VP Osinbajo calls for Rebranding of National Ecosystem

By Tochukwu Ifejika, Awka

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has called for the reappraisal and rebranding of the national innovation ecosystem to drive technological and socio-economic development in the country.

Osinbajo made the call at the opening of a two-day National Innovation Workshop with the theme – ‘Promotion of Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation, STI’, at the International Convention Centre, in Awka, the Anbra State Capital.

The workshop was organised by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology.

Vice Presidemt Osinbajo said the workshop offers Nigeria an opportunity to reappraise and rebrand its national innovation ecosystem with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.

“I commend Senator Uche Ekwunife for her passion and commitment in leading the Senate committee on science, technology and innovation. This workshop of today is a unique platform that offers Nigerians the opportunity to rebrand the national innovation ecosystem, with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.

“The office of the vice president has been championing the adoption of innovative technology as key tool to accelerate social economic development in Nigeria. The way to go to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich is by thinking out of the box, through innovation and commercialization of course.

“Nigeria will be great only when we begin to shift our emphasis from a consuming nation. We must rely on production and that is the only way to go.

“The positive outcome of this workshop will no doubt change the narrative from a dependant nation to a self reliant country, and indeed promote innovation and social economic benefit. I wish to assure you all that FG will continue to make efforts to advance STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) in Nigeria,” VP Osinbajo explained.

The Vice-President was represented by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Science and technology, Dr Uche Ekwunife, in her keynote address said technology and innovation has continued to change the cause of human history, creating quantum prosperity to all who harvest from it.

“I have no doubt that Nigeria is rich in human capital and has the capacity to bring out the much needed innovation and inventions that will eliminate poverty and lead us to prosperity with a double digit GDP growth.

“It is gratifying to note that our new development plan, the Economic Recovery and Growth plan ERGP has recognized the important position occupied by STI in all economic activities of the nation.

“In order to achieve our goal, it has become necessary under my leadership in the Senate to intensify on Research and Innovation as well as increase awareness amongst Nigerians on the importance of STI in the life of the nation.

“Evidence from around the world has proved that research and innovation are necessary growth determinants, which must work together to attain sustainable national growth and development,” she said.

Ekwunife said STI sector under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation was poised to move Nigeria from a resource based to a knowledge-based economy, driven by creativity and innovation.

She stated that the Senate was supporting the Ministry and its agencies on the implementation of their policies.

She called for the review of the trend of dumping researches in shelve instead of turning them to commercial values .

According to her, it is observed that research in higher institutions and research centres are mainly for graduation projects and promotions and not for national development.

She noted that scientific and technological breakthrough are mainly achieved through Research and Development, thereby leading to innovation and sustainable industrial and economic development.

According to her, any nation that wants to develop economically must prioritize on science and technology innovations

If research are market driven, it would help for the development and problem solving in the country,” she stated.

National Policy

The chief host, Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra state, said there was the need for a national policy to promote STI, saying, it is the new way of life.

“Without STI, nothing happens. In Anambra we recognized this fact and we have been taking proactive measures to make Anambra the home of talents for STI in the country.

“We need to replicate same across the country by having a legislative framework to mainstream STI in our schools to catch them young,” Governor Soludo said.

He urged Nigerians to form a habit of patronizing local inventors, saying that was the only way the country can grow.

He said Anambra government has made it a policy to patronize local inventors.

The policy will also mandate Nigerians and the Nigerian government to promote indigenous inventors and innovators by patronizing them. If they innovate and invent, and nobody patronizes them, their ideas will die.

“Nigeria will be great again only when we begin to shift our emphasis from consumer nation to production; and we need innovation to produce.

“The Nigerian Government will continue to champion the adoption of STI as key tools to accelerate socio-economic development in the country,” Soludo said.

4th Industrial Revolution

In his lecture, former Secretary to the Nigerian Government, Senator Anyim Pius said there was an urgent need to draw attention and to prepare the country for the 4th industrial revolution.

“Human race is in transition in a dimension of technological revolution which will affect the way we live, work and relate, and so we must prepare and adjust the way we think.

“In a short while from now, talents and innovation are going to be the only dependable capital assets. As a nation, we need a legislative agenda to harness our available human resources.

“We need to groom and nurture Nigerian youths into the path of science, technology and innovation to key into the opportunities that the 4th industrial revolution will present and place our economy on a sustainable path for growth,” Anyim said.

In her remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Senator Uche Ekwunife said the workshop was to connect innovators, inventors, academia, policy makers, entrepreneurs, tech companies and students from across the country.

STI should be prioritized to address the exponential changes needed to drive the growth of the economy, create jobs and generate wealth,” she said.

The programme featured demonstration sessions, prize funds to outstanding innovation and award presentation to best Nigerian inventor.

 

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