Africans as a people and Nigeria as a nation will never progress and remain perpetually underdeveloped until we re-discover, retrace our steps and embrace indigenous knowledge as a panacea to solving our peculiar economic, political, social, scientific and technological challenges.
This was the main thrust of the lecture delivered by a distinguished academic and a retired Professor of Botany from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State, Prof. Omotoye Olorode while speaking on a topic titled: “Overcoming the challenges of development through indigenous knowledge” on Thursday 14th April, 2016 at the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa.
According to Olorode, the indigenous knowledge can best be accessed by reviving, preserving and promoting Nigeria’s indigenous languages and history in which this knowledge are embedded.
The renowned scholar emphasized further that something needed to be urgently done at reviving and promoting communicating, teaching and writing in our indigenous languages for the good of this generation and coming generations.
He posited that the more we undervalue and lose our indigenous languages, the more we would lose our precious indigenous knowledge, civilizations and histories.
Speaking further, the renowned Professor of Botany who currently teaches at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, stated that the Chinese people got to where they are today as a result of the decision they took during their revolution of 1978 to shut their boarders and their resolve that whatever they cannot produce indigenously, they were not going to use.
“That is the miracle and the simple secret behind China’s economic prosperity, political stability, social cohesion, technological advancement and scientific breakthrough”.
He stated that it is imperative that we make our people know that the Yoruba, the Igbo and the Hausa are not fools, but intellectuals. He reiterated that our processes and progress were truncated by the colonialists and that we can always reinvent without losing any good thing that the modern science has to offer.
“This is instructive to the survival of our independence and pride as a people. There is no group that cannot make progress “, he submitted.
The Don maintained that the world in general is on the brink of collapse as there are challenges of insecurity everywhere including the so called developed world.
He asserted that the discovery of new and more complex diseases such as zika virus, aids, lassa fever, ebola, lack of save drinking water, widespread illiteracy, corruption, international conspiracies, political maneuverings, deforestation, climate change, abundant poverty and a host of others are among the developmental challenges threatening the survival of man in the 21st century, despite the scientific attainments of the West.
Olorode therefore admonished that people, especially Africans, must begin to think about the society and collective survival rather than personal self and individualism which the capitalist societies like American and British and Western civilizations promote and foster.
This communal line of thought, the scholar stressed, will help surmount our economic, political, social and technological challenges, moreso, as Africans have always savoured and lived communally, prior to the incursion of the imperialists.
Concluding, Prof. Olorode charged OSUSTECH’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who is the convener of the public lecture to form a committee that will collaborate and network with other unions in the University, government and non-governmental agencies, other relevant institutions, professional bodies, artisan organizations, concerned groups, individuals and students’ bodies towards convening a national conference for the promotion and reinstatement of indigenous knowledge in order to overcome the challenges of development in Nigeria in particular and Africa as a whole.
In his address, the Chairperson, ASUU OSUSTECH, Comr. Dipo Akomolafe maintained that development and poverty are opposite in nature. He stated that a nation that is not developing will have majority of her populace impoverished and subjected to hardships as it is the case in Nigeria.
Lamenting, Akomolafe said, “what do we call development where people spend more time queuing to purchase fuel than in their respective places of work, where electricity is not available and the cost is becoming a pain on the necks of the masses, where access to health facility is determined by the status in the society, where good roads are giving way to potholes, where salaries are not paid for months, where the rate of unemployment is increasing daily, where lives and properties are threatened every minute of the day, where the only Regular thing is Irregularity?”
Earlier, in his remarks, the Acting Vice-Chancellor who doubles as Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Adegoke Adegbite described Prof. Olorode as an outstanding teacher who has produced several generations of Ph.D graduates and professors.