said a proposal, which stipulated that all household equipment be assembled in Nigeria, was yet to come to fruition.
According to him, Nigeria has over 20 million housing deficit, which can keep a lot of engineers busy because of its value chain of plumbing, piping, roofing among others.
National Chairman, NICE Mr. Andem Ekpo-Bassey, in his opening remarks, said the lecture was organised to celebrate Etteh for his contributions to civil engineering profession in Nigeria.
He said Etteh was a detribalised Nigerian who mentored a lot of civil engineers across the country.
Also, President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Otis Anyaeji stated that the government had failed to make policies that would empower engineering firms in the country.