How To Make Innovation Work In Nigeria|Folaranmi Monday

The Swiss Story

In 2019, Switzerland was named the best country in the world for the highest numbers of innovation; for the ninth uninterrupted year. Dwarfing all other European countries, and even eclipsing the most technological inclined nations like China and the United States. Switzerland solely created their own planet. Only countries with similar competitive spirit came close. The Swiss encourage what other countries deter, and are getting unprecedented result, and a somewhat monopolized success.

Thus, it is no surprise how a nation of 8.57 million keeps up with booming and robust economies of the world. The secret of their success is a puzzle of many pieces finely needled together; savvy political framework; enticing platform and environment; will of creativity by citizens; and sound alertness to the education system. The embrace and deep projection of these policies is key for a green and glistening future in Nigeria. 

The Nigerian Tale

The political structure of any country presupposes the realization of these outlined blueprints. With evidence we need not divert to, the political regulatory framework in Nigeria stifles innovation. The economy system in practice is a ‘confused’ economic system, rather than mixed economy it is said to be. Major sectors that should serve as hub of governmental control are privatized, or at worst, offer poor services if not privatized. For instance, the instability of electricity is an undeniable bane of innovation.

In this jet age, how can any polity cope with the technological advancement and thrive without power? The sustainability of private industries and companies rely on their own generated power supply. This is just one of the few areas the Nigerian government is failing.

The Nexus between Electricity and Innovation

To have a chance of spurring the attitude of the citizenry, educated and illiterate, to embrace flair of creativity; stable and quality power should be made available at affordable costs to all persons. Even so, before God started his creation, the first thing He made available was light. Light is life, and only if we have that light can we remodel, reshape, and draw out its inherent and potential sweetness of life (Inventions and Innovations). The essence of electricity is as old as the world: Its modern discovery by Benjamin Franklin made way for other inventions which has, and still making the planet a much more comfortable habitation. 

Imagine a world with a kind of power supply in Nigeria? It simply implies no electricity, no innovation! And we’ll all be stuck with crudity and neolithic lifestyle. There will be no internet, no Satellite, no Smartphone etc. And we will even have to submit this essay manually. That’s a lot of stress. Then one move further to think about activities we execute daily and conveniently using electricity. Without it, the stress will be endless.

Creation of Stimulating Environment

Furthermore, the right governance and governmental scheme in place will sure mold an innovative environment, and give people the itch to create, invent and innovate. Just as it gave Nikola Tesla the nervy thought to build electrical powered inventions. Which set the motion for what some believe to be the most notable of the inventions—electric cars. 

On top of that, raw knowledge is wisdom. And wisdom in every human is innate until it is pruned through the right channel; worked through the right phase that it becomes knowledge. Sellable knowledge—after which it can be applied to solve problems in different spheres of life. Knowledge inns, as we know it are institutions. One can as well get knowledge by oneself. But for a sustainable, full bloom and maximizable knowledge, schools were established from the elementary to the tertiary level. Business and religious schools alike. So, it’s not fibbing when it was said that education is the future, and the best legacy. Sadly, it falls as a shadow imagination in Nigeria, and for Nigerians. 

The standard of the education system in Nigeria is lopsided, boring and far from enticing. Only some private established institutions offer something that can be adjudged standard and modern. Students and Pupils go to school in Nigeria as a thing of necessity not as a medium of pushing out their inherent creative being. No thanks to the Nigerian government haphazard management. Part testament to this is the recurrent meagre amount allocated for education in Nigeria. Even that meagre amount is being mismanaged. 

Additionally, educational infrastructure and apparatus are poor. And has been stretched to its ultimate capacity. An instance: Obafemi Awolowo University was originally built to accommodate 5000 students in its inception in 1962. Now, it encloses over 30,000 students with the same old infrastructure in place.

There has been little and insignificant progression since then. This is mostly the case in Nigerian places of learning. From the elementary to the tertiary level, durable structures should be built to accommodate new entrants. Laboratories adequately equipped. Primarily, the learning atmosphere should be made comely, comfortable and attractive.

Right Tutors, Right Syllabus and Right Remuneration

Also, for optimum performance by young gems, outdated syllabus and stagnant tutors should be obviated at all possibility. School syllabus should be constantly reviewed to match up with international standard. It should not be made rigid and stereotyped; it should create space for student to think and innovate.

On the strength of that, tutors should be employed on merit and competence. Else, dumb students are churned out and it will keep recycling−those dumb students will equally turn out their kind should they become tutors.

The cycle of dumbness keeps going. Because you cannot possibly give what you don’t have.Education should not also be made enticing only to the learners, but also to the tutors. Tutor’s pay should be so upgraded that a Lawyer will consider taking up teaching after his graduation.

Continual Funding till Discovery

Following the pronouncement by the Nigerian government to import Madagascar Covid Organics (an herbal concoction to combat Covid-19), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in form of vituperation outlined the failings of the federal government in providing funds that could have led to tons of breakthrough in medicine. The federal government found it rudely comfortable to import medicine that could be produced by better scientists in Nigeria.

There are 43 federal Universities and 69 federal-funded research institutes in Nigeria—it literally means none of them is living up to its bidding. Funds should be doled out relentlessly to these institutions. Not ‘audio’ funding. Nations that have come up with discoveries the world is enjoying today funded the research of their experts—till they succeeded. The funding is not stopped because of setbacks encountered in the course of the research. It continues till the moment of invention!

Concluding Note

Our leaders are aware of all these ideas even better than we, the citizens. We can only hope and pray for a good and visionary leadership. However, to make for a Nigeria we’ll all be proud of; a Nigeria that we make us forget about crossing borders; everyone everywhere should act rightly in their own capacity. If you find it hard to keep clean your environment, don’t liter it. If you cannot solve the problem, don’t add to it. GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.

Folaranmi Monday studies Law at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State.

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