Investment in science, technology will solve 90% of Nigeria’s problems
To solve myriads and unabated problems Nigeria and Nigerians are passing through, governments at all levels have been called upon to channel huge resources wasted in purchasing fleets of cars, motorcades and frivolous things for politicians in education, especially the aspect of science and technology.
Likewise, governments have been called upon to create an enabling environment for science and technology to thrive, provide infrastructures, funding and facilities for researchers to analyse and interpret data for research output that will solve problems rather than waiting until they have opportunity to travel outside the country.
Also, there is an urgent need for the government to put in place qualified, great researchers and scientists, selfless professionals with interest of Nigerians at heart to implement policies regarding science and technology in the country if the country wants to move forward.
Acting Dean, College Of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS), Mountain Top University, Dr. Edwin Andrew Ofudje, made these known during the 2023 yearly International College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) conference with the theme, ‘Advances in Science and Technology for Sustainable National Development’, held at Multipurpose Hall, Mountain Top University, Prayer City, Ogun State.
Ofudje revealed that Nigeria is depending on developing countries because of the low level of the nation’s scientific reasoning and participation, maintaining that scientific and technological research will aid in addressing national challenges. He stressed that knowledge through scientific and technological research will be a good way of addressing national challenges such as infrastructural decay, insecurity, unemployment, poor road network, inefficient health systems, environmental degradation to mention a few.
Ofudje, lamented that situations where researchers develop data but lack facilities and instruments to develop them, until they travel outside the country, is worrisome.
He explained that solving Nigeria’s myriads of problems starts in the laboratories, lamenting that insufficiency of well-equipped laboratories and facilities to aid science and technology in the country has been a challenge despite great scientists and researchers the country has.
Ofudje said one of the cardinal goals of Mountain Top University is Research and Development (R&D), adding that MTU has a Centre of Genomics and Bio-medicine being sponsored by a foreign organisation.
He said MTU had developed research that focuses on the surveillance of food borne diseases that can be acquired through food by little children and added that the essence of the research was to identify the major causes of food borne diseases within the environment, as well as a new research in the aspect of Artificial Intelligence, which simply means using computers and robotics to do what human beings can do through some programming.
Ofudje said the focal drive of the conference is to exchange ideas, discuss and brainstorm on the place of science and technology in national development, with a view to proffering solutions to national challenges and provide a better life for the public.
Chairman, local organising committee, second CBAS conference 2023, Prof. Gabriel Ajayi, said the conference is to discuss and showcase advances made in science and technology in recent times by researchers for Sustainable National Development He said the committee came up with theme of the conference considering the state and stage of national development in Nigeria.
A communique released at the conference stressed that science and technology are major drivers of sustainable national development, adding that universities have a critical role to play in pursuing advances in scientific research for Sustainable National Development. The conference stressed the need for constant progressive engagement with critical stakeholders to ensure there are innovations in all aspects of science and technology and added that the problem of poor funding must be holistically and realistically addressed.
On his part, Prof. Elijah Adebowale Ayolabi, Vice Chancellor, Mountain Top University, a Geophysics and member of Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists, said advancements in science and technology will support and improve the living conditions of the citizens as well as resuscitate the waning economy.
He revealed that the role of science and technology, especially after the ravaging effect of COVID-19 pandemic cannot be over-emphasised hence the need to use science and technology as a tool in building and rebuilding sustainable national development, and exploring advances made in scientific investigations and research becomes imperative.
Ayolabi, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Akin Akinyomi added that with the rapid changing world it is becoming increasingly important to prioritise sustainability and seek innovative solutions for a better future, maintaining that science and technology play a pivotal role in driving national development and addressing global challenges.
Speaking on “The Role of Universities in Advancing Scientific Research for National Development” the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, said the impetus of discussing the significance of universities in advancing scientific research for national development is not only timely but urgent in the light of the current huge fiscal and infrastructural deficits bewildering the nation. He said it is good but insufficient for universities to serve as a knowledge repository only, maintaining that universities must engage and embrace their primary vision of existence as breeders of intellectual human capital development to constantly bring growing returns of creativity, idea generation, and innovation for national development.
Adebowale, who was represented at the conference by Prof. Mubo Sonibare, said universities are knowledge-based intellectual capital defined by their research capacity and acumen with a view of making societal impact. He insisted that investing in science was not an option but a necessity as most countries, including Nigeria keep seeking ways to transform economies, enhance health, minimise inequalities, and build sustainable cities among others as ways to promote national development.
He said challenges facing scientific research were multifaceted and required an energetic approach revealed that research is necessary because it is the core or basis for establishing a university.
Adebowale stressed that a university loses the core of existence in the absence of research.
Professor of Agricultural Engineering, and Bio Resources, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Adeniyi Olayanju, said science and technology is the bedrock of nation building, assured that new advances and new trends in science and technology will solve global challenges including hunger and poverty.
Olayanju said for Nigeria to catch up with scientific advancement in other developed nations, there should be curriculum updates in tertiary institutions, reinforcement of town-gown collaborations, especially with agro-allied establishments, funding, and more funding of younger up-coming researchers.
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