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ENGR. JONATHAN K. OKEHS, GGM NAPIMS BAGS NSChE FELLOWSHIP AWARD. By: Ogbonnaya A. Kalu

Cross section of the awardees (L-R): Manager E-Market, NipeX, Engr. & Mrs. Bernard Nwosu, GGM, NAPIMS, Engr. J. K. Okehs, CEO, Glo-Tech group of companies, Engr. Abdulraham Moh’d, Dr. V. Maduka of Barold Nig. Ltd.,
EDO, WRPC, Engr. & Mrs. A. S. Ladenegan

The Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) recently converged at Owerri, Imo State for their 44th Annual Conference. The occasion brought together Nigeria’s brightest and very distinguished engineering minds. The theme of the two day conference was; “Chemical Engineering and the Nigerian Economy”.

In his opening speech, the immediate past President of the Society and Chairman of the occasion, Engr. John N. Erinne (PhD.) emphasised the need for periodic re-examination of the role, contributions and participation of Chemical Engineers in shaping the national economy especially in the face of a fast changing world which we now live in.

He called for a “deliberate move towards industrialisation of the economy” and demanded for the right government’s initiative noting that Nigeria has abundant human and natural endowment that should facilitate a speedy transformation into an industrialised economy.

The chairman, Dr. Erinne commended the Transformation Agenda of Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He enumerated some of the laudable initiatives that embody the transformation agenda such as the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP). The Gas Master Plan/ Gas Revolution, The Sugar Backward Integration Plan (BIP) and the Cassava and Rice projects… He observed that the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan is a comprehensive programme designed to launch Nigeria into the industrialised global space but regretted that this great vision cannot be actualised without adequate and constant power supply.

As the nation with the 8th largest natural gas reserve globally, gainful utilization of our abundant natural gas in power generation should naturally be the primary thrust of the gas master plan/Gas revolution.

He pointed out that “the additional objective which seeks to quickly utilize our natural gas as feedback to develop a vibrant petrochemicals industry in the country also, ties in neatly into the NIRP.”

This is where the role and contributions of the Chemical Engineer in the national economy comes in. With their special training skills in processing primary materials into enhanced products or finished products, the Chemical Engineer initiates a value chain that builds up a long economies of scale. In so doing, opportunities for gainful employment, trade, supplies and other wealth creating windows manifest along the value chain. With this, unemployment is checked and the entire nation’s economy leaps geometrically.

He lamented that in formulation of government policies, there is hardly any Chemical Engineering input. He noted for instance that, there is no Chemical Engineering input in the formulation and execution of Sugar BIP. In spite of the fact that, Chemical Engineers are known specialists in sugar processing. He pointed out that though, the Nigeria Society of Chemical Engineers feels deeply disappointed about this, the nation is the ultimate loser. He therefore, called on the federal government to do something urgent towards redressing the anomaly.

Furthermore, he decried the conditions of the nation’s refineries laying the blame not on the Chemical Engineers but squarely at the feet of Bureaucracy. He put it this way “…such colossal failure (of our refineries) are not of our (Chemical Engineers) making but rather are systemic. Clearly the nation can never get out of this cul-de-sac for as long as the refineries are run as an extension of the bureaucracy.”

He pressed for the “freeing of the refineries so that it can operate in a market place regime term and not by bureaucracy and politics”.

Submitting that it would only be in such an environment that Chemical Engineers could practise their profession freely, serve the nation competently, operate the refining sector efficiently and meet the people’s expectation of adequate supplies of fuels to sustain the economy from domestic refining and even develop an export hub that would be delivering refined products to the regional and world markets.

The National President of NSChE (right), Engr. Abubakar L. Yaradua, administering the Fellowship Oath to a cross section of the awardees

He concluded by reminding his colleagues of the sacred responsibility on them to constantly maintain the highest standards of professionalism and integrity with which the profession is identified worldwide…

The keynote address was rendered by erudite scholar of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Mobolaji E. Aluko, FNSChE., Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Otuoke. His address centred on ‘’Accelerating Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Development through Chemical Engineering’’ Other eminent scholars that were part of the conference were the Vice-Chancellor of FUTO, Prof. Chigozie C. Asiabaka; Prof.
Godwin Joseph Igwe of Chemical Engineering Dept UNIPORT, Engr. Alex Ogedengbe retired
GED E&T NNPC to mention just a few.

The fellowship investiture came up in the evening of Saturday, 22nd Nov, 2014. Out of the twenty three recipients of the award, ten were from NNPC. These were the GED Engineering & Technical
Directorate, Engr. Adebayo Ibirogba FNSChE; the GGM NAPIMS, Engr. Jonathan Okehs FNSChE; Managing Director Port Harcourt Refinery Company, Dr. Bafred Audu Enjugu FNSChE; Engr. Bernard Frank Nwosu, Manager overseeing E-Market place operations (NIPEX) NAPIMS; Engr. Amaefuna Vitalis Ugochukwu FNSChE, Executive Director Operations PHRC; Engr. Mrs. Grace Chinma Akujobi-Emetuche, FNSChE, Deputy Manager, Pipeline Product Marketing Company (DM.PPMC); Engr. Ladenegan Adewale Solomon FNSChE, Executive Director Operations Warri Refinery Petrochemical Company; Engr. Umar Usman FNSChE, Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company; Engr. Moh’d Amin Umar FNSChE, etc.

In the NSChE BOARD of DIRECTORS 2014, The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation also made strong showing. The National president of NSChE is the former Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Engr. (Dr.) Abubakar Lawal Yarádua FNSChE and the National Publicity Secretary of the society is Engr. Ben Akaakar FNSChE, Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD.

NSChE has always derived most of her executives from NNPC Engineers. Most past Executives of the society were Engineers who had served NNPC in various capacities, some at the very top echelon of NNPC management cadre.

The induction of the GGM NAPIMS, Engr. Jonathan Kwame Okehs as a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers did not come to anyone as a surprise considering his track records as a very resourceful Engineer.

A graduate of the University of Science and Technology Port- Harcourt, Rivers State where he bagged his first degree in Chemica Engineering (HND) in 1982 and Masters of Technology (M. Tech.) in Chemical Engineering in 1989.

A serious minded engineer who was eager to contribute meaningfully to the growth and advancement of Chemical Engineering in Nigeria between 1989 and 1991, he lectured in his Alma Mata imparting Chemical Engineering knowledge to the younger generation of Chemical Engineers.

In 1991, for want of higher challenge in his chosen profession, he joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC as a senior processing Engineer at the PHRC and contributed meaningfully to the operation of the refinery till December 1994.

Engr. J. K. Okehs showing off his NSChE Fellowship Certificate Award

Thereafter, he was deployed to the Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL) as an Assistant
Chief Process Engineer. Between 1994 and 2003, he served in various capacities, his last position being the Technical Assistant to the Managing Director EPCL. Engr. Okehs became a Manager and Technical Assistant in the office of the Group Managing Director (GMD) NNPC in Abuja in December 2003 and served there till his secondment to the Brass LNG project in April 2008 as Manager.

While at Brass LNG, he participated on behalf of NNPC in the review of technology issues, Pre-FEED and EPC activities of the Brass LNG project. He also functioned effectively as a member of the Brass LNG Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to screen alternatives for the project.

He was a leader in the formation articulation of NNPC’s position as a shareholder in both technical and commercial issues concerning Brass LNG.

As the saying goes, the reward of good work is more work, Engr. J. K. Okehs’ outstanding contributions and achievements in his previous assignments seriously recommended him for more tasks.

Hence, when the Nigerian Content Development Board (NCDB) was born, he was promptly deployed to help bring it up. Between July 2010 and February 2011, Okehs served as a Manager on the Nigerian Content Development Board where he participated in helping the new board not just to take off but also create and entrench modalities for monitoring and ensuring compliance to the Act by the downstream companies.

Owing to his resourcefulness and track records at providing and implementing business solutions, in 2011, Engr. Okehs again was deployed to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project where he was responsible for managing NNPC’s interest in the LNG project. As a member of the project screening committee (PSC), he contributed immensely towards the growth of the Brass LNG project. It is noteworthy that under his management, the LNG division of NNPC was able to create technical/commercial value for the corporation and ensured competence. He held the post till
2012.

Engr. Okehs, the resourceful manager of men and materials was appointed the Group General Manager (GGM), Power in the fledging Gas & Power Directorate in November, 2012. It was in the course of managing the nascent Power Division and developing human resources that he was redeployed to head NAPIMS as the Group General Manager (GGM) on March 24, 2014. A thorough breed process Engineer, Engr. Okehs has to his credit commendable achievements which include:

The preparation and implementation of the NGC startup of the Ethylene plant of the Eleme Petrochemical. The re-designing of the liquid and gas drier internal and improved the molecular sieve End of Life (EOL) Duration.

A member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, (NSE) Jonathan Okehs in his leisure loves the splash of the fresh inland waters as well as the salt waters so he either swims or boats in the creeks or in the sea.

He also loves teaching. He is happily married with children.

Engr. Bernard Frank Nwosu is the other NAPIMS management who received the same honour. A graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious University of Science & Technology Port- Harcourt. He has practised Engineering for over 25 years and contributed immensely to the growth of the profession in Nigeria.

He is a staunch member of the Nigeria society of Engineers (MNSE); Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN); Nigerian Institute of Management and now a Fellow of the Nigeria Society of Chemical Engineers.

He is happily married with children.

The entire Management and Staff of NAPIMS and indeed the NNPC family rejoice with them, Congratulations!!!

© 2015 NAPIMS
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