NIGERIA OF MY DREAMS: MAKING IT HAPPEN WITH TECHNOLOGY
Dreams in Martin Luther King’s famous words “I have a dream” are said to be valid. Decades ago, our forefathers had a dream for an independent Nigeria. They fought colonization with so much zeal. Many of them were prepared to pay the supreme price. Eventually, their dreams gave birth to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. With over 200 ethnic groups when Nigeria gained her independence, the clips from the celebrations gave me an insight to the great expectations that heralded the event. However, the expectations are in contrast with where we are in the present situation in this century.
My country Nigeria is a country endowed with milk and honey by nature but greed and selfishness have eroded God’s free gift. Alas! Here we are still asking ourselves of what the Nigeria of our dreams is. Nonetheless, the world is full of dreamers and I happen to be one of them. First and foremost, I dream of a new Nigeria where security of lives and property is guaranteed. A Nigeria where basic amenities like potable water, electricity and good roads will be in existence, a Nigeria where there will be improved level of education up to world class standard.
Furthermore, I dream of a Nigeria where the term ‘Leaders of tomorrow’, actually refers to the youths and not the old men and women in power. A Nigeria where the future of unborn babies is secured and guaranteed is what I dream of, a Nigeria where public offices are seen as privilege and not war. Again, I dream of a Nigeria where job opportunities abound, a Nigeria where human rights are respected, a Nigeria where fraud becomes history. This dream is not a flying horse as many will regard it. However I have come to realize that making the Nigeria of my dreams come true without technology are synonymous to building ones castles in the air.
Today’s technology is way beyond the scope of what anyone in the past would have imagined. It has transferred man from his crude self to one capable of creating artificial intelligence. On one hand, Nigeria is the economic giant of Africa, a country with the human and material resources to shame others. On the other hand, it lags behind in technology adoption. Nigeria has invested little in technology over the past three decades. Despite being the largest producer of cassava in the world, Nigeria has lost its positions as a market leader to Thailand. Also, Nigeria used to be a world leader in the palm oil industry. Today, it is nowhere near the level of production enjoyed by Indonesia and Malaysia. Why? This is because the mentioned countries make use of better technology.
There are number of basic reasons for why Nigeria remains relatively inhospitable to technological process. One of them is that the government does not value technology as much as they should. It feels to me that our priorities are misplaced. If there is any sector where money should be violently infused, it should be technology where we can innovate to reduce costs of government operations, supporting businesses and creating new opportunities for the unemployed, thereby building the Nigeria of my dreams.
Another reason is the lack of trust or understanding of technology on the part of Nigerians. Basically there is a lack of education generally in Nigeria about the potential of technology due to lack of solid implantations of technology, we witness technology fail all around us regularly. Sadly, some people refer to the ability to operate some basic gadgets as being technologically inclined. However, it is not. We have Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that debit peoples’ accounts without giving them money, we have internet providers that are not consistent in delivering us high speed internet and having dropped called and getting scammed by your phone company is a normal occurrence. There are so much technological failures which have led to a wrinkled faith in technology but we should always have in mind that no system is perfect. However technology is the best way to building the steadfast Nigeria of my dreams.
Nevertheless, to make the Nigeria of my dreams come true, we as Nigerians need to trust things made in Nigeria. This to me is probably the saddest of all. Our people simply do not trust technology with the ‘Made in Nigeria by Nigerians’ stamp. They would rather buy things from other countries even our so called leaders. Then I wonder how we build the independent Nigeria of my dreams with this mentality. Also, the government should support technology and believe in it. Technology just like other sectors in Nigeria needs improvement and it does not stand on its own. It needs improvement from other sector also.
In order to improve technology so many sectors need to be improved first. The power sector needs to be improved, our educational sector needs to be improved and we need brilliant brains to push for innovations and inventions not an educational system based on ancient syllabus. Also, our industrial sector needs to be improved also, which is very important. Moreover, our mindsets needs to be improved, we need to eradicate corruption, have a changed mindset that locally made products are good than imported products or commodities. More so, students must be motivated to aspire to high technological competence. Technology of Nigeria’s educational sector must be improved.
Furthermore, embracing technology in Nigeria would mean embracing transparency, which exposes corruption and will force us to deal with it in our system and that is just not what a lot of people are looking for now. It will lead to the changing of hands in power and wealth in our society, which is not exciting to a lot of people. However, technology is the only means to build a corruption free Nigeria of my dreams.
In addition to this, technology represents a way for developing nations to foster economic development, improve levels of education, training and way of life. Technology touches the lives of all people in several basic ways on a daily basis, affecting the manner in which people obtain their food, transpiration, clothing and housing. Also, technology systems will provide a great increase in the speed of communication, make mass production possible, and reduce physical labour for human being.
It was once said by T.E Lawrence that ‘All men dream, but not equally’. For a mother who is probably a petty trader whose capital is not enough for a television subscription hits a road block because she can never afford to save and send her son abroad for surgery. In her state of despair, if asked what the Nigeria of her dreams is, she would most likely tell you that a free, accessible and quality healthcare system is all that clouds her thought. In the same way, I will tell you that “The Nigeria of my dreams” lies in the heart of that father who lost his house and belongings to fire because the fire service did not respond on time.
Technological advancement had always been a lip-service in Nigeria. But now is the time to take actions and improve the nation’s technology. The Nigeria of my dreams is to live in a new Nigeria where everybody’s dream can be achieved and there is no other way to make this a reality without technology. I know turning my dreams into a reality is not going be a nine- day wonder and only persistency and determination can do it. Nations, individual leaders and the masses must all act responsibly. The Nigeria of my dreams is the country where everyone’s dreams are fulfilled and a place where our dreams will not remain lucid and I strongly believe that with technology we will get there. Persistency is the key to success.