By Funmi Ogundare
The Principal Consultant, Lonadek Oil and Gas, Dr. Ibilola Amao has expressed concern about the lackadaisical attitude of the federal government towards the Vision 2020 initiative founded in 2000 to place Nigeria as one of the 20 largest economies in the world.
Amao, who made this known, weekend, at the closing ceremony of a one week Vision 2020 youth empowerment initiative summer camp on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), for select public schools students, in Lagos, said, “ It is a very frustrating situation at the moment that the federal government has put little or no resources behind the initiative, neither have they invested enough in education and health.”
Vision 2020, she affirmed, should have been promoted amd pushed by the federal government of Nigeria, noting that the amount of money that education has been denied is at the expense of the income being earned and revenue being spent on senators in the country.
According to her, “If we could take 20 to 30 per cent of the money being spent or shared by politicians into education, Nigeria will not be where it is today. Countries that have succeeded have increased on an annual basis on budget allocation and education . Nigeria is failing woefully in the area of health and education. Without good health, you can’t be well educated and without good education , a country cannot achieve its full potentials.”
She said the essence of the STEM summer camp is to encourage talents to become game changers and problem solvers for a new Nigeria, adding, “A lot of things have gone wrong in this nation and we need people to begin to see solutions rather than just complaining about the issues and challenges for a country that is endowed with mineral and natural resources.
“Ironically, it is a consumer nation, it is sad. People are not educated, trained and developed to be able to create maximum value for our natural resources. So that is what this is about, such that they can begin to see that Nigeria does not need to be a dumping ground for all manners of products from all countries. We should be able to solve our own problems to transform our mineral resources into finished goods and create jobs for our people.”
On her assessment of the camp in the last one week, Amao said though most of the students came there with a mindset to study medicine or go abroad because they believe that engineering is a tough area to go into, but after been tutored on their talents, there was a change of mind from them.
“It is basically to help them see the pictures. You are basically born to create value for Nigeria to solve the enourmous problem,” the principal consultant said, adding they must also learn to develop patriotism in Nigeria and create a maximum value.
“I am a patriotic Nigerian, I was educated abroad, but returned to Nigeria after 11 years to establish a business and create value. So the camp is not just about creating intelligent talents, better professionals, technologists or leaders, but also explaining to them the importance of patriotism, the reason why they would want to be Nigerian and solve Nigeria’s problems. We want them to have the intent and their priority should be in confronting issues and challenges that face the nation.”
She however stressed the need for the country to ensure that the 2019 budget will be a total deviation from what we have at hand, adding that there should be an increase in human capital development in education.
The Public Affairs Manager for SASOL , Mrs. Toyin Cameron emphasised on personal branding, noting that what students post on social media matters a lot.
“The kind of social media profile and how students presents themselves online matters, as this will actually affects things like admission into the university, future jobs. So they have to be careful about what they post online. For instance, in 20 years time, someone may go there to pick it and it may negatively affect them in future.
“They should at this stage, begin to create a brand and profile that they would be proud of for themselves in future. There have been instances where people posted pictures that cost them their jobs and other political appointments.
“We re talking to the students now, they should be careful and try and clean up what they posted wrongly about themselves online. They can talk about the STEM camp, for instance, that they attended and what they have learnt. That shows a level of seriousness in what they are doing.”