By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI.
The immediate past Minister of Science and Technology, Professor Chinedu Ositadinma Nebo,has called for a reform of science and technology education in Nigeria, if the country’s quest to join the league of developed nations would be realized.
Professor Nebo, who made the recommendation yesterday, while delivering the 31st Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, however wondered why institutions with electrical engineering departments, cannot take initiatives to power their institutions, using even solar panels.
“Something is definitely wrong in a system that produces mechanical engineers, who cannot change plugs in their own cars or architects who cannot design houses they will be proud and confident to live in”, Nebo said.
The former Minister opined that “there is now a great need for a technical committee or committees to carry out the diagnoses of the technological needs of Nigeria, sector by sector and appropriate measures prescribed.
He argued that since the Nigerian economy is being reconstructed to be private-sector, industries are expected to be the highest absorbers of labour, adding that to get the industries to be able to do so, a synergy with the science and technology component is only trite.
“In fact, Nigeria is exporting labour and employments, since the conversion of our primary products are done outside our shores by citizens of other countries. Consequently, each import of secondary products such as chocolates and fuel made from palm oil, cocoa and crude oil, we import unemployment and consign ours to a consumer economy”, Nebo lamented.
On what Nigeria should do in the circumstance, Professor Nebo said: “Nigerians also need reorientation. Superstition is not correlated with scientific existence. In Nigeria, superstition governs and colours even the national life. Ritual killings are pointing to the fact that some believe that money can be acquired through rituals with human blood”, Nebo said.
The former Minister also reasoned that another aspect of Nigerian national life that needs to be examined “is our life of extravagance”, pointing out that “Nigeria is only potentially rich”.