By Prof. Boniface Egboka
The Nigerian environment are littered with so many fake, reactionary and narrow thinkers. Many Nigerians are not thinking properly in the way and manner the modern world of Science and Technology is supposed to be doing; the few men and women who work hard to do so are not appreciated and encouraged. That is why events have gone so badly in the country over the years. Many are antiquated in thoughts with fossilized thinking attitudes that continue to lead us into darkness of life. Most of unbelieving Nigerians do require a change of attitude, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies in their way and manner of not-thinking over issues and handling of arising problems. The few of those who try to think rightly/properly are hardly-believed or accepted.
One doubts if most Nigerians think properly and do the right thing at all times. There is a domineering majority of Nigerians of non-thinkers who are shallow-minded copy-cats in their thoughts, pugnacious in deeds, truculent in ideas and verbose in reasoning. This apparent majority of non-thinkers hold hostage the minority who painstakingly-make honest efforts to think scientifically, broadly, deeply, imaginatively, ingenuously and originally in the management of the nation’s socioeconomic-cum-political resources vis-a-vis problems and prospects. This development of such jack-in-the-box reactionary reasoning and attitude spurn the bane of anti-progress bedeviling widescale national development and growth.
As a result of shallow thinking, socioeconomic events are on reverse gear and into downward slide in terms of social development and progress. The developments expected from governments and leaders are lacking. Nigeria is bounteously-blessed with human and material resources which if well-thought out and managed would put the country into a world class of a rich-modern developed nation. The country seems to be an economically-failing nation in a state of sociopolitical anomie. Nigeria was in the same fold of developing countries like Malaysia, India, Brazil etc. but today, she is lagging far behind these nations that have advanced into modern developed nations quite ahead of Nigeria. The leaders of these countries are positively-thinking while those of Nigeria are not doing so.
The leaders and followers are rather eager for acquisition and importation of finished products. That is why ports and commercial centres are congested with imported products/services. Our country and people hardly-think to manufacture our own products. As a result, the nation’s urban environments are heavily-polluted/contaminated and littered with solid and liquid wastes from imported products of varied kinds from other countries. One wonders and doubts if Nigerians, the leaders or the led, are seriously-thinking and properly-reasoning over issues and ongoing events vis-a-vis development and socioeconomic progress in Nigeria. Rather one finds quarrels and fights over money and boundary lands all the time. That is not to say that our scientists, researchers, journalists, politicians, the print and electronic media managers, church and traditional leaders, industrialists, youths, government officials, members of the National Assembly, market men/women, lecturers, students, artisans, the elite etc. are not thinking or reasoning well as they ought to do. But are they really effectively-thinking and doing well enough?
We hear voluble messages over the wireless (radio and television sets), read quantum volumes of materials in newspapers, magazines etc. There are marathon discussions and volumes of reports/communiqués from meetings, seminars, symposia and conferences where enormous talk-shops occur annually for exchange of data and ideas. There are research institutes, Polytechnics and Universities where Pure and Applied Scientific work are carried out and copious reports are written yearly. Some of such reports contain patentable/original scientific thoughts and findings that can be beneficial for socioeconomic development. Most of the time, such reports are never used but are allowed to collect dust on shelves. Many a time, people are busy engaged in one or more of these activities in one place or another. Rather, Nigerians base almost 100% of their lives importing all sorts of finished products for consumption from overseas. Waste products from them constitute terrible environmental nuisance in urban cities nationwide.
In this way and manner, we rejoice, pat ourselves on the back and regard ourselves as doing well in our thoughts and actions in moving this country forward. But the resultant of these efforts seem to glaringly-show that we just maximally-move the country backward. Life in Nigeria seems to have been more meaningful in early sixties than today. We take one step forward and two steps backward yearly. Life has become really “a walking shadow; (where) a poor player… froths and struts upon the stage and is seen no more; a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. Many Nigerians are not thinking properly on the way and manner to move the country forward like people in civilized nations are religiously-doing.
We do not encourage those who do so to think. We hardly care to accept or use results of the work of those who come out with well-thought out processes. The educational research institutes and Universities are poorly-funded or even are not funded at all. We push them into disruption of Academic calendar and regular/wasteful strikes all the time.
We hardly-use services of experts or care for their inputs/advice. Many Nigerian experts and professionals who actively-think properly and have made inventions through scientific methods of thinking and reasoning in the Sciences, Technology, Humanity and the Arts; and who made positive contributions to knowledge are spirited out to overseas countries where we have lost them through brain-drain syndrome. Since Nigeria does not employ and use them, other countries use and employ them as medical doctors, engineers, applied scientists, technologists etc. Nigerian professionals are well-accepted and are performing wonders today in European, American, Asian and even in African countries. During post-war periods in different parts of the world, many countries kept their experts who fully-used their brains in such wars like Germany, Japan, Israel, South Korea etc. to benefit and recover from destructions and war-trauma.
Their nationals travelled to and moved about in developed countries; aggressively-studied, learned and copied information on new findings and whatever technologies they could lay their hands/eyes upon and returned to their countries to replicate, modify or adapt them as deemed appropriate. After World War II, some Jewish scientists from Germany and other European countries left for the United States or the USSR while some went home to Israel. These Jewish returnees/immigrants nucleated wonderful and breakthrough scientific foundations of knowledge in their new countries for which these nations are leading the world today. Nigeria has many of her knowledgeable nationals scattered in many parts of the world. They can be of similar use for national deliverance and service. After the unfortunate Nigeria-Biafra war, innovative military-weaponry inventions by Biafran Scientists and Engineers; and that were used to sustain the war in Biafra for three years; were destroyed by Nigerians after the handover when Biafra surrendered to Nigeria in January 1970.
Nigeria could have acquired and developed these fruitful Biafran Technologies and harnessed them properly for national development. One humbly-believes that those leaders did not think properly of the possible implications whereby if they had allowed the inventions to be; the country would have benefitted from some positive uses/developments of the Biafran discoveries for industrial-economic growth instead of the negative implications their destructive actions entailed. In libraries of Nigerian Universities and Research Institutes, professional bodies and Academies Nigerian Academy of Science, Engineering, Hydrogeological, Hydrological Sciences, Geosciences, Agricultural Sciences, Medical Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences etc. there are publications and reports that contain innovative and useful ideas/works that are resultants of hard work and serious thinking that can be put into excellent uses to support the Socioeconomic development and growth of Nigeria.