It is becoming more evident that technology could help in organising the activities of the society. When we look at our neighbours in near and far countries, we would see the level of development they have arrived at through the impact of technology. As Nigeria is growing up exponentially in its population, there can be no time that we ever have needed it as we are in dire need of technological intervention in organising our urban areas that are experiencing a surge in migration of people from the rural areas. Metropolitan cities such as Lagos, Ibadan, Aba, Kano, and Port Harcourt experience daily the migration of people who are looking for the economic benefits that they can tap from the city life without any recourse to the structural arrangement of such places to take in these people, with bearable challenges. These places become economic hubs owing to various factors.
Their initial plan usually does not always consider such enlargement in size which makes such changes in modern time become urgent necessity for a readjustment in plans. As they are thus becoming larger, they therefore need the help of technology to manage these attending updates in order to attract more economic prospects to themselves, and as well live in harmony, and record less chaos. For instance, the installation of CCTV cameras all around these urban areas for a start would reduce the crime rate and help the security of these places to level up more than what it used to be. Apart from this, the places would have the data of the incoming and the outgoing people from the cities and their financial, social, and economic lives can be traced through this system. This method has proved greatly advantageous to developed civilisation in the world, and it stands a good chance to help our own case, in Nigeria and Africa.
In addition to this, it is high time we allowed the impact of technology to flourish to our agriculture and its engagements. Without a need to reiterate it, it is obvious that the world has gone beyond the reliance of farmers on cutlass and hoes to do their agricultural activities for them. In order for them to consolidate their gains, our own farmers in Nigeria, and Africa at large, therefore, must look into what technology can do for them to maximise their potential to the fullest. There have not been many places in our agricultural history where we have improved particularly well to make manifold productions which would be enough to flood the neighbouring economies and give us a fortune which we deserved. The Nigerian land is blessed with many natural resources and the number of agricultural products that can survive on it is a testament to this assertion. The fact that we have not been able to maximise this could be blamed on our insufficient creativity.
Therefore, we can look into our cocoa industry and begin to imagine the unprecedented level of success we are bound to achieve the moment we give technology the uninterrupted latitude to help shape it. This country must come to an understanding that agriculture holds our key to economic revolution. A very large number of our citizens are still at the base level of the society economically not because they do not see the promises that agriculture holds, it is actually because they do not stand a chance to compete well in the business by using manual labour where their contemporaries in other countries are using machines. This therefore means that the need to engage technology in our polity is a collective duty of both the government and the people themselves. More so, when the government provides the needed assistance to people by making them to have access to technological inventions that will help their cause.
The wonders that technology can do to the preservation and exploration of our culture are purely unimaginable. Technology does not limit itself to the areas of providing a relief for us in the type of cars we drive, the network of roads available in the 21st century, or the fact that humans have made their maiden journey to the planets in our space, it also is capable of driving our cultural heritages to revolution where new things are entirely up for exploration. Before the advent of the kind of technology available today, humans had always been limited by spatial boundaries to either explore the different cultures around them or understand the diversity of human cultures. Prior to its time, people are limited to their own environmental cultures and would have no way of placing them in comparison to others, for improvement or modifications when needed. This promotes a monotony of perception and makes everything think there could be nothing like their own.
However, this orientation has been changed completely with technology in operation globally today. At the touch of a button or a key, we can gain uninterrupted access to other people’s wealth of cultures. This provides an avenue to place ours beside theirs to enrich our experience and live a wonderful life. Therefore, we can begin to look at the uniqueness of our cultures and consider those things we can import to the global audience which would in the end attract some economic benefits to us. Take, for instance, the celebration of Eyo festival in Lagos; masqueraders in other parts of the country should necessitate a re-branding in ways that will suit the audience abroad and flourish our good names. It is needless to talk of the economic gains this would attract. Apart from this, our cultures which are under the risk of total obliteration from the public knowledge would get to be preserved for a long time, as long as technology remains.
One of the daunting challenges we face in the contemporary African world is the ability to see to the conduct of ourselves in ways that project a good picture of ourselves. Amidst many intricate things that make our lives complex in this part of the world, the fact that our sense of organising ourselves appears poor provokes a deep thought about our capability to manage the events of our lives. Every electioneering in Africa, particularly Nigeria, still records a scary amount of lives lost, and peace, as a result, is becoming more elusive by the day whenever we are to organise political affairs of the government. Elections are usually marred by violence, and it is seen as an avenue where people could hold the society to ransom. While these challenges seem intractable with their far-reaching effects, it should interest us to know that technology can help us reduce these violent attacks pragmatically, if not curb them completely.
If we have our database intact where the information of every eligible citizen is kept, electoral violence could be a thing of the past if we employ technology to conduct elections, as the chances of criminal activities of subverting the will of the people, or buying the voters’ conscience would experience significant downright depletion. All these beautiful things abound if we make use of technology in our affairs.
– An excerpt of Prof Falola’s paper titled, Technology, Culture and Society, delivered at the Technical University first Annual Distinguished University Lecture recently.