Third world countries and dependence on technology| Rachael Ogunmuyiwa

Power supply gets interrupted for some hours and everyone becomes angsty. As soon as the mobile phones of most go off, life seems to end. The scenario which played out last week only left me curious about the danger of our lives being controlled by a higher power in the name of globalization. Obviously, phone and laptop have assumed the centre of all my engagements; when I am not typing or reading or writing on my laptop, I am chatting or reading on my phone. This danger which scared me first came to my realization when, after a three weeks’ holiday, I could no longer, properly, hold a pen to write in class.

While still batting in the regretful euphoria of what my life would be should my phone and laptop get stolen, I began to reflect on the many dangers of many who are also in my shoes. As a result, I decided on an appraisal of my situation. I asked: what has made my gadgets to assume the nucleus of my life?

“Since you could no longer afford to buy books.” Poverty replied. And yes, undoubtedly, that was how it began. Thanks to financial constraint, I have been tossed onto the motherly lap of e-books. There are others too in my shoes. This only opens my eyes to the ripple effect of bad leadership and governance in any human society. I am not saying the federal government is responsible for everyone’s poor condition of living. But I recall quite well that I had failed to prepare adequately for a test; the power supply was interrupted for two days and so, I could not read. If we had had good governance, I think epileptic power supply should not still be our problems.

“I am here because corruption has permeated every system”, poverty boasts further.

Indeed, should one give in to deep thinking, we would also realize that for a third world country like ours, technology has been causing more destruction than good. The pattern plays out as follows:

Bisi is an unemployed graduate with an android phone. Not knowing what to do with her life, she takes to watching movies, chatting and playing games all day long. This becomes a routine, at least, she feeds her idleness. There are many Bisi, who, as long as they do not get gainful employment, would remain a clog in the wheel of our collective progress.

Meanwhile, in the past, while the situation of epileptic power supply only used to concern those whose sources of income were tied to it. This includes people like welders, steel engineers, and industrial business owners. However, the post-modern era has brought in a more sophisticated dimension to our world whose soul needs silence; almost everyone owns an android phone, everyone is on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and what have you. Even unemployment has something to feed his idleness with through the precariously increasing social media platforms.

Adenle, a social blogger and artiste has this to say, “So true, after your phone battery dies, you sit to plan your life; and then, BOOM!!! NEPA brings back the light. Plan suspended.”  Except if one would feign ignorance of reality, this vividly captures the situation of many in the technology-driven society. The distraction is best described as “everywhere you go”.  There are unfortunately a lot of individuals, young or old, who are alarmingly addicted to their phones; it is the first thing they reach out for as soon as their eyes see the opening of the morning. Are you not one of them? How do we grow as a nation if that which we ought to master becomes our master? As a third world nation, are we rightly driven by technology?

On a flip side, however, Raymond, a student, and writer who depends on adequate power supply reveals, “Technological gadgets ease my access to information gathering, processing, and dissertation, access to educational platforms online: e-books, the list is endless. However, it has brought about undue exposure to profanities like obscene videos, overdependence on technological gadgets.”

Addressing his dependence on gadgets and the availability of power supply, he says while the availability of power supply enables him to use the aforementioned facilities, the lack of it inhibits him. Furthermore, he says, “The wastage of time and resources in making ends meet when there is power cut are negatives. Reading, of course, is made impossible. My laptop has been down for weeks now.”

On both sides, we see how non-availability of power supply could make life unbearable in a global world where almost everything is tied to technology. Obviously as well, many are yet to tap into the many opportunities offered by technological just as there are impediments faced by those who are exploring these opportunities.

Can we rightly utilize technology to tackle some of our problems as a nation?

In the face of inability to secure white-collar job, self-employment is one of the ways out but the government has to concern itself with making the environment viable for innovative productivity. Nigeria, as a third world country, cannot fully secure a place of technological advancement if the masses who depend on technological gadgets do not enjoy adequate power supply.

On the other hand, Nigerians, especially the youth, need to learn to utilize the opportunity offered by technology. There is a cycle of irresponsibility on the part of the government and stakeholders in respect to education and since no nation can rise above the quantity and quality of education of its citizens, we need to begin to embrace self-education through e-learning.

Finally, it must still be expressed that everything all falls back on the kind of leadership we have. E-learning cannot be effective if the masses are not delivered from issues which include epileptic power supply, poor network service, and the high cost of living. Dear reader, which way?

Rachael Ogunmuiywa is a final-year student of the Department of English, University of Ibadan.

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