As the nation embarks on gradual ease of lockdown against the Covid 19 pandemic, an expert on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr. Micheal Ale, has recommended urgent and robust boost in industrialization for Nigerian’s recovery and precuationary step against possible economic recession. He therefore listed steps towards boosting industrialization, while noting that the emergence of the pandemic has made the latest innovations of robots and artificial intelligence inevitable products for the nation to patronize.
Ekiti State born Ale, in a release made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, spoke on how Nigeria can maximize her potentials on indusriaization by meeting the target of the SDGs 2020,. He noted that the nation needs to key into the global policy on SDGs: ” lt is not about government policy, it is all about understanding what industrialization is. If we say it is government policy we are looking indepth into aspects of leadership. But if we look into a global perspective as far as United Nations and all over the world are concerned, there is a global policy and a national policy. There is a global policy that the government keys into and the direction has been given to us. And if we are looking at the global policy, what is industrialization? you look at the first industrial revolution second, third and now the fourth industrial revolution: The first industrial revolution was when machinery replaced hands in agriculture, the second was the internet and technology, the third was the renewable energy which make our activities faster and the fourth revolution is the robots and artificial intelligence.”
The development expert who corroborated the policy of knowledge economy being initiated in Ekiti State by Nigerian’s Governors’ Forum’s chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi as key to meaningful development, lamented that Nigeria is currently far behind the developed nation’s on industrial revolution, and expressed hope should the country address the root cause of underdevelopment which he said is inadequate attention to the importance of academic researches.
“We need to now go back to the root cause, and that is academics. While watching a documentary about Nigerian agriculture, I saw rice mill and I know in China now rice mill is being operated by robots. But in Nigeria we are still at the first industrial revolution stage and that has to do with academics and knowledge because you can’t talk about industrialization without talking about economy, what really affected our industrialization was the economy that has to do with oil and gas in the second industrial revolution, with that, it gave us concentration on economy when it comes to cash stage we forgot about going to farm, we forget about the fact that we used to have cotton in the north, cocoa in the south and then the oil came… Now the oil is going because the oil shield in the U.S and other renewable energy are taking away oil.
” So invariably, Covid 19 is the beginning of another revolution in industrialization in the fourth category, because we will start talking about chips, robots, and the likes, all these we are still going to import and this is why the issue of knowledge comes in.
“How many of our universities have research outcomes to use. All these developed countries go to their universities, their businessmen can go to the universities and engage them in researches that would help their development. They sponsor such researches that can add value to their companies. It doesn’t have to be government alone. This is why I mentioned academics. We have only leveraged on agriculture, we have the pharmaceutical industry, right now, the Covid 19 issue has given us the great opportunity to revamp our industries, especially, the pharmaceutical industry. How many of us are producing ordinary masks, I am not talking about the cloth masks, you know they are using the shields now, it is part of industrialization because all these evil things would definitely create opportunities. Do we have academic institutions that are looking into that?. I am very happy when I see some of them producing some mechanical inventions on the sanitation aspect. All these are ways we can explore to meet the SDGs 2020 target. Right now, all the policies from all the sectors, agric, aviation, etc must come up with a renewed policy.”
Ale, who is the national President of
Association of Waterwell Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) in Nigeria, gave tips on how the nation can be self sufficient and equally begin a robust industrialization journey: “ lt all boils down to the root cause, in sustainable development, it is a tree format, you have the tree, the trunk and the roots. the tree that isn’t doing well now are the consequences but we need to go back to the roots. The moment you tackle the roots you then have addressed the consequences, if I want that tree to die I tackle the roots, if I want it to live then I put in more fertilizer. We should go down and see what do we have, I think there is a lot of committee that are being set up by government, we can look at them. The important thing is research, development and innovation, I keep saying this, we must go into much of research, innovating and put these to use.
“ Even if we want to feed ourselves, I am talking about agricultural industry alone, and its allied industries, like the petrol chemical, we have to look at the way we can get the fertilizers produced and so on . We can start with that. Let us feed ourselves first, let us manage our clothing first, our shoes, our rings etc. Let us do these first before we start talking about exporting. Even if we are at industrial revolution stage one, let us still sustain that first before we move to next stage, and along the line, develop other areas, you can’t say you want to self sufficient and not have other people working, sustaining development is we are looking at 20 to 30 years ahead and start planning for them. So while you are addressing all these current issues, look into the future and see what you can do about all of these. I am into borehole drilling and you can imagine, since the importation of drilling rigs, all the cottage industries that are manufacturing rigs have died., he said.
Speaking about how to make Nigerian Universities hallmarks of industrialization, Ale said: “It is very achievable, we have the likes of Dangote my good friend, his foundation can go into research, and look into what can be done, you can pick on any university that you think focus on what your industry needs. Then you talk to the university and give them grants for the research. I think the Nigerian government has tetfund and they are going into many research, what have they done with those research outcomes?. We don’t know but the fact is that they have done a lot. Let them publicize these, let them ask private individuals to come pick these research outcomes. Private individuals can invest in the universities, researches and they can tell the universities this is what I want you to do. I think I know of Tata in India he does that. Look at the Roche firm in U.S , he is a private guy and the government bought off all the drugs for global supply that can go round the world in two months.. Nigerian Government can give a guarantee for the university that do this, we are going to back it up.”