Can Nigeria Leapfrog into the Information Age?
So relevant it's almost a gospel. This speech is going to be refered for a very long time.
All comments below were made in August 1997.
Honestly, I got touched and was almost driven to the point of crying while
reading the presentation. It is WELL WRITTEN; and I cannot imagine any
person who TRULY loves Nigeria crossing swords with you on the ideas
I do hope that those with the powers to make things happen in Nigeria will
read, reread, and read this presentation again and again to understand and
assimilate the core issues you've brought to the fore as the ingredients
necessary for the development of our well-endowed but currently
Ebiamadon Andi Brisibe, Ph.D., JAPAN.
CONCRETE OBSERVATION AND A VERY GOOD ANALYSIS OF WHAT NEEDS TO
BE DONE TO PUT NIGERIANS IN THE DRIVERS SEAT. ONE VERY IMPORTANT POINT MADE IS THAT OF THE SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS OUR LEADERS HAVE HAD IN PLANNING FOR OUR FUTURE. IT IS A SYNDROME THAT THE SOUTH-EAST ASIANS SEEMS TO BE CURING WHILE WE STILL WALLOW IN OUR SELF DELUSION. THE SAD REALIZATION THAT WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO WIELD ECONOMIC CLOUT HERE, BUT ARE NO CLOSER TO USING IT THAN WE ARE TO SOLVING OUR PROBLEMS AT HOME, DOESN'T ESCAPE ME.
JEzike@aol.com, Omera Ezike
Essential points on the specific issues were brilliantly captured. The future Vision for Nigeria and all the ideas behind it are well thought-out, properly articulated, well packaged and also straight to the point. The idea of a Pan African Institute of Tech is simply terrific - made me feel like going back to school.
Very Good comparative analysis b/w Nigeria and Malaysia.
A very thoughtful speech. May God give us the ear to hear, heart to understand and the zeal to implement.
Ebube Odunukwe, firstname.lastname@example.org, M.D.
I know I am not supposed to praise this work, but I just can't. It was well put together, well diverse but with direction and very informative. The country Nigeria just does not realize the talents it is missing.
Charles Ochie Sr., Ph.D., email@example.com,
It is simply great, and I am not being diplomatic: this is an honest opinion.
You should read me: I pack a smoking gun when it comes to Nigeria's present
political paralysis. But since you are recommending a recipe for an eye ointment,
there is no need to add pepper, is there... They should pay to get a copy. I will be
surprised if you do not hear from some heads of state. In fact, I will get the local press
here to run the speech, if you approve.
Ogochukwu (MO) Ene, EneMO@shu.edu, Ph.D., Seton Hall University
The speech is well researched and well thought of. In a society that is ruled by honest and honourable men, you ought to be invited by members of the so called vision 2010 for further discussions on how best to launch Nigeria into the information age. The hundred million
dollar question is : Do members of the committee even have a vision of better Nigeria?
Akindele Odeshi, firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph.D. candidate, West Germany
I THINK IT IS A GOOD SPEECH. I BELIEVE IT IS GOING TO GENERATE A LOT OF DEBATES BOTH FOR AND AGAINST YOUR OPINIONS, AS WELL AS ON YOUR PERSONALITY PARTICULARLY FROM THOSE WHO MAY HOLD THE OPINION THAT EVEN IF THE FUTURE LIES IN THE INFORMATION AGE, PHILIP EMEAGWALI SHOULD NOT BE THE ONE TO TELL THEM -- THE POLITICIANS....OUR LEADERS PREFER THE SHOT-GUN APPROACH TO ISSUES AND ONE GOOD THING ABOUT YOUR SPEECH IS THAT IT IS TELLING US TO LEARN HOW TO BE LONG DISTANCE RUNNERS.
Adesola Adeyemi, AdeyemiA@drama.unp.ac.za, South Africa.
IT DOES NOT TAKE A GENIUS TO UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT, I FIND THE SPEECH
STRAIGHT TO THE POINT AND BACKED WITH FACTS....TECHNOLOGY IS WEALTH LOOK AT TAIWAN OR SINGAPORE, YOU DO NOT BECOME A REGIONAL POWER BY BUYING OBSOLETE MIG JETS.
Great speech, But you already know that. Yes, I love everything about it. And what don't I like about it?
These ideas are great, and your plans can be achieved in less than 5 years, under the right circumstance. We already have the manpower. All we have to do is put out the call, and we will return home to help build a better nation. But no one, not you, not I, has the right to ask anyone to commit suicide. Until Nigeria sees everybody as equal, and until the leaders stop screwing up black Africa, and Nigeria in particular, you might as well mothball your plans.
Great speech, give it, but since you ask my opinion, tell them this (your speech) is what Nigeria could be if the country includes all citizens. Tell them we as Igbos will only join, if we are considered equal partners.
You say this speech is for Nigerians. I strongly disaggree. This speech should be for the Igbos first and Nigerians second. You have to give our people hope. You are an Igbo first and a Nigerian second. For if there is no Igbo, there is no you. I also believe in one Nigeria, but no longer at any cost. Have we not given Nigeria enough of our blood? It is time for consolidation. It is time we start preaching one Nigeria from a position of strength. So nwanem nwoke the ball is in your court. Do not let our people down. Like it or not, the battle is now ours. Our parents are now old, and look upon us to continue the struggle for equality and a better way of life for our kids; or saparation. If there is to be separation, it
has to be a peaceful disengagement.
As you said "we should not put all our eggs in the same basket". You as an Igbo leader, has to take your advice. Let us prepare our people both for unity and separation. For if they refuse to meet us as equals, the alternative is separation.
You occupy a very powerful position in the eyes of the world. Use it to help remove the yoke of oppression on your people. Maka echi di ime. Ndeewu.
Nnaemeka M Onumonu, email@example.com
Your vision is extremely compelling. And you paint a very vivid picture of the possibilities that we face in the coming years. I think this is a very strong speech, which weaves many threads together into a tapestry that should convince all who hear to sit up and do what it might take to bring us out of current retrogressive slumber.
You mention that your 2nd grade teacher only had a sixth grade education. Obviously, this was not a handicap for you and probably many others too who went on to excel in their respective fields. Secondly, if we convert 1 million unemployed university grads into primary school teachers, what do we
do with the current primary school teachers? This group has a union and they will fight such a proposal tooth and nail. I do agree that we need to upgrade the capabilities of our primary school teachers.
You also used the salary paid to Nigeria's foreign soccer staff to illustrate how no nation can be developed by foregners. The point itself is not really arguable. Nigeria has always had a Nigerian 'coach' the foreigners are deemed 'technical advisers'. I feel that with sports crazy Nigerians, (myself included) we are prepared to pay whatever price will ensure victory. I cannot tell you how much of a national morale boost it was for us to perform so well in the last Olympics. Nigerians are still giddy about our victories. We have gotten greedy and expect nothing less than full victory in France '98. Whatever the monetary cost! Michael Jordan just signed a 36 mil $ contract. No college professor makes that kind of money. C'est La vie. That's the way rewards in the entertainment world are structured.
Another point I loved about your speech, is that even though is meant to be delievered to a primarily Igbo audience, as a non-Igbo, I find no shortage of pegs to hang my hat on. Any Nigerian, indeed,
any African can learn a lot from it and be inspired by it. In just that way alone, you have succeeded magnificently.
Tunde M. Giwa, OBG@MSN.COM
The points made were very solid, the progression between points as very smooth. The logic,
as I stated, behind the statements made are as sound as I've heard and, in all honesty,
I would be extremely pleased if I heard on the news that you had been nominated to
serve on the board of Vision 2010. I would only pray that others who saw as you
do would be signed on too. As a matter of fact, what I liked most about the speech is
that it made me sad--it made me feel a longing for Nigeria and generated some kind of
resolve to assist in some way or another as
dictated by circumstance.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Gaga Ekeh)
You hit on the major points that need to be emphasized. As an advocate of the Internet, I have always expressed the fact that this is Nigeria's chance at catching up with the rest of the world. The creating of this infrastructure will put us in the right direction. Many nations that have
adopted the Internet have obviously started reaping the benefits of hooking up. Even along the West African coast, countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Benin are hooked up to the Internet so why not Nigeria? You have made the point about the use of foreign computer experts by some companies in America, even in Britian companies are exporting their jobs to Asia too because of cheap labor and the fact that it gives the companies 24hr office structure taking advantage of the time difference of these counries - can you imagine having a 24hr office. productivity has balloned for these organizations. The advantage for Nigeria would be jobs, especially in a
country where there is currently over 80% unemployment. The Internet has a way of spinning cottage industries - Internet service providers, web hosting, Internet telephony/videoconferencing, Internet programmers etc. - these are job avenues for computer graduates and others who are interested in computers.
Nubi Achebo, email@example.com
The speech is fine. Though difficult to know how to write it to force the hands of our rulers to positively take notice and take action. Other than this speech I even suggest that you write Abacha and his men particularly the Technology Minister (Engr. Momah of Nnewi) to lift the ban
or reduce the minimum duties paid to import computers and its bits. My dismay while in Nigeria is that while the telephone connections to the citizens and calls round the world are getting cheaper in every other country, in Nigeria they are getting dearer. Presently it cost 60000 Naira
(£462), paid to the government (excluding bribery) for phone connections. A three minutes phone card to Europe costs 1262 Naira (over £9). This is certainly out of this world! In fact, point of correction, your analysis that calls from Nigeria to US is 150 Naira , is when it was CHEAPER.
However, I don't know what it is dailing from home- but then again how many people can afford the cost of connection plus another large deposit if the phone were to be used to call outside the country. Abacha and his men might listen to people like you. If you can write them directly things might change.
MARTIN UZUEGBUNAM, firstname.lastname@example.org, Structural Engineer, England
I consider it a very excellent, informative and
challenging speech. It should make the congress and
the subsequent readers not only reflective but very
keen to set out on a voyage along the path mapped by
you. In short it should galvanise US to action.
To every man there comes in his lifetime that special
moment when he is tapped on the shoulder by his peers and
offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to him
and fitted to his talent; what a tragedy if that moment finds
him unprepared. Sir, I must say that the articulation of your
vision by way of this speech has indeed shown that those
who tapped you to make this speech must be proud and
should be congratulated. ...Your articulation of how technology has
helped other developing countries such as Malaysia, Korea
and South Africa and how it will enhance our economic
growth was very well reasoned and measured.
How can any intelligent person find fault with this speech?
Sir, I think you covered the bases, however, a reasonable
mind will ask such questions as, how do we pay for such a
gigantic venture considering the state of our treasury? The
answer is not far to seek. Cut expenditures such as
Ajaokuta steel complex, reduce the size of the military and
arms importation, privatize our corporations, reduce the size
of government and return the country to democracy. The
effect of these cut-backs may be draconian and sure will
bring with it a lot of hardship but we must not forget that no
one likes using iodine on a fresh sore, however, when iodine
is applied to an open wound, it facilitates the process of
healing. I'd say, let's find out how these countries
accomplished these goals. After all, their economies were
worst than ours when they embarked on this journey. That
is why we must invest in education as you rightly pointed
Finally, there is a saying that the reasonable man adapts
himself to the world and the unreasonable man persists in
trying to adapt the world to himself. Let's hope that the
people who are in position to put this plan into reality will
take a good look at your speech and hopefully begin the
arduous task of implementing the vision imbedded in your
speech. You are like a rare masquerade, which comes out
only on special occasions, thanks brother, may your ink
never run dry.
My dear brother, you cannot Imagine the kind of joy I felt when I read that you are going to deliver a speech , on an advisory note to the betterment of our motherland. I have gone through the speech, and I find it very inspiring. Now, would the people that matter find it inspiring too? Because we are too far away from all the action and decision making, I Suggest you copy the presidency, finance minister, and vision 2010 committee the speech and its entirety. My brother, I wish I had the means to champion this believe with you but I beleive that proper persuation on your part and well meaning Nigerians
would generate proper funding for your veiws. HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT SETTING UP A COMMITTEE OF INTELLIGENT AND WELL MEANING NIGERIAN BRAINS ABROAD, THAT WOULD BE FORMIDABLE ENOUGH TO SOLICITE AUDIENCE WITH THE PRESIDENCY? My brother, faith can take you a long way. I strongly commend your speech. I see you like music too, I can tell from your web site. I recommend you go out and buy GLORIA ESTEFAN'S MI TIERRA (MY HOMELAND) its song in spanish but you would be moved by the english interpretations too. I hope it makes your believe in your motherland stronger. I hope you succeed.
HALLE@webtv.net (TINU DAVIDS)
My foremost reservation in your proposed speech stems from its aim: "skipping the industrial age and leapfroging our nation from the agricultural age into the information age". To me it sounds ambitious and simplistic. It is just synoymous with a woman given birth to a grown up child without that child undergoing the necessary biological metamorhosis. Anthropologist will dispute this when they subject this speech to the socio-economic evolution of the hominid-human beings.Sociologically, it is incorrect to jump from pre-industrial to post-industrial without the such passages of hunters and gatherers, horticultural, pastoral, agricultural, industrial and postindustrial societies. All these societies have an in-built learning stages as well as creating historic facts when any society observes them.
Psychologically, skipping such phases of human progressive development is not only unhealthy but is morally wrong and will fail to provide a concrete basis for national policy on technology. This is because the social psychology theory of learning is adamant with geometric progression but tends to ignite its flame with arithematic progression in a serial form, i.e, 1, 2, 3, 4 etcetara, until we reach a final counting point. And to me, learning is a progressive or gradual process. If one skips a process of basic learning it produces anti-knowledge, this is logically against the philosophy of science, it is not capable of providing a proofabale truth and hence it will not be chronicled as a historic moment of Nigeria.
I see that kind technology being blighted with cracks and faults due to its lack of the basic foundation and skills or pure knowledge- a fluid and a manipulable knowledge that can be inferred at from time to time and from generation to generation. For I believe in the great dictum of George Benard Shaw and Zik that "the next great civilisation may come from the black race." This is more than enough prophesy but such prophesy must be progressive and should be properly documented in order to complete a circle of life. I think that it is not plausible for one to just go to the moon without learning the art of space shuttling and that to me is a systematic learning.
What you have underlined with the term skipping is the same mistake governments in Nigeria are making with its series of ad-hoc committees for industrialisation who instead of providing a national blue-print for the Nigerian technology policy and with a broad based comprehesive education for an average citizen, continue to milk the nation dry without anything to show for it. It seems as such great label like the transfer of technology from the core countries to the periphery in the early '80s that never come to fruition except squandermania and scholarship frauds in Nigeria. You don't tansfer technology rather you acquire it as a skill and the you perfect in it and hence the crave for the information age today.
In my humble opinion it is practically impossible for an unstable Nigeria to skip its evolution, whether it is leading to industrial or post-industrial era. It is very crucial that a society solidifies the foundation of its socio-cultural prospects before a another leap forward. Nigeria is not that country yet. Abacha appointed those Vision 2010 men and women to appease them and prevent them from being anti his regime.
Their project are among those lip-service paying programmes of government to build its image and public relations and when the time comes it will go down the drains. I wish you don't take them serious.
In my conclusion, I suggest you should rethink the skipping thing and settle with industrialisation first before automation, I believe that whatever is done in a hurry is never done well. Moreover, our society is caught between uncertainty and progress and whichever overhelms each other we rejoice at. I am sorry, if I have sounded naive or harsh but this is my opinion about it. To put this way, concentrate your mind in Igboland such noble intention can never be realised in Nigeria.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Where will you recommend that a cybercity be located in Nigeria?
ANSWER: To build technological town will cause a Nigerian problem and
wars will be fought over where the site should be located.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What do you think about my proposed Vision 2020?
ANSWER: Africa needs more than 2020-even 2040 is enough. Currently we
are fighting for the 3rd liberation of Africa. A new Africa
that will provide the political culture, or what Zik called
economic determinism or toga virilis which will lead us to
the information age.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What is your opinion of the Vision 2010?
ANSWER: Its members are politically appointed. And the programme
itself is another junk thinking whose mission will die like an
aids victim. Reasons are not far fetched if we consider more
10 similar programmes initiated by F.M. governments in Nigeria.
Most of these
programmes were a strategic military ploy to distract people's
attension in other to for a certain group of people to keep
leadership power in Nigeria. The programmes is an
ill-fated child of praetorianism in the country, and though they
are good idea but they are never
intended development plans for them to endure in Nigeria.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Do you think Nigeria needs a new Vision plan such as the proposed Vision
2020? If so, why?
ANSWER: Yes, in long term, if we can know our direction to the promise
land. But if not,
no thanks! As long as we have the present bunch of no
who are part and parcel of the political crisis that engulfed
Nigeria since the past 9 years. It is only a matter of time
another martial music to encircle and announce its obituary in
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Should Nigeria invest more in computers and technology?
ANSWER:Yes if they have honest intensions to do so. If this is not going to be a lucrative business for the Alhajis and profitocrats in Nigeria.
Uchenna Opara, email@example.com, Finland
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What do you dislike about my talk?
WRONG ARGUMENT. YOU DO NOT ENTER THE INFORMATION AGE BY BUILDING THE HARDWARE. WHAT YOU FIRST NEED IS THE SOFTWARE. THEN YOU CHOOSE THE MOST
ADEQUATE HARDWARE. NIGERIA'S PROBLEM IS NOT MONETARY, IT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL.
OUR PROBLEM, LUCKILY, HAS NEVER BEEN THE LACK OF FUNDS TO BE USED TO BUILD
INFRASTRUCTURE. NO. ON THE CONTRARY, OUR PROBLEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN:
1) CHOOSING THE RIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE TO BUILD AND
2) ADEQUATE USE OF THAT INFRASTRUCTURE. AND FOR ADEQUATE USE TO BE MADE, WE
HAVE TO HAVE THE MENTAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL BASE.
LET ME EXPLAIN, IF WE DO NOT HAVE A STRONG INDUSTRIAL BASE NOR A STRONG
INDUTRIAL MENTALITY, IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW MANY TRADE FAIR SITES YOU BUILD
NOR HOW MANY INDUSTRIAL ESTATES YOU SET UP, THEY WILL ALWAYS REMAIN BARREN
OR BE PUT TO THE WRONG USES. BUT THEY DEFINITELY WILL NOT STIMULATE
INDUSTRIAL GROWTH. EXAMPLE: REMEMBER FESTAC TOWN AND THE TRADE FAIR COMPLEX
IN LAGOS. BUILDING A TECHNOLOGICAL CITY WILL JUST BE ANOTHER WHITE ELEPHANT, A BIG PROJECT THAT WOULD ACT AS A VEHICLE FOR A FEW PEOPLE TO GET RICH. IT MIGHT
NEVER EVEN BE FINISHED (SEE AJAOKUTA) OR IF IT EVER GETS FINISHED, IT WILL
LIE FALLOW FOR LACK OF ADEQUATE COMPANIES TO POPULATE IT OR LACK OF IDEAS OF
HOW BEST TO USE IT. THE "SOFTWARE" IS LACKING. IT WILL FINALLY END UP AFTER SOME YEARS LIKE DELTA STEEL (A BIG COMPLEX GONE AWRY) OR THE REFINERIES (NECESSARY PROJECTS THAT HAVE NOT BE MAINTAINED NOR DEVELOPED TO MOVE WITH THE TIMES).
LATER-ON IN YOUR SPEECH, YOU HIT THE NAIL IN THE HEAD: EDUCATION IS THE KEY.
MASS EDUCATION FOR THE MASSES. BUILD UP THAT CRITICAL MASS OF EDUCATED PEOPLE.
PEOPLE WHO CAN READ. PEOPLE WHO CAN THINK. PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT JUST SWALLOW
ANY PROPAGANDA OR PROPOSAL WITHOUT QUESTIONNING IT INTELLIGENTLY. PEOPLE WHO CAN STUDY OTHER RACES, OTHER CULTURES, OTHER COUNTRIES AND DISCOVER WHAT MAKES THEM TICK. PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING (BECAUSE THEY HAVE READ ABOUT AND ADMIRE HEROES ELSEWHERE) TO MAKE SACRIFICES SO THAT THEIR COUNTRY
PROGRESSES. PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO DIE FOR CONCEPTS. PEOPLE WHO WILL, IF THEY EVER BECOME LEADERS, NOT THINK ONLY OF THEIR POCKETS BUT RATHER THEY WOULD THINK ABOUT THE BENEFIT OF THE COMMUNITY. PEOPLE WHO ARE ABOVE BRIBERY. THAT IS THE KEY. EDUCATION IS THE "SOFTWARE". ONCE YOU HAVE THIS FIRMLY IN PLACE, THE PEOPLE WILL BUILD OR EVOLVE THE MOST SUITABLE "HARDWARE" FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT. AND THEY WILL ENSURE THAT THIS "HARDWARE" IS ADEQUATELY MAINTAINED AND SUITABLY UPDATED WITH THE TIMES.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What did you like about the talk?
ANSWER: YOU WENT STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. MANY OF US NIGERIAN FEEL THAT THE
ONLY WAY TO SHOW THEIR PATRIOTISM IS BY NEVER CRITISIZING NIGERIA. THEY
ALWAYS SAY THINGS LIKE "WITH GOD'S HELP, WE SHALL OVERCOME". I DISAGREE. WE
HAVE TO BE REALISTIC. WE HAVE TO LOOK INWARDS AND DISCOVER WHAT IS WRONG
WITH OUR COUNTRY. WHAT IS IT THAT WE DO WRONG? AND WE SHOULD BE READY TO SAY
IT OUR CLEARLY IN ANY FORUM.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Do you believe that Nigerian society is repressive to women? And why?
ANSWER: YES, OUR SOCIETY IS REPRESIVE TO WOMEN. AGAIN THE REASON IS LACK
OF EDUCATION. WITH EDUCATION, WE COME TO LEARN THAT WE CAN ALL GAIN FROM
BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, WE ARE NO LONGER IN A PREHISTORIC
CONTEXT WHERE MAN HUNTED AND THE WOMAN STAYED BACK HOME. NOR ARE WE IN THE
AGRICULTURAL AGE WHERE THE MAN TILLED THE SOIL WHILE THE WOMAN LOOKED AFTER
THE HOME. IN THIS AGE, WE CAN ALL CONTRIBUTE. BRAIN POWER AND NOT MUSCLE
POWER IS THE KEY AND BOTH MEN AND WOMEN HAVE BRAIN POWER.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Should the Nigerian military budget be reduced/eliminated and redirected towards education and technology?
ANSWER: I WOULD ELIMINATE THE MILITARY 100 PERCENT. THEN RETRAIN AND
REEQUIP THE POLICE TO DEAL PROPERLY WITH THE PROBLEM OF INTERNAL/DOMESTIC
LAW/ORDER. THE MONEY SAVED WOULD, AS YOU SAY, BE REDIRECTED INTO EDUCATION
..AND MAYBE SOME OF THE MANY OTHER NEEDS WE HAVE: HEALTH, TELECOM SERVICES,
ROADS, MAINTENANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE, ETC.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: If you are the author of this speech, what ideas will you include?
ANSWER: I WOULD INCLUDE A CRITIQUE OF NIGERIANS ABROAD: MANY NIGERIANS
ARE SO CHAUVANISTIC (OR MAYBE SO INSECURE) THAT THEY MIX ONLY WITH
NIGERIANS. RESULT = NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY LIVE ABROAD, THEY NEVER LEARN
THE "RULES OF THE GAME". THEY NEVER REALIZE HOW THE CARDS ARE STACKED. THEY
NEVER REALIZE WHAT MAKES THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES TICK. THEY MAY LIVE IN
LONDON FOR 10 YEARS, BUT ITS AS IF THEY'VE BEEN LIVING IN AJEGUNLE OR
ENU-ONITSHA. THEY EAT ONLY NIGERIAN FOOD, GO ONLY TO NIGERIAN PARTIES, HAVE
ONLY NIGERIAN FRIENDS, ETC. WE MUST LEARN TO MIX MORE. WE MUST MAKE FRIENDS
WITH THE LOCALS, VISIT THEIR HOMES, GO TO THEIR WEDDINGS, THEIR PARTIES, THEIR ORGIES, MIX THOROUGHLY, EAT THEIR FOOD, GET DRUNK WITH THEM HAVE GOOD FRIENDS, AND EVEN HAVE BAD ENEMIES. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO REALLY LEARN. THAT WAY, WE GET A REAL TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY AND NOT A "PERCEIVED TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY". SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY: BUT THE ITALIANS LIVE IN GROUPS (THE BRONX), THE ORIENTALS LIVE IN CHINATOWN. BUT THAT'S NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE. THEY CAN AFFORD TO. THEY INMIGRATED WHILE THEY HAD A SOLID CULTURAL HERITAGE. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN WAY OF DOING THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN HANDED OVER FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. BUT WE AFRICANS ARE DIFFERENT. WE HAVE BEEN VERY UNFORTUNATE IN HAVING HAD 2 GREAT DISASTERS IMMEDIATELY ONE AFTER THE OTHER: THE SLAVE TRADE AND COLONISATION. BOTH BROKE OUR CULTURAL CHAIN. WE ARE NEARLY ROOTLESS. WE ARE DRIFTERS. WE HAVE NO VERY SOLID CULTURAL ROOTS AND THEREFORE WE CANNOT INBREED. WE HAVE TO GRAFT FROM OTHERS IN ORDER TO BUILDUP FASTER WHAT WE HAVE LOST IN 4 CENTURIES OF HAPHAZARD DOMINATION.
Anthony ONOCHIE, firstname.lastname@example.org, Spain
I COMMEND YOU FOR KEEPING IT VERY SIMPLE AND EASY TO READ. MOST
NIGERIANS OF PHD STATUS WILL USE "BIB BIB ENGLISH TO DABARU US TO THE POINT
THAT WE MISS THE MESSAGE WHILE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE GRAMMAR" ...I
BELIEVE THAT WE SHOULD HAVE TWO OR THREE "CYBER CORRIDORS" THAT ARE
INTERCONNECTED (AT LEAST THIS IS WHAT INTERNET IS ALL ABOUT). THESE "CYBER
CORRIDORS" SHOULD DEVELOP FROM THE BASIC FOUNDATION ON THEIR OWN MERIT
AND POTENTIAL. KNOWING NIGERIA, THERE WILL BE ARGUEMENT FOR THE LOCATION.
BUT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE ABLE TO FUND AT LEAST TWO AND ENCOURAGE
BUSINESSES, SCIENTISTS, ETC., TO TAKE IT FROM THERE.
K. Peter Ayedun, KPeterA@classic.msn.com
I have read this article at least 3 good times and have nothing to add or subtract...You have said it all, Philip! And this article brought tears to my ears...Why CANNOT Nigerian leaders do these obvious
things which will facilitate national development? It is shameful that access to the internet taken for granted in many countries of the world today remains a luxury for the haves and have mores in Nigeria. The military junta has continue to run the country like a headless chicken. Until they leave and accountable and responsible citizens take over, there is no hope. However, I hope your article will get published in Nigeria. Who knows what impact this exceptionally well-written article could bring about?
The write-up, to say the least, is articulate. It is not short of the much-desired solutions we want in the Nigerian economy. The practical and straight-forward proposal about the "Cybermarketing" kept me speechless.
I urge you to present a copy of this document to the vision 2010 committee and the Presidency. Our leaders should start thinking not only of their immediate families, but also generations of Nigerians
yet unborn. I find no real answer, when a Finn asks me when I will finally return to Nigeria.
Who knows!! Mays GOD give us more men of vision and achievers like Philip Emeagwali.
F.O.T. Akenami, PhD Fellow, Finland
Thank you. Your speech is God send.
My only comment is : HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR WITH, LET HIM HEAR.
You've done your part. You "found the cure and prescribed the medication." One
question remains: Is their a good "pharmacist" to fill the "prescription"?
Thanks for a job well done.
IKE MUONEKWU, email@example.com, Ph.D.
THE SPEECH IS WELL WRITTEN. I THINK YOU ARE HIGHLIGHTING AN AREA OF
DEVELOPMENT WHICH THE MILITARY IS AFRAID TO ADDRESS. MAY BE YOU SHOULD
HAVE TRIED TO TIE UP COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY WITH INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGICAL
GROWTH. AS IT STANDS NOW THE ONLY WAY FOR TO CATCH UP TECHNOLOGICALLY
IS USE THE COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AS A SHORT CUT TO INDUSTRIAL GROWTH. ...
FOR THE FIRST TIME, ONE IS MAKING A CASE FOR COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY TO
BE ACQUIRED BY NIGERIA. IT IS GOING TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY POWERS
THAT BE IN NIGERIA.
George Mbata, firstname.lastname@example.org
Your speech assumes that Nigeria is a well ordered, peaceful, culturally homogeneous and stable environment where meaningful suggestions will be welcome. However, you know that the structural reality of that entity is highly deformed. Such situation in which the existence of a total disregard for the
involvement of most of the citizenry of Nigeria in the leadership, military and civil service of a country, coupled with unrealistic myopic and inequitable distribution of amenities in a large country as nigeria is counter productive.
For instance Igbos in particular are no where as active players in the nigerian situation. As you know, such situations create a physical mathematical condition in which the nigerian function becomes quite obviously non-integrable wthin the limits we are operating.
Therefore reacting to the pathetic situation by using a nationalist view of events may be quite errorneous. Doing so gives these operatives wrong signals of accepting the structural reality. We must therefore be courageous at times like this to venture to offer alternatives rather than to agravate the situation by even contributing any suggestions. Why?
I'm quite aware that before pipelines were constructed to places like Kaduna, Minna and even the construction of Oil refineries in those locations some credible economists who happened to be Igbos gave solid, academic honest opinions. Some of these opinions were such that the amount of energy it will take to pump uphill from the oil fields to the north would be enough to put certain industries around those localities. What happened? These were exercises in futility. The entrenched interests are not bound to listen. A situation where the biggest commercial center in Africa which happens to be your home town Onitsha has no international feeder airport nor good seaport is a good example of the structural reality of Nigeria.
In a nutshell we (Igbos) must begin to think about the practicable alternatives to the geographical reality. Where are we now? We have no airports, no railways, no telecommunications, no seaports and yet we are the most hardworking self improving members of the Nigerian population.
If you were contributing only to Igbos because of their drive for improvement your speech will be songs in their ears. However, that is not the situation. Nigeria is under a strong feudalist group. Take it or leave it they have their own agenda. It is quite obvious. What we can do like europeans did or the jews is to find a way or peaceful disengagement of the entity Nigeria. We should be tired for pretending to be the smartest. While in reality we are the dummest.
So my brother, we have along way to go. Until we begin to address the structural reality where import/export, exclusionary policies are in effect; our efforts will surely send the wrong message.
So, the so called vision may be decoy in the making.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What will you recommend I remove from the speech?
ANSWER: I shall suggest that you remove the statement of education gap between the south and the North. That is non-existent.
You should also remove the paragraph dealing with population growth. This is because any natural system strives for continuity and this is even more required in situation like nigeria
where infant mortality is high and health care delivery is non existent. The poor is obviously not the cause of nigeria's inadequacy.
On the whole we should start focusing on Igbos to see how we can help. We must endeavour to have a localized order (Eastern Nigeria) before we diverge. Remember it was a group of Igbos that paid in cash and kind for us to exist thus far.
I hope to talk to you in the near future. Bye for now.
I want to commend your scholastic and honest write-up. Due to my very tight
schedule, I was not able to read it with a view to digesting the information therein. However,
one of the questions you asked for
suggestions attracted my attention.That is: "Should the Nigerian military budget be
reduced/redirected towards technological advancement?". To my opinion, if Nigeria is to
move forward technologically or otherwise, the answer to that question is in the affirmative.
The Nigerian economy currently is in the hand of the military. Moreover, the size of the
Nigerian army will soon overtake the size of the remaining population. Some of the students
we graduated recently who were commissioned lieutenants in the army a year after had their
starting salaries more than four times mine. This does not include other incentives. If the salary
of a lieutenant could be more than three times the salary of a professor, and considering the
size of the army how can you expect such a nation to develop technologically? The work of
the army in this present time is not even defined?
Your write-up is in the right direction. I have not much time to continue on my comments.
Thank you and God bless.
Sylvanua Jude Aneke, email@example.com
Very relevant, of course. At the end of the day, the basic and foundational difference between developed and developing (or is it RETROGRESSING) nations is the difference in their level of scientific culture. This scientific culture, in our own age, is essentially cyber culture. Don't mind all the superficial talk about the corectness of political ideologies. That our own Vision 2010 has no program for the information age pinpoints the precise direction in which we are currently
headed. The assholes do not even realise WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. They don't know what is at stake.Why should they? What do traditional rulers know about computers? Do you think Abacha uses a PC or laptop? Does he even have an e-mail adress? Not likely at all, so, like father, like son. That is why the planners of our visionless vision waste more than 5000 naira a day, when a professor receives just about the same amount as MONTHLY salary. Stupid! Absolutely stupid! To hell with Abacha and his vision crooks!
The emphasis on education and the development of our human resources. Your discussion of this matter was excellent. I especially liked the way you highlighted the importance of PRIMARY education. This is something our people do not yet realise, and what would be our greatest handicap in the long run. How can a nation with inefficient primary schoools become a
first-class nation? It is impossible! Absolutely impossible!
Igboland, especially, is not taking this matter serious at all. They are busy frying groundnuts, taking chieftancy titles, celebrating "igba nkwu nwanyi", blaming the "Northern oligarchy" for everything, and waiting for the same oligarchy, alias "government," to pay the salary of the school
teachers owed by Igbo Local Governments. How long shall we wait? We, Igbo people, ought to start from OURSELVES. "A na-esi n'ulo mara mma puwa ama". If the federal government fails us, that is no reason for us to fail ourselves. Not at all. Indeed, that's the more reason why we should work hard to improve ourselves and our people. By so-doing, we may even inspire the rest of the nation to follow up, even if in competetition.
And, still talking of education, the situation at the secondary level is just as bad. At Aba and Onitsha, people attend "commercial schools" i.e, schools designed to frustrate the ambitions of potential engineers, doctors, physicists, programmers, etc. Not that they even receive the professed education on accounting or typewriting (sigh). Abeg, make we kukuma forget this jaree!
I don't know if Naija has enough money to pay EACH AND EVERYONE of its numerous professionals as much as it pays those white kids whom it curently hires. From my own
perspective, the real problem is not primarily about salaries. The nation has no visible direction. It lacks competent, visioned, knowledgeable and earnest leadership. Its leaders do not inspire hope, loyalty, confidence, or commitment from the people. Therefore, professionals feel frustrated,
especially when they realise that nothing they do is going to change anything, and that the salary they don't receive is actually used to adress the perfume needs of the president's concubines. If we get a visioned, focused, competent, knowledgeable and patriotic leadership, most technical
professionals won't mind receiving 100 naira per month if that's what Nigeria can honestly afford to pay them at the moment, - as long as the president himself receives the same, and everybody, or at least most people, are working very hard, honestly, and commitedly to create a better
future for the children.
The issue at stake is a critical one involving the lives and future of millions of our children. Abacha and his cohorts should go to hell. So should political correctness/diplomacy, when it stands on the way.
BTW, I am really happy that you are not into all those tribalistic mumbo jumbo. People ought grow up, not distract themselves by focusing on irrelevant Tuwo-Amala differencies.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: What is your opinion on my proposed African Cyber Corridor?
ANSWER: Excellent! excellent! Not just excellent, but absolutely NECESSARY. How
shall we DO it? How get into ACTION? That's the real prolem. The computer Science dept in one Naija University I know is a proud owner of a few 286 computers!! And that's not its only pride: its (computer science) students do not even get to see those blessed and mysterious computers until their third year! kai! In fact, at graduation, the students would have to learn
how to use Windows!!!! Would have probably never heared of Netscape, not to talk of Java. Computer science indeed!
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: In two weeks, I will be speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus. How should I reword this speech for this African-American audience?
ANSWER: I wonder. I've never been to the US, nor met many African
Americans, so I don't know much about their particular needs. Those guys
play a lot of pop, and basketball, which is really nice, but not sufficient
at all. More of them should engage in science, really. Encourage them to
join the information age. we need more Emeagwalis. They are good - and
important - for our pride. Perhaps, a specific project should be undertaken
to breed black American programmers.
PHILIP EMEAGWALI: Can you suggest a catchier title that begs to be quoted?
ANSWER: Hmm, I'm tempted to be mischievous here but, quite frankly, the
following, or something much like them, ought to be considered:
1. Is Vision 2010 visionless?
2. 2010: Visioning the PAST?
3. Vision 2010: The Greatest defect
4. How far does Vision 2010 go?
5. Vision 2010: Vision my nose!
Well, I suppose you would have to choose something more civil, especially
if you want Abacha and co to listen to what you are saying (assuming he
would understand this talk about an African "Cyber corridor". Does he ever
listen? I wonder! Rumour claims that he spends his time playing draft, not
Dominic Ogbonna, Dominic.Ogbonna@student.kuleuven.ac.be, Belgium
Could I simply say that personally I did not like what I read and since we do not know each
other I thought that it would be impolite to say anything more.
Echewodo Nwawudu, firstname.lastname@example.org, United Kingdom
I AM A NOBODY. NOBODY KNOWS ME. NOBODY HAS HEARD OF ME. SO, IN MY CLOAK OF ANONYMITY I CAN SPEAK WITHOUT
THE THREAT OF RETALIATION;
PHYSICALLY OR VERBALLY. Mr. Emeagwali,
YOUR SPEECH IS ELLIGENT, VIBRANT,
INSIGHTFUL, AND INSPIRING. YOUR VISION
OF A NIGERIA IN THE NEXT MILINIUM SHOULD BE COPIED AND POSTED AT EVERY
GATHERING PLACE THRUOGHOUT
YOUR COUNTRY. OR IS IT YOUR COUNTRY? ACCORDING TO Nnaemeka M. Onumonu,
THE IGBO PEOPLE ARE NOT
CONSIDERED "TRUE" NIGERIANS AND ARE
TREATED AS 2nd CLASS CITIZENS. YET YOU DON'T MENTION THEM IN YOUR SPEECH
OR INCLUDE YOURSELF AS ONE OF THEM. YOU HAVE MADE A SUCESS OF YOURSELF,
BUT DON'T EVER FORGET WHO YOU ARE OR WHERE YOU CAME FROM. THAT HAS BEEN
OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN IN THIS
COUNTRY. WE STRUGGLE AGAINST OUR-
SELVES AS WELL AS THE WHITES SO OUR
JOURNEY IS TOWARD OBLIVION, WHILE YOURS CAN BE TOWARD PROSPERITY. BUT
ALL MUST BE INCLUDED IF YOUR PLAN IS TO WORK OR THE FOUNDATION WILL
CRUMBLE WHEN YOU TRY TO BUILD
ON IT. I HAD A DREAM OF VISITING MY HOMELAND AND SEEING THE WONDERS
OF THE FIRST NATION OF THE WORLD. I
DREAMED OF GOING TO KENYA TO SEE
THE WILDLIFE ROAMING FREE; OF SEEING
SOUTH AFRICA IN ITS AWAKENED STATE,
PREPARING ITSELF FOR THE NEW CENTURY; THE STRUGGLING NATION OF
RWANDA IN AN ATTEMPT TO HELP AN
OVERWHELMING SITUATION; EGYPT, WITH
HER VAST CULTURE AND HISTORY. BUT
IT WAS NIGERIA THAT CAPTURED MY HEART. THE CAPITAL COUNTRY OF AFRICA
HAD BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE MOST
PROSPEROUS OF ALL THE NATIONS
OUTSIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA; THE INFRA-
STRUCURE WAS SOUND, ITS PEOPLE
FRIENDLY AND WELL EDUCATED. WHAT A
NIGHTMARE TO FIND OUT THAT NIGERIA
WAS CONSIDERED A 3rd RATE BANANA
REPUBLIC. MY FAITH IN MANKIND HAS BEEN FURTHER ERODED TO THE POINT
THAT I TRUST ALMOST NO ONE ANYMORE.
Philip, CONSIDER YOUR TASK, SWALLOW
SOME OF YOUR PRIDE, COME TOGETHER
WITH all THE PEOPLES OF YOUR ONCE
GREAT NATION AND THEN SALLY FORTH
WITH ALL THE STRENGTH YOU AND THOSE
WITH YOU CAN MUSTER. MY ANONYMOUS
SPIRIT WILL BE WITH YOU. PLEASE HELP
TO RESTORE MY FAITH IN HUMANITY.
Click on emeagwali.com for more information.