As I conclude this series on “It’s Time to Listen to Emeagwali and one million Nigerians under “Part four” of this write-up, I wish to thank all those who have read and followed this presentation on issues of knowledge, technology and brain drain; and the need to refocus our development national mindset to positive thoughts. The critical mass of the message of this presentation focuses on the need to adopt a national policy for turning the nation’s brain drain into a brain gain.
This can be realized by identifying, recognizing, organizing, creating special incentives, and using the abundant knowledge of Nigerians in diaspora. – as the first point of call for technology solutions. We must build, harness and sustain the much needed critical minimum knowledge, competence and technological capacities to compete with the rest of the 21 century world.
My special appreciation goes to all those young minds and good people (Nigerians at home and abroad) who took special interest on the issues raised and found valuable time to respond by sending me all those creative, interactive and very motivating e-mails. My special appreciation goes to The Guardian Newspapers for the privilege and support towards this publication; Alfred Okoigun, MD of ARCO Petrochemical ENG. CO Ltd. (U.K.), Ogunyemi Babajide, Okechukwu Onwuka, Bashy Lawal (USA), Esealuka Anthony (USA), Oyetunde Oyekunle, Iro Ukpai (U.K.), Kelechi Nwosu, Bukeda Obu, Aron-Molase Bayo, Azuka Ijekeye, and others too numerous to mention. I thank you all.
NIGERIA YOUR FUTURE
We can dream dreams. We cannot wish the future. It is built at a higher level of thought, dedication and commitment. The future is built by people and by people alone!
What future do we want for such a lovely and vibrant country as Nigeria? What legacy do we want to and indeed must leave for generations yet unborn? These are pertinent questions that must be asked at this point in time of our national history.
Whatever the shape, size, colour, rhythm and embedded supper dreams that must be codified in the future we perceive for ourselves as a nation, one thing should remain fundamentally clear;
that is, “the future of any nation is built with a knowledge architectural mind and creative vision.” The future can therefore not be WISHED. It is built
To build a functional and productive future, the chief architect cannot be any other person or thing than ‘knowledge’. People are the most important building block for a respectable future
of any nation – the strength of a nation is built on the knowledge base of its own people and cannot be source externally. It cannot and should not be built by outsiders. Government should empower Philip Emeagwali and other Nigerians in diaspora to design and build a knowledge bridge with those at home as a formidable response to global competitiveness in science and high-technology.
Our future cannot be said to lie in importing and moving containers of finished goods made by others, or in exchanging the dollar notes on our major streets. It is also neither in exporting only petroleum nor in the population explosion and neglect of the development of the youths and women of this nation – who seem to have been sentenced to selling pure-water and candies in the shameful name of street trading. These kids should be developing software and cracking complex knowledge codes embedded into our digital existence.
Indeed, our future is in our heads and hands. Our people are the only meaningful future we can depend on. Their knowledge and hidden potentials can liberate the entire continent and us, if properly harnessed. It has been recognised that we have the required knowledge base to forge ahead. The missing link seems to lie within the dynamics of knowledge recognition and acceptability of superior knowledge amongst us, scientific organisation, management and administration of a productive value system, which aspires for tested excellence. Government has a big obligation to harness the nation’s knowledge base. Enough of the excuses that we are a young nation and there is still time! A people’s environment (nation) whose history can be traced beyond the 13th century cannot be defined as young.
BUILDING THE KNOWLEDGE CHAIN
There is need to build a national knowledge-value-chain. To do this, we must put together a massive IT & CT architecture for knowledge incubation and development. We must foster and promote great institutions of knowledge capable of producing nothing less than 1 million scientists and engineers of various discipline – annually. Such institutions are not only necessary for reducing the Nigeria’s army of 34 – 40 million adult illiteracy level but a significant framework to speedify global competitiveness. Indeed, for a developing nation such as Nigeria, it is currently not enough to develop knowledge, but to retain and protect these products from the 21st century global knowledge hunters’.
How do we explain away the folly of our leaders who go abroad to shop for technical assistance without first consulting people like Philip Emeagwali, Professor Nnaji (the Robotics and AI guru), those Nigerian bright minds at NASA, MIT and at Microsoft? Who gave them the rights to first locate and consult outsiders to the detriment of our people? Indeed, should the president still retain those short sighted advisers who do not recognize the absolute importance of scheduling a personal meeting between the like of Emeagwali (other Nigerians in diaspora) and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on their numerous visits to the United States? This must change if we must build a strong nation.
An essential component of the knowledge value-chain is the mandatory human resource development and its knowledge-sharing variable. It is equally essential that the major content of the 21st century knowledge base is high-technology empowerment and skill enhancement. There must be a dynamic balance between academic knowledge of the intellectual and technological skill capacity of the gifted – Emeagwali has both in abundance.
Lessons learnt from our development experience so far can be summarised with our “debt-trap equation” thus: ‘IMF/World Bank/Paris Club demands from Nigeria to pay for the “knowledge”delivered/sold to her in the past. Because Nigeria forgot (and continue to forget?) to develop, harness, reward and protect her knowledge industry. If this situation is not urgently reversed, I foresee a deeper pit of massive debt-trap for Nigeria in the very near future – the digital divide of the Information Age.
RESPONDING TO CHANGE IMPACT
The greatest challenge faced by all nations of the world is that of managing change in the 21st century Information Age. According to Andersson Dugonjie – “Sudden discontinuities and structural economic changes prompt new concepts and new tools which can probe beyond the traditional optimization and lifecycle theories”
As a nation we are confronted with many problems within the context of responding to the impact of change. The challenges are many. We must tame our ferociously offending environment and deal with the over-concentration of people and resources around our metropolis. Declare war on ignorance and reprogram the population surge; change the structure of our crumbling economy; refocus the value system by paying homage to knowledge, motivating and rewarding creative talents and upholding ethics and morals.
Ours is a concentrated problem of knowledge poverty. The solution lies in knowledge multiplication and sharing – a process where merit is abundantly compensated.Conventional methods have become incapable of delivering solutions to the above problems. Moreover, market forces alone are incapable of addressing and accelerating
high-technology development in a developing nation such as ours Our focus should therefore be on high-technology poverty alleviation. If indeed any continent deserves and qualifies to have free, mandatory and functional education for all at all levels (at least for the next fifty years), it is the African continent. Right to deliberately multiply ignorance is not part of the human rights and freedom charter. The right to information embodies the right to education and knowledge at all levels! We need a knowledge-every-where Nigeria.
Every nation of the world has embarked on the journey of creating a 21st century knowledge society (Information Age). This need for the application, diffusion and use of Information and Communications Technology tools and facilities has intensified with time, at a very high velocity – leading us into the fearsome but inevitable digital divide phase of life. Where does Nigeria stand? What is our technology and knowledge blueprint for global competitiveness? Philip Emeagwali and many Nigerians in diaspora can crack the above complex codes and open the door to our development if challenged, recognized on merit and sincerely rewarded.
TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT CULTURE
Responding effectively to the emerging global impact of Information and Communications Technologies will require substantial investment – both by the public and the private sectors. These investments will also have to be classified and deployed domestically and internationally. Our policy makers must realise that those technical assistance they bring in to execute our national contracts and pay huge amount to, from our collective resources are indeed at best, third, forth or fifth-class skills. Many of them are technicians turned Engineers overnight!
Domestically, large investment must be injected, first to ‘tame’ the ferocious physical environment! Create a people-first governance approach and the enabling environment. Empower the youth, disabled and women.
Ventilate the information overload burden on the nation by creating better access to a greater majority of the citizenry – this is feasible through the provision of a robust National Information Infrastructure. Above all, enthrone orderliness, discipline, transparency and accountability. These investments will occur in the following area:
__Creating a functional Communications and IT Infrastructure.
__Building institutional frameworks.
__Developing corresponding skills
__ Establishing a National I. T Policy, Strategic Planning and functional Implementation.
Internationally, Nigeria should invest and buy into major global high-technology formations in strategic economies of the world. The central objective of this initiative is to open up windows of opportunities for Nigerians to get closer and monitor high technology development trends capable of empowering them to greater capabilities.Lessons learnt from India’s International high-tech investment strategy – e.g: Citibank and others – are valid evidences. It is equally significant that the human worthiness of Nigerians at home and abroad (particularly at home) be significantly uplifted and protected at all times. These and others are fundamental challenges of nation building that must be addressed within the highest level of our consciousness – and supported by adequate political will.
WHAT CAN EMEAGWALI DO FOR NIGERIA?
I have continued to ask myself, ‘can the whole world be wrong and Nigeria is right in how one of the genius of our time (Philip Emeagwali) is assessed and perceived? I continue to wonder! Already as a Nigerian patriot in disapora, Philip Emeagwali has done a lot for Nigeria. Analyses have shown that to date, he has single handily created more than 1 billion positive impressions around the world as a Nigerian. The values of those impressions are immeasurable. I am not sure if any Nigerian to date – ‘dead or alive’ –can match that record. Presently, I don’t know of any government PR strategy and machinery capable of creating 500 million positive impressions for our great nation. Emeagwali and other – if well packaged can create 3.5 billion impressions to fuel Nigeria’s strategic development. Anyway, one may not be surprised because Philip
Emeagwali is born to break world records. According to him “It has something to do with my personality, I am more confident in pursuing ideas that are not very well accepted – if every one goes east, I go west, so I will be the first to find the solution.”
Now, let us share and celebrate what Emeagwali can do for Nigeria – within the context of what he has done for the world:
|01||Credited with alerting the petroleum industry that massively parallelcomputers can be used to recover more oil.||1989|
|02||First to program a massively parallel computer to outperform aconventional (vector) supercomputer||1988|
|03||First to have applied a pseudo-time approach in reservoir modeling||1990|
|04||Credited with pioneering the use of the “vast resources” of theInternet in supercomputing.||1980s|
|05||Credited with conclusively demonstrating that computers withthousands of processing nodes can solve significant real-world problems||1989|
|06||Formulated the counter-intuitive speedup paradox that there are twodifferent but correct theoretical speedup of parallel computers|
|07||Formulated the theory of weak nearest-neighbors in parallelcomputing|
|08||Discovered the computer-intuitive hyper-cube paradox|
|09||Invented Hyperbole computer networks|
|10||Introduced the concept of network frequency for parallel computers|
|11||Demonstrated that the most communication-efficient parallelprograms must be computation-inefficient.|
|12||Designed the first Emeagwali-Fibonacci networks|
|13||Predicted that subtraction error will occur in all fast computers. Fourteenmonths later, this prediction came true on 25th February 1991, when the fast computer guiding the U.S Patriot missile made a fatal subtraction error and failed to shoot down the Iraq scud missile – killing 28 U.S soldiers!||1989|
|14||Demonstrated that it is impossible to use strictly hexagonal lattice gascellular automation methods to implement a complete climate model.|
|15||Proved that the use of only Dirichlet type boundary condition yield moreaccurate numerical solutions in the vicinity of petroleum wells located near the boundary and therefore suitable for avoiding the coning problem caused by velocity of converging flows in the vicinity of oil wells.|
|16||Discovered the analogy between Darcy’s equations used in petroleumsimulations and geostrophic equations used in weather forecasting|
|17||Devised novel procedures for engineering in-inertia into low-inertia computational fluid dynamic codes|
|18||Devised new set of porous media low equations that is vectorizable,parallelizable and suprisingly, fifty times less computation-intensive than the original formulation. (Source: Compulink).|
|19||Discovered the relationship between sphere packing and fast computing.|
|20||Emeagwali’s most recent research (Decoding the Silent Lyrics of Rain Forests) has shown that the branching structure used by plants are more efficient than that used by computer manufacturers In his mathematical analysis on building a Phytocomputer from Emeagwali’s Hypertree, he has demonstrated that for a given number of computer links and routing chips, this new network will enable a computer to gather and broadcast the largestquality of messages to the processing nodes in the shortest time!|
Dear valuable reader, we should not go to sleep after digesting this presentation on “It’s Time to listen to Emeagwali and one million Nigerians in diaspora. For the rest millions of us, it is indeed time to act. There is need to establish a knowledge propagation and development movement. I have proposed to Philip Emeagwali on the need to create “FRIENDS OF EMEAGWALI” as an International movement to liberate our nation from the wilderness of technology ignorance. He has accepted to champion the good cause and has already opened an on-line directory at http://emeagwali.com and/or at http://emeagwali.listbot.com or by e-mail at email@example.com I invite you to subscribe today and be part of the knowledge for all movement. Let us join hands and establish the framework for“knowledge everywhere” for Nigeria. Let us do this for children yet unborn. Whatever you dream you can do, start it now. Thank you.
1.Government should foster and promote a national policy to consult, engage and use Nigerians knowledge base abroad – as the first point of call for all our national development initiatives – before consulting outsider technical assistance
2.Government should establish a national databank to capture and classify all capable Nigerian expert knowledge base in the diaspora.
3.Appoint Philip Emeagwali and other Nigerians as technology development consultants to design a technological development blue-print and the way forward for nation building.
4There is need to consult Emeagwali for the Design and strategic Planning of the Nation’s Information Technology vision – especially for the National Information Infrastructure and Internet Super-Highway Project.
5.Establish a National IT Policy Blueprint for Nigeria’s Information Age ambition.
6 Create a technology role model out of Philip Emeagwali as a burning inspiration and motivator to the Nigerian youths by sponsoring an “Emeagwali global tour of speaking engagement” to spread the message of Nigeria’s readiness to jump-start her global competitiveness initiative in Science and High-Technology. This is one in a lifetime chance for Nigeria to turn around her development fortunes.