Nigeria needs to build technologies that are best suited for its people and environment instead of blindly accepting those from other countries, writes Kofo Babalola
There is a major shift that has taken place in the world. With the world at a standstill, many were forced to slow down even when they had strategies put in place to take them to the next level in their careers or in whatever ventures they were pursuing.
We had no freedom any longer as what we were able to do had to be carefully orchestrated by those in powerful positions. It is those that have control over a nation that have the power to steering the country in the direction that they choose. They have the ability to create change.
It takes time to create change, but it can be done quicker than expected by knowing the key to creating change. I believe technology is the key to change. When one thinks of technology, they envision a complex algorithm that needs to be put in place to create a complex structure.
This is not the case all the time as the technology could be as simple as developing ways to transition from fossil fuels to green energy. Wind turbines were first developed by an inventor in 1888 who goes by the name of Charles Brush. This is only just one way of harnessing energy naturally but before inventions like these, the thought of transitioning to green energy was just an abstract idea. What people like, Charles Brush did was to bring this idea into reality.
Change needs to happen, and it needs to happen fast. We as a nation need to not only look at what is happening now but plan ahead for what is to come. It was blatantly obvious that as a nation, like many others, were not prepared for the COViD-19 outbreak but especially as we barely have a well-built health care system put in place to solve basic illnesses let alone a disease that we never saw coming.
Although this disease has not taken a toll on our country, who knows what is coming next. Technology can solve this problem. As we develop strong bases that hone into the building of fresh and new technology that will help shape our future, many problems will be avoided.
Instead, as a nation, we barely look into the development of technology as it is seen as a waste of time and resources. I could not disagree more as I believe there is great versatility in the technologies that are built. It might seem as though it is only solving one problem at the moment, but you never know what problem that is around the corner that could use the same fundamental principles to create a solution. Not much was lost, right? I guess the problem is to zero down to the most important aspects of life to focus on.
The creating of solutions to the issues faced in this area is crucial in propelling us as a nation to the next level. It could take the development of one technology which could give Nigeria acknowledgment on a world stage, giving us a seat at the table in places that we never dreamt of, as we will have finally gained the respect of many nations.
This is a task that cannot be done single-handedly but with the help of those specialized in fields other than science as they educate one another on the crucial problems that the country or even the world faces today. All it takes is the building of an unbreakable network of those of high expertise in a particular area. We need to utilize all the resources that we can get a hold of.
Technology is the fuel to create change as we seek to develop our understanding of the world that we live in. For example, in the field of astronomy, much has to be developed to unlock the mysteries in space. Having witnessed the building of a fresh new technology to launch into space but didn’t have the opportunity to see it through till the end as it was a 2024 mission, I have seen the power that technology has to act as a catalyst in changing the world.
The technology helps us see what we cannot see and perform calculations that we are not capable of doing single-handedly. As a research assistant for Martin Caldwell at Rutherford Appleton laboratory in the year of 2018, I obsered the project that he was undertaking called the Lagrange Mission 2024 led by ESA company.
It was essentially a mission aimed to send an optical instrument onboard a satellite into space to observe and study, through the capturing of various pictures, the sun as it ejects hot plumes of plasma called Coronal Mass Ejections. The aim of the mission was to act as a weather warning system for the earth as the coronal mass ejections pose a threat on earth’s weather and atmosphere. The threat to the earth’s safety stems from the unpredictable nature of the sun. There is a lot of unknown that surrounds around space as it is the one place that is far out of our reach. This experience taught me the power of utilizing the things that are already known to us to aid the building of new technology.
One often thinks that the building of technology requires the mind of a brainiac to create a mind-blowing invention. This is not true. Although not all of us could be a Mark Zuckerberg, we could use the same simple steps taken by the pioneers of our time to help us create a path of our own. We don’t need to make an app as popular as Facebook, all we need is the steps he used to get to his destination of creating the app one of which was asking questions.
What is it that we can do to change the bad roads we see daily? Do we need to create a more efficient way of fixing our infrastructures without the implementations of foreign methods? We can create our own technologies to fix our roads as the technology created in China might not necessarily work for our country as our seasons are incomparable which affects the lasting nature of the infrastructure.
We need to strive to solve the problems that we face as a nation without the interference of foreign aid. How could we possibly trust them with our infrastructure and how do we know that they are doing the best and not looking for an easy way out. No one knows our country better than we do. We need to build technologies that are best suited to our country and not implement those that are used in other parts of the world.
Babalola is an Engineering student of the University College London