‘Innovation, Key Instrument To Liberate Nigeria From Economic Woes’
THE chairman of CTB-Mccann group, Sir Steve Omojafor has predicted a doom year for Nigeria if the decline in oil revenue persists.
Omojafor who delivered a keynote address at the Innovation Lecture Series organised by Verdant Zeal group of companies in Lagos, said if the trend continues “the way it is,” the majority of Nigerian who are already poor would become poorer as it could increase the unemployment level on the long run.
According to him, the lending rate will continue to be out of reach of genuine manufacturers and that could result to uncertainty in the economy and lull in business activities.
He said although the economics of election was already putting increased pressure on the market, resulting to inflation, the way out was the conduct of a credible election.
For Nigeria to get out of the woods, he suggested a change of economic structure through diversification, reduction of inequality, place more emphasis on the right type of education, wrestle corruption with sincerity and rigor.
He also said there was need to reorganise the health sector, rebuild decaying infrastructure, like power, roads, rail, waterways and transportation, beside fighting insecurity “to a standstill all over the country”.
Omojafor said, “To create a new agenda for national development, we need to be innovative, acquire new skills and a large dose of commitment. We need stable political and economic system and beyond it all, we need leaders who can think, act independently and command respect.”
According to him, another opportunity was already coming the way of the country to restart meaningful conversation about the future of the country with the expected new government, after the election.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive officer, Verdant group, Tunji Olugbodi, described Nigeria as a great nation, although she was yet to exploit all her potentials.
“Africa is at a threshold of something great. With an estimated population of 1.1 billion, huge deposits of mineral resources, cost effective labour, a teeming youth population with an appetite for consuming just about anything the world produces, there is so much potential waiting to be exploited.”
According to him, despite the greatness of the continent, “and by extension, our nation, it is fraught with so many challenges that seem to prevent us from assuming our true nature as a giant to be reckoned with.”
The verdant boss said the Innovention series, a yearly event by his company, was a think-tank for finding relevant solutions needed to move the country forward.
“This innovation series is a think tank for finding relevant solutions that can move us forward. This is a place where common Nigerians, who have deep and unrelenting loyalty to Nigeria’s growth and development, can marinate ideas with the intent of putting them into action when the opportunity present itself,” he said.
According to him, invention and innovations that changed the world started from smallest ideas, adding that it was a peculiar period to emphasize the power and consequence of new thinking.
“It is a time when the world economy is more unpredictable than ever and as it relates to our nation with oil prices being an all time low. But it is also a time to think outside the box, if we must attain our full potential as a nation.”
The guest Speaker at the Innovention series, Professor Pat Utomi said innovation should not be seen as a special thing as man himself was created to innovate, adding that the best way to look at innovation was to look at human history, and how human beings have made progress.
Relating the role of man in development, he said Agentina was once among the 10 great economies in the world, but it later dropped to the level of countries in West Africa, adding that, that alone explains the role of humans in development.
Continuing, he said the differences between the quality of life in Africa and in European countries used to be marginal, but the gab, he said, became widened by the close of 20th century because of the increased productivities that have to do with education and technology and how they related with culture.
According to the professor, culture has a greater role to play in innovation, adding that most countries that failed at a point was as a result of the collapse of culture.
Emphasizing the role of culture in innovation and development, Utomi said Singapore was developed from a mere fishing village to the world power of today simply because its leader, late Lee Kuwan Yew, took a dead fishing village to a world power. “It is the work of culture”, he said, adding that he shaped the culture in the society for it to made phenomenium change.
He said a society must continue to be creative and competitive in nature, if it must aspired to move forward.
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