Some prominent engineers fear that the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) will be discredited after the cancellation of elections for the leadership positions of the umbrella organization of the engineering profession in Nigeria in December 2021.
Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said as one of the oldest professional bodies in the country, the company needed to live up to expectations.
Since its inception in 1958, the cancellation of the election was the first time the NSE had been embroiled in controversy over it.
The company’s elections held on December 9, 2021 were canceled by its then-president, Babagana Mohammed, due to an alleged criminal cyber breach.
Mohammed canceled the elections which were to see a new vice-president emerge and other national leaders and ordered a new election, alleging the election was marred by irregularities and criminal cyber violations, with some people hacking into the organization’s database to manipulate the election result.
A source said the cancellation of the election had thrown the respected company into crisis as there was a vacuum in many executive positions.
Mohammed as Chairman, as is NSE tradition, handed over the affairs of the company to his deputy, Engr Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, the current and 33rd Chairman of the company, and Executive Secretary, Eng (Dr) Okopi Alex Momoh.
The term of the President of the NSE runs out every two years and the Deputy automatically succeeds the President. Then a new deputy is elected alongside six vice-presidents and six other members of the executive.
Due to the crisisthat is to say, there was no investiture of the members of the executive committee. The outgoing president has only handed over to the new president.
Therefore, there are fears that the crisis has put the integrity of society under scrutiny just as Nigerian engineers are waiting to see if the new President, Wudil, will carry the election process to its logical conclusion as he had declared that new elections would be done in the first quarter of 2022 or he would reverse the cancellation.
When a former chairman of the company and member of its board, Engr Otis Anyaeji, was contacted about the crisis, he said, “I wouldn’t like to discuss it until I hit base with the chairman of the board of directors of the company. I am a member of the company’s board of directors. The board of directors met last week and this issue was one of the topics of discussion, but I did not participate in the meeting. He did, however, promise to talk about it later, saying he wanted to speak from an informed perspective.