If Nigerians Knew The Power Of Technology They Would Not Accept Electricity Failure

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If Nigerians Knew The Power Of Technology They Would Not Accept Electricity Failure
Ndidi Uwechue
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12th February 2020

The simplest definitions for TECHNOLOGY on the internet are “Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes” and also “Technology is applying scientific knowledge to find answers and fix problems. It is the usage of science and scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Technology includes methods, systems, and devices”.

 

Some bright minds have classified human technological development into four, ie The Four Ages Of Technology:

  • The Pre-mechanical Age: 3000 B.C.- 1450 A.D.
  • The Mechanical Age: 1450 – 1840
  • The Electromechanical Age: 1840 – 1940
  • The Electronic Age: 1940 – Present

 

Black Africa is currently the world’s least in terms of technological development. We had started off well in the ancient millennia B.C. with Kemet (Ancient Egypt), Nubia, and Ethiopia, but since about 600 A.D. or thereabouts our technological advance began to slow down.

 

Several reasons have been put forward for Sub-Saharan Africa’s current relative technological backwardness. Some blame the climate. Others blame slavery and colonization. However for Nigeria, corruption by those in power, ie civil servants and politicians has been the chief reason since Independence in 1960 for the failure to leapfrog into the future.

 

The assumption circulating around is that Nigeria being rich in natural resources is therefore a rich country. So Nigerians generally seem to think that ultimately things will go well in the end because the country is “blessed” with an abundance of natural resources. This supposition is misleading because it is not natural resources that make rich. It is TECHNOLOGY that gives the ability to create wealth and that makes an individual, and a nation rich.

 

Technology is required to firstly identify that a natural resource whether plant, animal or mineral is of value. Technology is then needed to mine, harvest, purify and refine that valuable natural resource. Furthermore, continuous technology is needed to keep on finding ways of transforming that natural resource so that it can become useful and valuable components.

 

Without technology we would not know that the crystals in rocks scattered all over our land are diamonds! Without technology we would not be able to harvest those diamonds. Without technology we would not be able to put those diamonds to use, for our benefit and that of the world. Without technology we would remain poor and ignorant, not knowing that we are actually surrounded by potential riches.

 

Take Japan for instance. It is a land not gifted with much natural resources. Yet, Japan is a rich country and the people live full lives. Why? Because they value technology and make technology the basis of their economy and lifestyle.

 

Another example would be a farmer who has a bountiful mango orchard. However, without the technology to preserve the fruit in some way, then the technology to transport his goods to market, his produce will rot, and he will be under-earning. It is because of not developing relevant technology that most of Africa’s farmers remain SUBSISTENCE farmers. While their counterparts in the West, many with much less land at their disposal, are called HOMESTEADERS able to make a good living and enjoy the fruits of their labour, because they create and use technology!

 

In advanced countries technology has pride of place. Emphasis is given to the STEM Subjects which are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students at universities and those who go on to train to teach these subjects tend to qualify for bursaries, while those who study other subjects do not have these special funds made available to them. This is to encourage STEM among teenagers and young people, plus to impress on their societies the importance of technology in their economies plus in their high standard of living.

 

Sustaining modern technology is electricity. Electricity is therefore the game changer – without it, Nigerians are completely kept out of the game of technology. Many people, particularly in rural areas, do not even have access to electricity at all. But throughout the country there is no regular grid supply of electricity anywhere. When the electricity goes off, many people stop doing what they were doing, business stops, learning stops, and Nigeria regresses.

 

Given that Nigeria’s leaders (civil servants and politicians) constantly travel to Western countries for one reason or another, for medical tourism, plus significantly, ensure that their children study there, they know the importance of technology in bettering the economy and lives of citizens. Plus they know the role that electricity plays from what they see and enjoy in the West. Yet, all pleas by citizens and civil society to get the electrification of Nigeria done have gone unheeded.

 

Time is quickly passing and without electricity Nigeria remains stuck in the Mechanical Age. The future will be bleak for our children and grandchildren should Nigeria not join the technology revolution. The world will certainly not wait for Nigeria! Because of lack of electricity the door to being part of modernity is closing fast, and if nothing is done to electrify the country, it will be firmly shut. Then Nigerian youths and children will be in outer technology darkness. Excluded from economic well-being and from experiencing the excitement of living in a world of innovations, intelligence and progress. It is already happening, but Nigeria will also become increasingly inconsequential and irrelevant in global decision-making and thus in international affairs.

 

The last word to those if any, who still hold the opinion that being rich in natural resources means being rich. Consider this: For decades now Africa’s natural resources have been scooped out, pumped out, and exported. So as foreign countries are amassing them, we are depleting our own store. Who knows but one day we will find our natural resources are now stockpiled abroad and we will have to buy them from those we once sold them to!

 

The 21st century is a TECHNOCENTRIC one and winners are not those who have natural resources– they can always be imported, but are those with the best technology. Recent history and Nigeria’s current poverty-ridden state show that having natural resources is pointless if we do not develop the technology to make them benefit us. It is technology that makes rich, not natural resources. We need a different orientation that acknowledges the importance and power of science, innovation and technology. The new normal for Nigeria should be that TECHNOLOGY is the most precious thing in the world – not natural resources!

 

 

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