The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Tuesday lamented what he described as unfortunate loss of huge opportunities in the inability of the country to encourage local manufacturing of its needs in telephony, and general communication infrastructure.
Aregbesola said the opportunities his government saw in the massive population of technology devices users in Nigeria led to the birth of such company in Osun as typified by the establishment of the RLG/Adulawo Technology Centre and the innovative tablet of knowledge called Opon Imo.
The Governor stated these on Tuesday as the Chief host at the Annual General Meeting and the 11th International Conference and exhibition on Power and Telecommunication of the Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE) titled “Power and Telecommunications: New frontier for investment” in Osogbo.
He called on universities, other tertiary institutions and engineers in the country to allow their teachings and understanding of electrical and electronic engineering to affect the production of requisite knowledge needed by the sector for the growth of Nigeria.
Aregbesola who was represented by his Chief-of-Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola held that their must be a revolution in the sector in the country in which a synergy must be formed between knowledge and entrepreneurship.
Aregbesola said, “I need not reiterate that most jobs in this sector are also lost abroad through importation of essential equipment and accessories, especially mobile phones and low manpower, necessitating the importation of high level experts from abroad.
“If there are 146 million active lines, then we can reasonably expect there should roughly be the same number of phones in use and definitely double this number would have been used and discarded since the introduction of mobile telephony in 2001.
“We can then imagine what value would have been added to our economy if half of this figure had been manufactured in Nigeria,” Aregbesola told the Engineers.
He noted that the challenge for Engineers in Nigeria is that they should first take possession of knowledge and then find ways to attract the investors, saying that is the only way the country is going to develop a truly indigenous industry that will create wealth and provide jobs for Nigerians.
The governor hinted that Osun is laying the foundation to take a sizable chunk of the telephony business, first by building capacity in ICT education.
Aregbesola held that the state has introduced e-learning tablets, Opon Imo which contains all the recommended textbooks for WAEC, NECO and JAMB examinations with their past questions, to secondary schools.
He added the state has also established an electronic manufacturing company, RLG Adulawo, which produces mobile phones, LCD television sets, laptop computers and other household products.
He pointed out that one of the reasons why creativity is lacking in the country is the poor teaching and consequent reception of science education, especially mathematics.
The governor attributed the poor teaching of Mathematics and science to the obnoxious idea by colonialism that only a tiny few and exceptionally brilliant minds can understand and should study science.
He noted that the false belief has scared away the interest of the youth in science, saying creativity of the youth must be explored from the kindergarten through primary, secondary and ultimately tertiary levels of education.
“Your body should make conscious efforts to encourage and promote science education. This is how you will be able to develop a vast reserve of human resources needed for the high level manpower in the power and telecommunication sectors”.
Speaking earlier, President, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr. Ademola Olorunfemi, noted that Nigerian Engineers must use their experience to help politicians for the development of the nation.
He urged Engineers to brace up for challenges as the nation enters a new face of change, saying the society needs to come out with papers on power and Telecommunications for onward transmission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We as Engineers must do everything to improve the country’s GDP. Our roles can not be over emphasised in nation building, we should seize the opportunity of this conference to develop technological based services which could assist local production and services.
“The nation is facing a serious challenge of development, we must collaborate with various levels of government in other for the nation to improve in its technology”. The NSC boss stressed.
Also in his welcome address, the National chairman of The Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Engr. Gracious Omatseye charged Engineers to Zero on their areas of competence.
“We should be determined to improve others’ lives through innovations and by the grace of God you will be on your path of destiny fulfillment. Until we act, Nigeria’s power and communications sectors of the economy shall remain at the state of inertia”.