Minister says science, technology will fast track Nigerian economy
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, has said that adequate attention to science and technology would fast track and sustain the country’s economy.
Onu made the remark in Nsukka, Enugu State while speaking at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka 56th Founders Day lecture titled “Science, Technology and Innovation: The Way Forward”.
He said that it was as a result of post-independence neglect of science and technology that the country became a mono economy which had hindered its speedy growth.
“If the country had paid adequate attention and made huge investments in science and technology since independence, it would not have remained a mono economy and a consuming nation.
“It’s unfortunate that oil is produced in the country and sent abroad to be processed because we do not have the technology for processing it.
“The country spends N1 billion monthly to import rice because we do not have mechanised and technology-driven agriculture to ensure mass production of food.
“The country at 56 cannot feed its citizens of about 170 million whereas China that has a population of 1.4 billion people feeds its citizens and still have enough to export to other countries,” Onu said.
He said countries like the U.S., China, Japan, North Korea and Singapore that have become industrialised and among top economies of the world were as a result of adequate attention to science and technology.
“Some of the top economies of the world are not oil producing nations but their economies are powered and sustained by science and technology.
‘These countries apply science and technology in every sector of their economy.
“They used science and technology to transform their economies and make their nations prosperous. It’s unfortunate that 35 years ago, N1 was equivalent to one dollar but today a dollar exchange for above N450 because of over-dependence on oil only which has made it a consuming nation,’’ he said.
The minister commended the present administration for working round the clock to reverse the trend.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, said the founders day lecture was to honour the founding fathers of the university, especially Dr Nnamdi Azikwe in his foresight in establishing it `to restore the dignity of man’.
“The university will continue to pursue the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers aimed at restoring the dignity of man via academic empowerment,’’ he said.
Ozumba said that the minister had distinguished himself both nationally and internationally.
Earlier in remark, the Chairman of the occasion, Justice Peter Umeadi, described Onu as a humble, unassuming, patriotic and rare gem who did not play politics of bitterness.
“The lecturer is one who has endeared himself to so many Nigerians because of his outstanding qualities,’’ Umeadi said.