The first Fellow and Chief Consultant in Aerospace Medicine and Human Factors of the West African College of Physicians and the USA-based Aerospace Medical Association, Dr. Makanjuola Akindele Owolabi, has said that Nigeria is not doing much to address human factors which constitute about 80 to 90 per cent of all problems; crashes and disasters in aviation globally.
Dr. Owolabi also observed that the authorities seem not to be ready to tap from the wealth of knowlee inherent from experts in certain field of aviation, particularly in aerospace medicine.
According to him, human factors are about people who are working in their natural environment whether politically, scientifically, educationally or technologically.
He therefore, pointed out that human beings need to know that to attain optimum efficiency and safety, by nature, we have certain limitations, which can make them fail and those things need to be changed by training or by indoctrination.
Owolabi, while speaking shortly after the 12th Annual Lecture organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), Ekiti State branch, held at the Conference Hall of Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State recently said that, as a practitioner in that field, he has remained completely under-utilised both when he was in the Nigerian Air Force and even now that he is retired, adding that “we are a nation where until my name changes to either Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba, I’m not relevant. Until I come and beg them, I am not relevant, but who are we punishing? We are punishing ourselves. The time has come for all of us to use our best because Nigeria is a great country. Mandela once said the entire black race has to look up to Nigeria to get its heart together before other countries on the continent can get theirs together.
Dr Owolabi who is also the President and Founder of Makanjuola and Edna Owolabi Charity Foundation lamented that most of the people that he trained are already leaving the shores of the country since there were no opportunities for them to opportunities to reflect the changes and the knowledge they have acquired.
Aviation industry, he said is the leading edge of every human development and there is no way any society can develop more than aviation.
“All these mobile phones we are now carrying now, we were using them in aviation about 40 years ago. What we are currently using in aviation now, we will start using them in the public, maybe in the next 50 years. For instance, I can tell you the examinations I conduct for American pilots are internet based. You don’t need to be in the same space for us to perform the same functions. Aviation has many things that the society can learn from that is why no society has ever developed more than its level of aviation industry. You can even say that it is because our aviation is at the level it is that is why our society is like this”, he said.
On how Nigeria can improve its air ambulance sub-sector of the aviation industry, dr Owolabi said “the world is changing, even all these ambulances that we are using on the road, no one is using them abroad. Drones are now being used to transport people, drones are now being used in Dubai to carry passengers. If you order things on the internet, drones will deliver it because the machines are taking over the jobs of human beings, human beings are just to monitor. America captured Osama Bin Ladin because of drones. They won’t expose anybody to unnecessary danger”.
“We need to change our minds on the usage of ambulance. An ambulance is what we use to carry somebody who requires speedy attention from where he is to where he can get comprehensive attention. The essence is speed and comfort of the passengers and aviation is the best sector to do this”, Owolabi said.