By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
The Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), the highest echelon of the nation’s engineering profession, has advocated the use of technology as panacea to economic development in Nigeria.
This was a major outcome at the Academy’s investiture of new fellows, and annual lecture tagged, “the Nigerian infrastructure Conundrum- the Missing Links”; held in Lagos recently.
The Guest Speaker, Chairman Amana Consortium Ltd, Engr. (Dr.) Edet Amana stated that technology and its application is the missing link in Nigeria’s infrastructure conundrum.
“As a result of failed infrastructure, the economic development of our country has suffered major setbacks and what is potentially a rich and great country has failed to develop her enormous potential over the years,” he said.
He stated that the World Economic Forum’s 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Index ranked Nigeria’s Infrastructure at the bottom – 132 out of 138 countries. According to that organization’s 2016 Executive Opinion Survey, the poor infrastructure is the largest constraint on doing business in the country, he said.
National, human, and economic development, require extensive interplay of the nation’s physical, social, organisational and knowledge infrastructures. The quantum and quality of development depend on the effectiveness of this interplay, he said.
“Hard data is replacing decision making based on observation, intuition, or experience in many areas of human endeavour. We saw this play out during the Covid-19 pandemic when, in the highly organised economies, the vast amount of data generated from GSM usage was used to predict the spread and therefore management of the Covid-19 disease,” he stated.
“An effective educational system will produce people who will effectively man the political system, the knowledge generation and application systems, the systems responsible for the provision of water, roads, etc. Similarly, a failed political system cannot provide the organizational framework necessary for the development of power supply, education, healthcare delivery or knowledge generation and application systems,” he said.
“Innovation is the process of making an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value and brings about positive change. The National Innovation System, NIS, is the flow of technology and information among people, enterprises, and institutions in a nation. This is key to the innovative process at the national and sub-national levels. Put simply NIS includes all the economic, political, and social factors which sustain the national development process,” he said.
“The National Bureau of Statistics publication of August 21, 2017 revealed that “on average, about one bribe is paid by every adult citizen of Nigeria to a public official and that the average amount paid in cash for a bribe is equivalent to a fourth of the average monthly salary.” The other form of corruption, which may be called non-financial corruption include, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, etc. These destroy confidence in the system and dull the competitive edge. The damage to the national ethos caused by non-financial corruption is as worse than that caused by financial corruption due to the absence of the legal framework to apprehend and punish those guilty of those forms of corruption,” he stated.
He stated that with effective application of technology, corruption can be curbed by extensive deployment of technology in all areas of our activities.
The out-going President, Nigerian Academy of Engineering, Engr. Prof Fola Lasisi stated that it was the responsibility of the Academy to ensure the advancement of the engineering education and practice through continuous learning, advocacy and strategic collaboration with relevant professional associations, government and industry.
Engineering and technology are known to help and enhance development in every aspect of human activities, he said.
The new President Nigerian institute of Engineering, Engr. Alexander Ogedegbe stated that his focus was in line with the new strategic plan of the Academy, which is to restructure the modus operandi and re-energise the content of the Academy’s activities more efficiently and effectively.
“With this new plan, all important initiatives, contributions to engineering, science and technology, national development and all achievements of the Academy, as a whole will reflect the quality of the input and dedication of all its Fellows,” he said.