…a device as simple as aluminium metal cooking pots used for cooking at big occasions, soap making technology and leather processing are technologies which Nigeria can leverage on as a starting point for technology development in the country.
Those were the words of the immediate past Director General, National Centre for Technology Management (NCTM), Prof. Willie Siyanbola, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors to focus on improving indigenous technology as a way of engendering technological development of the country.
Siyanbola, gave the advice in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Tuesday at a seminar organized by the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP). The seminar was attended by researchers, academics and policy makers.
According to the professor who is currently a research professor at the Centre for Energy Researvh and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, states and local governments can collaborate in funding and improving local technologies being used by local manufacturers.
“It is easier to take off from a known ground. Indigenous technologies are our own. We have been exposed to them. The point I am making is to the effect that those kinds of technologies that we know that our people have perfected over time in the traditional level can be taken to a higher level through advanced technology by applying more recent scientific knowledge. I am talking about value addition on existing technology.
“For instance, a device as simple as aluminium metal cooking pots used for cooking at big occasions, soap making technology and leather processing are technologies which Nigeria can leverage on as a starting point for technology development in the country. Nigerians will continue to cook for ceremonies – social cooking. The amount of money going into importing those products from Ghana is huge. A little scientific knowledge will help in those areas.
“A much more advanced one is the leather processing. In our research at the centre, we discovered that leather tanning is the second largest foreign exchange earner for Nigeria after oil. If only we could focus on it, we could become the world beater. Value addition must never stop for advancing the quality of life and technology use in any country. Value addition must always drive our living.
“Let’s start with little technology that will change the lives of our people so we can improve from there.”
Siyanbola went on to identify some of the factors militating against science and technology innovation in Nigeria.
He pointed out that weak advocacy, lack of science and technology culture, lack of incentives, lack of proper institutions for science and technology development, were some of the challenges.