New Telegraph

Why incoming administration should prioritise job creation, by Christopher

Vinkmag ad

Coordinator of Nigerian Technology Takeoff (NTT), Wiseben Christopher, in this interview with EMMANUEL MASHA, sets agenda for the incoming administration. He also speaks on how the Federal Government can tap into local technology to transform the economy

What particular area should the next president focus on to douse tension in the aftermath of the election?

The next government at the federal level must as a necessity focus on how to utilize the high energy of the youths. The youth have both re and negative energies that dictate their productive levels. If you help them identify their positive energies, encourage them to put them into productive ventures then you would have succeeded in destroying their negative energies. Economic experts and psychologists have since recognised the dangerous effect of idleness in the development of humans. The saying that ‘an idle man is the devil’s workshop’ has been around for centuries. I don’t know who first used the expression, but right in our eyes we see young men and women who are supposed to be working and helping our economy to make progress, engaging in shameful and despicable activities. The youth are the present and the future of this country. Once you disappoint them by not helping them to develop their God-given talent, then you have laid a bad foundation for the future. So, the next government should strengthen the Ministry of Labour and Productivity; make it more efficient with a widened scope to work with other agencies or ministries to prioritise youth development.

Some of the violence acts witnessed during the elections were perpetuated by the youth. Why is it that some youths fall victims easily?

Again, it goes back to the first point I made about idleness and unemployment. When a politician wants to play outside the room of the game by attacking opponents, he or she won’t recruit people within their age group. They would go for the youth, who have the energy to deliver for them. Over the years, we have realised that it is very easy for politicians to convince young people without hope or aspirations to destroy rather than to use them to build. We all saw how young men went on the rampage on elections day to snatch ballot boxes and harass voters in the areas where their paymasters didn’t stand a chance of winning. Some people will tell you that without such a scenario taking place, then the Nigerian election is incomplete. It is that kind of mindset that we are trying to destroy through positive mind engagement and practical solutions to unemployment. I can say categorically that a politician will find it extremely difficult to convince a youth with a plan and vision to go out there and put his life at risk.

What are the areas that you have expertise at NTT and what are the factors that are working against the country’s technological advancement?

We have set up modern-day technology to accomplish infrastructural programmes like road construction/maintenance, hospitals/ health centres among others. Based on our interactions with political leaders over the years, we have discovered that the biggest challenge to industrialisation lies in how to source the funds needed for the day-to-day administration and maintenance of the aforesaid facilities. We believe that such facilities should be encouraged in our economic life as a people, we also rely and sustain them by looking inwards. We can achieve that by raising our standard and by not allowing politics, religion or tribal sentiment to interfere with our industrialization vision. We have the capacity to create up to a million jobs for our people. I means jobs that are eco-friendly sustainable jobs. This will transform lives and boost household income that will give access to modern social lives facilities.

What has been the biggest challenge facing NTT since it was established?

As you know, NTT is an assemblage of highly experienced engineers, builders, creators, and innovators who create jobs through technology and innovations. We are focused on ensuring that the country industrialises rapidly. At NTT we have thinkers, builders, improvers and production experts, and creators who collaborate to prepare Nigerians for highly industrial products and services. We aim to create jobs for our people and make them productive by offering them the chance to become role players in the country’s economy. In a nutshell, our aim is to ignite economic growth and expansion. We pay serious attention to homemade Nigerian tech. In our midst, we have thinkers, builders, Improvers and producers. At NTT we identify each and every individual citizen, resident, or foreigner for their mental and physical abilities in the economic advancement of a united Nigeria. It is all about industrial induction, tutelage, and professionalism. We want to achieve economic growth, and make the country self-reliance by creating job opportunities for the highest qualified down to the least qualified. We have the technological know-how to create jobs for the crippled, deaf/dumbs except the blind, of which we are still configuring programmable sequence for. The biggest challenge we are facing at NTT is the unpredictable nature of the Nigerian economy. We have our plans that are working for us in line with government regulatory norms, but you and I know that the government can wake up one morning and come up with new laws that might affect our operations. The issue of unemployment is mostly felt in our towns and communities due to the lesser opportunities in such places. But some towns and communities have their peculiar cottage industries that have been dumped for white collar jobs. How can these cottage industries be revived in order to create jobs? We have always maintained that job creation globally is not that easy and simple. Our industrial revival initiative also covers our local communities that boast of some cottage industries. NTT plans to create economic initiatives through almost all eco-friendly sustainable deposits found in water, fire, air and earth within the country for our collective survival. The availability of raw-materials or nearness to raw-materials is a primary factor that governs location of industries. For example, ship building and maintenance yards can easily be located in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri, which boast of vibrant water ways. Similarly, oil refinery facilities can be established in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states because they have oil. Whatever action we take will be influenced by the availability of power, transport costs, nearness to the market, availability of labor, climatic conditions, location of industries, momentum of early start, and political factors.

There is this thinking among some political leaders that the best way to create jobs is through direct foreign investment, which one can hardly fault. What should we do to create jobs from within rather than depending on foreign investors, who can easily withdraw their investments when the opportunity comes?

First, I would like to say that I have nothing against foreign investors bringing in their resources the purpose of setting up industrial concerns or any other form of business that you can think of provided it is lawful. We have to understand the fact that no economy exists in isolation. You need pockets of investors to compliment what is on ground to create more jobs and for economic growth. What I am completely against is the over-dependent on foreign investors to drive industrialization forward. Across the country, we have highly qualified engineers, industrialists and other investors that can help us shape or path to industrialization. Right now, the country depends much on importation rather than manufacturing. As a country we have all what it takes to allow local manufacturing to take root, in order to depend less on importation. In simple economics, an importing economy is already disadvantaged in international trade. So, we have to look inwards and create the enabling environment for industrialization to thrive. We need to start with the little things like roads, water, and power. We should also embrace maintenance culture. We must effectively utilize some of the things we have been able to put in place without running them aground. For instance, the country has three refineries but none is working. What happened to the Delta Steel Company in Aladja? How is NAFCON faring in Onne? What happened to the Ajaokuta Steel Company? What happened to the Nigerian Airways? I can go on and on.

What exactly do you mean by technology take-off?

It is very simple. It means the resolve to utilize locally sourced technology to aid industrialisation and manufacturing. For more than six decades after independence, we have been relying mostly on borrowed technology and neglected our own technology. We have our own indigenous technology that we are supposed to refine and get greater output. But because we have solely depended on imported technology, we have denied ourselves the opportunity to grow. So, we are saying that the time has come for real technological advancement to commence in the country. Based on research, technology is best utilized when adapted to the peculiar circumstances a country faces. We are not saying that you cannot import technological knowhow; we are also not saying that technology has not benefited us as a country and as a people. All what I am saying is that there is power, innovation and potency in local technology that can lead us to industrialization. Take a country like the United States of America for example. It wasn’t until Gerald Ford changed the face of the automobile industry that cars became more accessible to Americans. He achieved that through local technology that other countries later emulated. With NTT, we want the world to know that Nigeria is not just the giant of Africa because it is the largest economy in Africa. Rather, we want to promote the fact that we have our own technology and that through industrialization the country can become a major manufacturing hub like China. I know this sounds somehow, but it is achievable. Employable job opportunities will rain down ranging for the highest qualified down to least unqualified Cripples, deaf/dumbs and able body mentally sound destitutes, except for the blind, of which we are still configuring programmable sequence for the sect, on due acceptance of our conditionality by the Nigerian National Assembly, most importantly, this is truly homemade Nigerian tech.

Why is it that successive governments, both at the federal and state levels always struggle when it comes to providing jobs for the unemployed?

The Nigerian nation’s formation is like that of the former Soviet Union which had more than fifteen nations, but still had solid technology. But in Nigeria we are yet to utilize our diversity technologically. We are not enterprising enough to appreciate the fact that each of the country’s ethnic group boasts of local technology that can be improved upon and utilized on a wider scale. So, there will be no better time than now for Nigerian technically take-off.

Read Previous

Guber Poll: APC, INEC manipulations denied us victory in 20 states –PDP

Read Next

2023 Polls: Echoes of Electoral Offences Commission

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular