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14/08/2020 News

Sangster Motivates Students on Post-Covid Era at NUESA Summit

The Managing Director of Total upstream companies in Nigeria, Mr Mike Sangster has called for disruptive innovation to drive change in the country at the first National Engineering Summit held on Monday, August 10, 2020.

The 5-day virtual summit organised by the Nigerian Universities Engineering Students Association (NUESA) had in attendance regulatory agencies on Engineering in Nigeria, students from the association and Total staff.

In his presentation, on the theme: ‘Engineering & Social Economic Development in a Post-COVID Era’, the MD stated: “It is time for disruptive innovations. Let your engineering inspire positive changes that will improve the lives of your countrymen and women.”

He encouraged participants to be, “nimble, imbibe an innovative mindset and be prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn. As you are aware, the pandemic has changed the face of the world from commerce to traditional social structures in more ways than one. I think it is great that you directed your energy to come about this energy summit during this period.”

Mr Sangster explained Total’s contributions at the onset of the pandemic, “Total rose to the clarion call of the Federal Government along with its partners, led by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), by contributing to a donation of ₦21billion in support of the Federal Government’s Covid-19 efforts. Total’s contribution was $3.2m (₦1.2b),” and further discussed the company’s contributions to Lagos and Rivers states to ameliorate the effect of the outbreak.

“While many often see only the problems in a time of crisis, the smart and discerning seize the moment to retool, reinvent and become the purveyors and pioneers of new products and services. You must, however, remember that it does not always have to be the latest cutting-edge engineering coming out of a laboratory that will be needed to provide solutions to the most urgent behavioural issues in our society as they evolve. It could be simple innovations and quickly thinking outside of the box that will sometimes be needed.”

He further highlighted Total’s Human Development programmes before the pandemic that have given opportunities for growth and social-economic development to include the Institute of Petroleum Studies, MIT-Empowering the Teachers, African University of Science and Technology, Catch Them Young programme, Scholarships, Startupper Challenge and sponsorship of several conferences & Exhibitions.

Total management at the summit included the Executive General Manager, Total Country Services, Mrs Bunmi Popoola-Mordi and the Country Communications Manager, Mr Charles Ebereonwu.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Guest of Honour and the president, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Babagana Mohammed said, “that the presence of the guests today is reflective of the huge importance that they attach to development and mentoring of the younger generation.”

He further said any student studying engineering is not an average student and should be the best.

​The second speaker at the event who is also the President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Mr Ali Rabiu remarked, “I urge every one of you to take advantage of this rare opportunity. The theme of this summit has been judiciously selected to suit the present situation the entire world is faced with. Sector-specific implications could vary.” His representative at the summit further said the Nigerian government essentially must lead economic diversification drive because the pandemic has opened a vista of opportunities in technology for engineering professionals such as the manufacture of automated handwashing machines, respirators, among others.

In a show of appreciation, the National President of the Association, Mr Dauda Olatunji, applauded the fatherly role of Total, COREN and NSE towards mentoring and providing all the needed assistance. He urged co-students to tap into every resource available and leverage on the opportunity.  ​NUESA is the student wing of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, the governing body that interface between students and key stakeholders across engineering organisations, industries and the government with the clarion call on promoting academic excellence and building career competence of students across the federation.