Jet Stanley Madu
Pro-Chancellor and chairman Governing Council of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Dr. Wale Babalakin has challenged technologists to provide alternative to foreign expatriate services in Nigeria.
He made the call at the annual lecture and exhibition series of the School of Technology, Yaba College of Technology (YA-BATECH), Lagos.
In his lecture, Babalakin pointed out that no expatriate has the capability to develop a country better than local technologists, adding that the foreigners only “have the financial capability and not the emotional capability”.
The legal luminary who was the guest lecturer asserted that Nigerian students possess the innate ability to contribute to national development. He recalled that at post-independence era, Nigeria had higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than Asian counties and traced the rot in every sphere of the country’s economy including education to the oil boom era. Unequivocally, Babalakin explained that Nigeria has about the worst education system currently.
Babalakin observed that quality of education and facilities available for learning in Nigeria has gone to its lowest ebb when compared to post-colonial period. He contended that poverty now stares the citizenry, particularly, Nigerian students right in the face.
“I’m not surprised that the Prime Minister of Britain came here (Nigeria) a month ago and said this is the poverty headquarters of the world”.
He insisted that quality education cannot be compromised, even as he stressed the need for technical education and technological advancement.
His words: “without technology, you are wasting your time. To grow this technology, you must have an excellent, well-structured and enduring education system. We cannot create a country unless we create the technology that those who have the know-how and can drive it requires, and also, encourage them”.
Former chairman, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sir Remi Omotosho, who chaired the event, called on government to support research works and products of students by way of providing incentives towards enhancing and standardizing the products.
He opined that “if the products being produced by Nigerian students are unleashed on to Nigeria, the country will be greater than China and Taiwan”. He commended the YABATECH Rector, Mr. Obafemi Omokungbe for his strive to reposition the institution, and the Dean of the School of Technology for what he described as “her uncommon achievement”.
Earlier in his address, the rector commended the School of Technology, saying it has been a model for others to emulate.
“The first annual lecture ever delivered by any school in the college was by school of technology. The school also pioneered the publication of a school journal in the college. Here we are today, felicitating with the school as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. Also the first in the college”.
In her remarks, the Dean of the School of Technology, Mrs. Bola Dada stated that with dint of hard-work, the school has been in the forefront of academic brilliance, producing the overall best students in the college at both ND and HND levels. She also stated that the school has produced a rec-tor and deputies who have helped in putting YABATECH on sound footing.
She contended that the much hue and cry over the employability status of most Nigerian students is due first, to their poor understanding of technological advancement and new trends. The second she said, is the students’ non-readiness for the challenges emerging from economies, developmental strategies, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The celebrations witnessed exhibition of works of arts and crafts as well as technical products by students and lecturers of the school.
Among the products on display was a locally fabricated fish drying produced by the Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research. The theme of the lecture was: Technical Education and the Industry: Bridging the Gap for National Development.
Omokugbe described the theme as “in perfect agreement with his is focused on improving the human resources and infrastructural facilities in the college for enhanced teaching, learning and research development”.