Engr. Agada Sunday Ojonimi is the founder of IKANI MEV & GIS. He invented the e-voting machine, contactless speed limit alert device amongst many others, he is optimistic that Nigeria’s economy can change when more focus is put in the Ajaokuta steel company. BINTA SHAMA reports.
The Ajaokuta Steel Company
The Ajaokuta steel complex is a very big project that can turn the Nigerian economy around in a short while if the necessary attention given to it. The problem I see in this is that the federal government gave it to a foreign company without local content being designed, so I felt the major reason for the failure of the Ajaokuta steel complex is this and if it was an indigeneous project everything would have been put in place, where things could have been fabricated with our own home technology. Foreign technology is very important and shouldn’t be 100% . Nigeria should learn not to depend solely on foreign impact but rather have an equal or almost equal ratio in collaborating with other technologies.
It is expedient that Nigeria should look inwards to use her own indigeneous engineers and ask them to bring things together and design a formidable steel plant that can be used to anchor our steel production. As we all know foreign steel production is still in play. The westerners wouldn’t want Nigeria to grow technologically because to build a war shield, amour tank roads and other bridges infrastructures are all depended on steel. Nigeria steel market is functioning we have the best without foreign input and yet we have no market for mass production, foreign exchange, it is expedient to have it in that capacity. It is expedient to have modular mass production steel market and we start growing to a bigger plant so that we can have a consistent production.
All we need is to design whether we have coal in Nigeria, we can further process it into coal by heating it in absence of oxygen. All this isn’t rocket science. You don’t need any technology, all we need is thinking and strategizing. All we need is take our furnace to a capacity we can manufacture. Copying technology is allowed, we can send our own to go and look into foreign products on how it is manufactured or how the plant works. They copy and replicate i.e.what we call copy technology for no one is a monopoly of knowledge. All it does is to add efficiency and style to the already known knowledge you have to scale up your own production.
Govt should task engineers
Just like NNPC, I was privileged to serve in Kaduna refinery and petrol chemicals. The problem with we Nigerians is that we allow the Japanese to create everything for us, we refuse to recreate them and once issues arise, we rush to them for solutions. Nigerian government should task their engineers and technicians working in that area to be able to replicate those systems. It is a problem because when they breakdown, we begin to waste monies to buy parts when we can fabricate this here. There should be a role that the aim and objective after a particular period is replicated, this system are monitored by the people covering and handling the sector.
There should be a workshop where prototype of what they are handling is regenerated and created so that incase of any failure, they will carry-on without any foreign input. With this, we will be able to replicate refineries, we will not necessarily need the input and services of foreigners to come and set up a refinery here afresh, government should make it mandatory. That is why we have engineers, they are basically for designing structures in order to perform in an optimum manner, that’s why we have people who go to study engineering. To go to the university of technology and study engineering or a technology university to ensure its graduates come with their own models and (prototype), government funding and implementing it. We now have our own technology, that if anything goes wrong, we have our own engineers that will fix it not requiring the services of foreign technology that they cannot fix. That shows that we aren’t ready because if I as a Nigerian engineer has a design technology, I will need to sell to the Japanese except I train them, it will be left for me to maintain the system for them so it is vice versa.
We should have a culture of technology, it is already eroded to worsen the situation, the foundation we need on technology is different from the ones the kids have these days. We have what we call introduction to technology but today, it isn’t mentioned at all.
The picture of science and technology in Nigeria is supposed to be hinged on the younger generation. Science and technology education, is supposed to be from the grass root. I am of the opinion that science and technology should be enshrined into our educational sector and the federal government should give preference to science and technology in their part time than ever before because a lot of opportunities are bound in the I.T, most of the manufacturing processes are I.T driven and no longer only mechanical system are being automated. That is, the industrial revolution and the present I.T revolution are a merger to make things work faster and better. The government should ensure that every level of education should be introductory to technology every step of the way. The younger generation should be encouraged to read this and not just going to do a single honour course where they can’t be innovative. But if we have more of science and technology in this country, there would be a lot of job opportunities. Even one who reads I.T, can be self-employed e.g. the development of android application will not be possible if you aren’t science driven, it will be a mirage- all these areas of opportunities today drones are being controlled by android application, switches are becoming digital, you know we develop app to control technology.
Need an App
Nigeria has to develop an app for the manpower that would mount her technological platform for the remaining century because several opportunities are being created by each dispensation. We are in the I.T revolution where Nigeria is to take the lead just like the Chinese. We are supposed to look into developing our android app, systems, phone, printed circuit board that is supposed to house the programme used for automation. We are to develop our own printed circuit board and not purchase it and design our own prototype that can be used to solve any digital problem like security, traffic light system, access control we are supposed to be programming the controllers. This is the only way we can have our own home grown technology, we are in charge in the programming of the system, building of the printed circuit board and in the overall stall in terms of industrialization of the Ajaokuta steel.
Technology is technology once we have it in place, diversifying it now becomes a thing of the past and then this will create job opportunities for us as a nation and there won’t be need for Nigerians to travel far and suffer apatite, racism etc. We have what it takes to to accommodate plenty and yet we are still looking for manpower from other African and foreign countries to come and work.