Monday, 28 May 2012

Ajaokuta Steel Company The Devils Workshop

Ajaokuta steel plant started in the late 70s at the same time when the first steel plant in India was built by the Russians. Since then the Indians has advanced in their steel technology while Nigerians are still scratching their heads on whether to abandoned the steel plant or sell it to other Countries to manage. Nigerian trained lots of professionals since then to be able to take over from the Russians and moved the steel project forward.

Most of the Engineers trained in the former Soviet Union then are one of the best in Engineers in the world today. Those who decided to go back to Nigeria to developed their Nation faced the reality of life. They soon realized that staying in Ajaokuta steel plant is educational death sentenced because all the knowledge they acquired in Russia would not be needed. 98 percent of those who came home were just going to their offices signing attendance.

Nigerian Government failed to provide innovative minds of those experts trained then. After a while some of them left Ajaokuta to go into University to lecture because they envisioned that Ajaokuta was a dead end road. Those who remained were systematically retired or fired because the Government do not want to continue to pay them salary. In the first place it was the Government who failed to put money where it belongs. Big budgets were allocated to Ajaokuta steel plant one hundredths of those money never made it to the plants. It was diverted for big shots used. The first Managing Director of Ajaokuta Steel plant was Dr. Ezeminary he had Ph.D meteorology which is the study of weather.

Since we have ill informed leaders. Shagari who was only a grade two teacher then before becoming a President could not differentiate between meteorology and metallurgy to him they both sound the same. He was hired to oversee the steel plant. I know in Nigeria you can be a Medical Doctor and be employed in the Bank as a Bank Manager or Cashier. Anything goes in Nigeria. Even getting a job in Nigeria does not go by merits is all about who you know. You can get a degree in toilet maintenance in Nigeria and be placed as the head of the Military Intelligence. That is too good at least he has a degree. How many of the Governors Senators, House of Representatives in Nigeria who do not have a good Secondary School education? So many of them. Meanwhile you have millions of Nigerian graduates roaming the street with first class honor without a job. Some of those first class honors took a job as Aid Assistance to all of this big shots who can not read and write. This Aid Assistance are not been used in the right way. This Aid Assistance are being used by this illiterate leaders to look for different kind of young girls that they would relax with at one hotel or the other. Meanwhile, these same illiterates, have two or three wives at home.

The well educated ones becomes servant to our so called illiterate leaders. In the morning, all you see them doing is carrying the bags of the Alhajis and Alhajas, Chiefs, Ogas etc. The brain that were supposed to be challenged are been wasted because of lack of vision to steer our Nation in the right direction. This is a clear order of the day in Nigeria para status. Those Nigerians who left the Country to other part of the world were able to compete with other counterparts to be experts in their fields. I would site just a few examples. The best trained Engineers in Canada and United States right now in the field of Metallurgy and Chemical Engineers are Nigerians. There was a problem in one of the steel plant in Canada, this problem existed for the past 10 years. They could not get an expert to resolve the issue. A young vibrant Ph.D. holder in Metallurgy trained in Russian as an Engineer resolved the problem. He is one of the Directors of steel plant now in the United States. He is a son of our land. I mean and Ebira man. Dr. Sunday A. Okomanyi. With his last name you should know that is one of us. We have others that I could not mentioned their names if not I would be writing till tomorrow.

Nigeria lacked real patriotic Nigerians. It started from the top to the bottom. Corruption is the order of the day in Nigeria. Those who do not want to be corrupt are forced out of their jobs if they serve in a sensitive position where they are blocking the chances for others to be corrupt. Or they are forced to be corrupt when they see what others are doing.

Way forward, for the Ajaokuta steel plant to succeed. Nigerian Government must be committed to spend the money on the steel plant to bring the plant into completion. Those who are in any way accountable for the welfare of the company must be held accountable. A time line must be stipulated for the completion of the steel plants. Engineers must be retrained for the new technological advancement. Engineers in our Country must have dialogue with other innovative minds of their Counterparts in other parts of the world. Knowledge must be shared among the expertise. A genuine teams must be set to evaluate the development of the steel every six months. This would not be a team that would accept cut backs to lie for the managements. If we are all ready for this, then we can call the Russians back to engage in the development of the plants. The Government must be committed if not Ajaokuta is just another Ghost town.