Friday, March 15, 2013


The other day, sixteen(16) abandoned planes were marked for destruction cum sent to a steel company for recycling. That got me thinking 'what if the Eiffel Tower was in Nigeria, probably it would have be...en dismantled and sent to a steel company for recycling by now'. Over the years, our lack of maintenance culture had led to us loosing Billions of Naira and yet we still have that proverbial 'Do away with the old wife as soon as you get a new wife' attitude. The state of our refineries is nothing to write home about as importation of refined petroleum products is now the norm in a country that is one of the major exporters of oil in the world. The problem? -Lack of maintenance culture. In his book 'The Rules of Life', Richard Templar opines "Sometimes we need an old-fashioned approach of time and attention and finding out. Like our grandparents, who didn't throw things away[or abandon them] and get a new one when something had stopped working -they patiently sat down and tried to sort out what it is that had gone wrong and if there was a way to put it right again".
Our General Hospitals could be likened to a hospital ran by a Doctor who just saved some little money working with the Government and decided to go into private practice. They are understaffed, lack functional pharmacies and proper lighting and this is supposed to be a government controlled institution. I saw pictures and read about the Police College at Ikeja, Lagos state and I felt really sorry for the country and that is still due the Government's lackadaisical attitude. How would one expect an excellent output or effort from a policeman who was trained in such an unkempt, dilapidated, smelly, rat-infested place called a police college. The numerous potholes we complain of on our roads have also found their way to our runways. A visit to any of the local airport in the country would prove this fact yet we have a functional Government. Growing up, I used to hear about NITEL, NRC, NIGERWAX and other Government owned or controlled companies but now the adjective -'Defunct' is what you would find before them each time they are mentioned or appear on the Dailies owing to embezzlement of funds meant to foster the growth of these industries or institutions. Privatisation is now the order of the day because most of our corrupt officials see that as an avenue to get richer and this is because most of these privately owned companies are owned by them and are being run by their agents yet we are complaining of not progressing. How would we progress when the country's wealth rests in the hands of few people.
Around the country, you could tell if an institution is government controlled or owned by the shape in which it is in or the nature of its maintenance. I wonder what would have become of countries like the USA, Britain, France, South Africa, Germany, China etc if their government's attitude towards maintenance is like that of Nigeria. Can you compare a public school in the US with one here in the country? Or a General Hospital here in the Country with one in South Africa? These questions are left for you -the readers to answer.
Our neighbouring country -Ghana is a testimony of how a proper maintenance culture could turn a country around for better. Malaysia collected oil palm seeds from Nigeria sometime ago, today they remain one of the major exporters of Oil palm but where is Nigeria? yet we have a working Agricultural sector.
Until the Government of Nigeria sees the need to ensure a proper maintenance culture in its institutions, industries, ministries etc, the country would remain stagnant and the only notable progress we would be recording would be those that are mentioned when the president makes a nationwide broadcast.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013


In Nigeria today, your guarantee to a speedy employment is based on number of degrees, class of degrees or the school attended and not what you know or can be able to do thus giving paper intelligence more importance when compared to practical intelligence. Over the years, the craze for a first class degree or a school whose name is recognized has led to the production of half-baked graduates who learned nothing else throughout their stay in school but their course of study. A friend of mine would jokingly say “A Nigerian microbiologist’s knowledge is limited to just the theoretical culture plate, place him in a Lab and see if he’d recognize a culture plate when he sees one”. The world seem to be moving at a fast pace technologically but instead of following this trend, the average Nigerian student is either moving from one lecturer’s office to the other trying to sort for grades or in more serious cases spreading their legs as most female students would do just to pass examinations. I don’t blame the student for this but the system that has given priority to paper intelligence over practical intelligence. For this same reason, we would have a Masters holder in Engineering who cannot fix his generator when it develops a little fault or even fix his car when it breaks down but would sought for the services of a roadside mechanic whom if not found would lead to this M.Eng. holder, parking his car and using a taxi to go about his business. Nowadays employers of labour doesn’t even care about your abilities or that special skill you possess aas they would even start the screening according to class of degrees from the vacancy notice and this leads to some ‘less fortunate’ intelligent ones being left out owing to paper intelligence. I wonder if any employer must have listened to Prof. Wole Soyinka as a young graduate when there are other ‘First Class materials’ out there but look at the level where practical intelligence has gotten him today. This is just one out of several cases. A good number of people making waves around the world today never graduated summa or magma cum laude but their intelligence speaks for them. Talking about not judging according to class of degrees or paper intelligence, I am not standing in favour of those lazy students who have decided not to read or develop themselves and expect to pass examinations but for those who are intelligent and brainy but for one reason or the other, this is not manifested in their certificates as both could be differentiated through employer-employee tests and interaction. A person’s ability or level of intelligence should not be judged by paper intelligence or what a certificate bears because in Nigeria today, some of our politicians have shown that this type of intelligence can either be forged or bought.
Over the years, our Universities had graduated thousands of ‘First Class’ students but still there have been no significant improvement in the country and this is because we are focused on the wrong type of intelligence –the paper intelligence instead of real tangible intelligence. Don’t misunderstand this for me having a dislike for ‘First Class’ students because I am also struggling to achieve that feat. In his work ‘7 Mistakes Our Generation Must Avoid If We Must Change Nigeria’, prolific author –Okechukwu Ofili writes “When William Kamkwamba designed a windmill in his village in Malawi, he did it without a high-school diploma but yet his impact was much more than thousands with PhD’s. Not to say that we don’t have Nigerians making that type of difference, but with our degrees and potential we should be doing way more.” He went further to state that “ We need to avoid this deadly mistake of paper intelligence and focus on practical intelligence that can help our nation.”
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