Obasanjo said this on Friday in his opening remark at the robotics workshop jointly organised by the Public Affairs section of the United States Consulate General, Lagos and RoboRAVE International, a US-based robotics education academy.
He noted that there would always be apprehension where new inventions were deployed but he added that there would always be opportunities attached to the emergence of such inventions.
The former President said though Nigeria “is still’far behind in terms of general education”, the introduction of robotics education to pupils and students in the country by RoboRave International and the US Consulate General was commendable.
He urged the beneficiary schools and pupils to embrace robotics education in order to close the gap in technological and scientific education obtainable in developed nations.
He noted that robotics education would not in any way escalate unemployment rate in Nigeria, rather he argued that more jobs would be created if robotics education was well planned and embraced.
He said, “Let me also comment on what has been the fears of the people. Here, we have problem of unemployment and people will say we need to create mass employment opportunities for our people.
“Many believe if you start introducing Robotics education then you will deny people employment opportunities. It is not so. What will normally happen is that there would be jobs that would emanate from Robotics. The jobs would compensate what Robotics will take over.
“We have seen that through history. When train came, people think there would be no way for road transportation. Same thing happens when railway came. People also thought when aeroplane came that railways and cars would not be useful.
” But, today roads are being constructed and we have not even done enough. Yet, Airports are being built and enlarged
“So, if we actually planned well, Robots will have a place and other jobs will be created for our teeming population not only in Nigeria and Africa but also all over the world.”
He urged the pupils to take advantage of the robotics education to better their future.
The United States Consul General in Nigeria, John Bray said robotics education would help the country in providing global partnerships and economic development.
He said many developed countries have based their continued economic growth on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Bray said the consulate would continue to support education, adding that, “This is is the beginning of our efforts to support robotics education in Nigeria.”
“Children who receive STEM education via robotics training will be better prepared to solve real-life problems with more creativity, critical thinking and effectiveness. These are the tools that they will need to compete effectively in the global economy.”
Over 300 pupils from schools across five states attended the event.