New Telegraph

February 29, 2024

Nigeria and tech issues, challenges

Fred Nwaozor Pedestal

T here’s absolutely no doubt enthusing that Nigeria is a great country, but how greatly has she thus far fared in tech issues and allied matters? The above is a candid and succinct question we must genuinely attend to if, as a people, we are truly determined to arrive at a definite destination. If the fact must be stated in regard to the above enquiry, anyone who truly understands the situation here would boldly assert that Nigeria is nowhere to be found on the world map whenever tech-driven matters are being discussed.

This is the reason the concerned authorities are requested to sit up with a view to addressing the ugly and pathetic circumstance without further ado by facing the realities squarely at all cost, solely in the overall interest of the citizenry. Facing the facts as expected would enable the relevant quarters to henceforth jettison every parameter or iota of temptation that would make the governments at all levels to continue to dwell on retrogressive issues when progressive ones are seriously needed. For us as a nation to get it right, we are required to commence from the education sector.

The area in question is presently bearing a deplorable and pitiable physiognomy, yet virtually no tangible step is being taken towards alleviating the obvious plight of the sector. Nigeria has conspicuously grown of age that, by now, she’s meant to holistically realize that no existing nation becomes great, particularly in the field of technology, without duly embracing education. At her present age, she shouldn’t be reminded of the inevitable impact of education on a country’s quest for development and innovations. Nigeria is unarguably not getting any younger, hence the compelling need for her to hold the bull by the horn in her apparent quest to reach the next level. It’s therefore high time she started doing the needful for the benefit of all.

The current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, not unlike the past ones, has laid so much emphasis on technology. It ought to be told, without equivocations, that the people are losing patience with regard to the numerous promises of the government in terms of technology. In the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-7) held in Japan in August, 2019, President Buhari stated, “Our administration has identified important sectors that are key drivers to the diversification of the economy.

“These include power, transportation, infrastructure, maritime/ shipping, agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, petrochemicals, food processing and textiles, among others. We consider these sectors as priority areas that will drive our economic agenda.” Time has really come to start walking the talking. It’s imperative to acknowledge that this lofty agenda as presented in Tokyo cannot be well achieved without prioritizing technology, which depends majorly on researches. It’s indeed a shame that an average university in Nigeria, that’s supposed to be a research-oriented institution, can barely boast of the needed facilities to thrive in the area of creation of patents let alone commercializing them. The country can at the moment hardly boast of functional technical colleges across the federation, yet the leaders keep ‘informing’ the world that they are doing the right things.

These colleges used to be viable in the past, and tremendously helped in grooming our young ones in skills acquisition in various fields ranging from automobile, electrical/electronic services, sculpturing, wood work, to painting, and what have you. It’s noteworthy that on a regular basis, the Nigeria’s budget allocates about merely 9 per cent to the education sector, contrary to the 20% stipulation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We need to restore the lost glory of the country’s educational system by placing it as a priority.

A hub needs to be created by the governments towards enabling the youth to aptly thrive in the area of Information Technology (IT), which is gradually dominating the global space, thereby making it look like just a village. IT has obviously come to stay, thus must be fully embraced by all and sundry. The fact remains that Nigeria abound with the required talents as regards technology or technicallyinclined issues. What the government needs to do is to create an enabling environment to allow the talented ones to wholly develop and sell their patents. The country can’t be technologically great when the needful is being swept under the carpet on a daily basis.

The concerned leaders must, therefore, be very courageous in their quest to get it right. Understanding that the presence of adequate tech hub drastically changes the economic outlook of any country involved, is enough reason to place its content ahead of others. Each day, the governments at all levels come up with empty promises and policies as regards tech-driven activity and innovation.

The politicians at the country’s helm of affairs have unequivocally, over the donkey’s years, failed us in this regard. The steady economic fluctuation is another glaring factor that cannot be swept under the carpet. This particular plight has left Nigerians tech experts with no choice than to becloud their reasoning with uncertainties and fear of the unknown.

The good news is that, in spite of the lingering hurdles and challenges, the prospects of the country’s tech value remain obviously great, perhaps owing to the fathomless resources lying fallow. Hence, the relevant bodies must henceforth look inwards with a view to doing only the needful. The fact is that, as a people, our tech sector cannot move an inch if there are no available wholesome policies. More so, the policies can’t work if the needed political is obviously missing. It suffices to say that, as the required policies are being created, we must equally endeavor to aptly implement them by wearing the needed will like clothe. Think about it.

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