By Ikenna Uwadileke
Members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has paid tribute to the 21st President of the society Charles Mbanefo, who died at the age of 81.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the society held a night of tributes in Abuja to eulogise Mbanefo.
The President of NSE, Mr Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, said that Mbanefo would be remembered for his contributions to the development of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) through his legendary engineering prowess.
Mbanefo who was also the pioneer president of NSE, Abuja Chapter died on Oct. 27 in Abuja.
Upon his return to Nigeria from Canada, Mbanefo joined the service of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as a principal engineer in 1982.
During his working career, Mbanefo was in charge of design.
He did the vetting and approval of structural drawings and supervised the construction of some major districts and monumental edifices in the FCT.
They include the Presidential Villa, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the National Secretariat and the National Mosque.
Others are the National Stadium, Transcorp Hilton, International Conference Centre, Garki 11 and Jabi districts.
Gidari-Wudil described Mbanefo as an epitome of humanity and a father to all.
“He was always meeting us at personal and family level. He was full of wisdom and never short of advice,” he said
“Engr. Mbanefo was loved by all for his strong benevolent spirit. He will be missed by all of us,” he said.
Similarly, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) described him as thoughtful, intellectual, bold and strong.
According to Mr Ali Rabiu, President and Chairman of Council, COREN, Mbanefo contributed immensely to the development of his profession and community.
“He was a hard working person, who directed his energy to serving God and the interest of humanity.
“`His believe in helping family and community was strengthened by his desire to serve selflessly.
“He had to his credit mentored a lot of professionals in engineering,’’ Rabiu said.
Chief James Agubalu, on behalf of Anambra State Town Planners Association, described Mbanefo as a man who promoted his culture and educated people to appreciate other peoples’ culture.
Mr Christopher Chigboh, former Transport Secretary, FCDA, expressed sadness over the death of the pioneer Chairman of NSE, Abuja Chapter.
Chigboh, in his tribute titled “A great man and a mentor”, commiserated with NSE over the death of the structural engineer.
According to him, Mbanefo lived a purposeful life in the service of humanity and his leadership qualities in the engineering sector were extraordinary and worthy of emulation.
Chigboh said: “Mbanefo was a great man, a mentor and a thorough breed engineer.
“This tribute is very difficult for me, my heart is heavy. The thought of not seeing you again hurts me a lot.
“This is especially when I remember how we met in 1982 and worked together all the way.
“Among other things, you will be remembered for setting up the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Abuja Branch in 1984 wherein you became the pioneer chairman while I served as the aecretary.
“Mbanefo also led the team that designed the Mabuchi Ministerial Complex and in that team I was the coordinator.
“It did not end there, as a structural engineer, he played a major role in the building of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Church, Garki and the Holy Family Catholic Church, Life Camp, Abuja.
“These contributions were indelible and reflected Mbanefo’s qualities as a thorough breed, grounded and an excellent engineer,” Chigboh said.
He further described the deceased as a man who was looked upon while handling some of the projects in Abuja.
“I will not fail to recall that Mbanefo’s purpose of establishing the NSE, Abuja chapter, then was to secure more inputs from local nationals.
“He was indeed a role model and we celebrate him for a fulfilled life.
“Mbanefo remains in our hearts as we say goodbye and may God graciously grant him eternal rest in his bosom,’’ Chigbo said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams