I received this letter from Prof Francis C Eze, the Vice Chancellor of Nigeria’s finest technical university – Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), my undergraduate alma mater – on something really amazing.
People, it is HUGE – a really big deal, and I am IN. No human says NO to a Vice Chancellor because to be called is an honour. In coming weeks, you will learn more.
Simply, as I wrote in the Mines of Knowledge, the creation and dissemination of knowledge has always translated to building winning “empires and kingdoms”. In the time of Moses, Egypt was the most economically advanced nation on earth as Pharaohs had the best thinkers and astrologers.
The best moment of Greece was the era of unprecedented knowledge generation. The finest philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle lived therein. They had their moments. Greece blossomed and the world was on the feet of the Greeks. Take a big example: When the world was debating the material component of the universe, it was like a family affair in Greece; Thales said water, Heraclitus said fire, Pythagoras said numbers, etc. The world just watched them because the best ideas were emanating from Greece. Hipparchus had perfected Trigonometry in Greece and Euclid of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, had invented Geometry. They owned knowledge and helped to shape the designs of some of the best ports off the coast of the Mediterranean.
Across empires (Greek, Roman and Babylonian), knowledge has always decided the global winners. The greatness of America today is not because of the hellfire bombs, rather, operating the best university systems with MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Caltech, Standard, Princeton and others. If those schools stunt in knowledge creation, America will die economically.
Nigeria – we must lead. Our generation has a responsibility to transform Nigeria and deliver that promise University of Nigeria Nsukka posited decades ago – “to restore the dignity of man” (and woman). It’s not just going to be FUTO or UNN or UI or ABU – but indeed all universities in Nigeria!