Written By Olasoji Alabi
I have written on something around this before but I woke up feeling some kind of unease as my head kept spinning around how much easier my work as well as my life would have been if we had indigenous technology to solve major problems in Nigeria.
I was invited to a TV station to discuss my business, recycling and it’s impacts on the environment and it struck me yet again how terrible we lagged behind when it came to technological advancement.
Nigeria basically has NO modern technology, none at all. It is my believe that we probably would have had some sort of technology in the very early centuries but it looks like we are now so lazy about solving our own problems or owning anything we could call ours and we have left any sort of technological advancement or technological innovation to other people and countries.
Perhaps, I am unaware but I’d love to be prompted on some modern technology or any technology at all that is applicable in this present world that we could call our own.
We use to have our own textile, leather tanning, pot making and bronze casting indigenous technology but I am almost certain that those technologies have not been built on after so many years.
We are a society with so many problems, from electricity to road to housing to manufacturing to what have you but we can not boast of being able to provide any solutions that we created by ourselves. All the solutions for our societal problems are imported.
There should be a wide spread awareness at the government quarters on indigenous technologies and its advancement as this is suppose to be the bedrock of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are major drivers of many developing countries. Unfortunately, what we have in Nigeria are businesses with importation models thriving on the technological defunct, which shouldn’t be.
In my sector, you have people importing machinery consumables as little as bolts and nut. This is indeed sad because you’d expect that a country like ours with our magnitude of mineral resources including iron ore, will be self sufficient on any thing as regards to iron fabrication.
This brings me to ask what exactly we are about, with our universities and education system.
How could we possibly have a thriving economy when we are built and centered around just use and we leave out creation.
When there are problems especially those that persist for a long time, time gives room for environmental tailored solutions which ought to be the case with many of the problems we have in Nigeria but it looks like we just waste the time we ought to use solving those problems on lazily importing the solutions.
We have a flawed educational system which need a thorough revamp.
One very important education regulatory body we have in Nigeria is the National Universities Commission (NUC). The NUC was established in 1962 and one of its main mandates is ensuring quality assurance of all academic programmes offered in Nigerian Universities. This brings me to ask if it could be said that the NUC has not indeed failed woefully if we have academia that will never be able to solve practical issues in the society, issues that are directly related to academic studies.
We should hold to account, the bodies especially the National Universities Commission (NUC) that should be ensuring our university educational system is tuned to solving practical and societal issues .
The NUC should be working with the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure the creation of modern and practical national policies for tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
Yet again we have decided to spend billions of our hard earned naira to seek Siemens Energy’s technology for our electricity. I wonder again what all our electrical engineering professors are doing after over 60 years of same challenges in the country’s power sector.
Egypt has 100% of its population having full access to quality electricity provision with Egypt harnessing their high wind and sunlight to generate 20% of this electricity provision. They have moved from issues of power generation to looking at increasing the green energy generation to 40% of total power generated.
The leaders of a society are a reflection of the people of the society so I would not be able to pin this just on our leaders. From the students to the lecturers to the leadership of the universities and then our leaders, we all have our roles to play. We should put on very optimistic view of what the country should become and work towards building from our own little space.
So I say, that as a student and scholar, do your best to making sure that you learn with the sole aim of solutions provision. To the lecturers and professors who share a large part of the burden, creation of a safe space for students to express themselves and practical approaches that will make students and scholars believe that the academia has a major influence on economic and societal growth.
For our leaders, provision of a safe space for the academia should be the paramount objective of any society that wants to see growth and positive global inclusion.
I am highly hopeful about our Siemens Energy project because its success will be of immense benefit to us but we as a people need to look inward in finding solutions to our problems.
Also, I hope we can move in coming times to becoming more of creators than users because for us to have a competitive economy, we will have to be able to use our own scientific methods to solve our problems as a society.