Science and Technology Minister, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has stated that any nation that seeks development must pay adequate attention to science and technology. Dr. Onu stated this at a lecture he delivered yesterday at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos. He was addressing participants of Senior Executive Course No. 42.
In the expository lecture, Dr. Onu highlighted the achievements of the ministry under the Buhari administration and the synergy between the ministry of science and technology and NIPSS as the think-tank for policy in Nigeria, as well as the ubiquity of science and technological innovation as the driver of development.
Dr. Onu’s lecture was coming against the background of the ravaging global Covid-19 pandemic. The Dr. Honourable Minister spoke on the issues bothering on the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and how Nigeria can make an opportunity out it by encouraging research and development. He disclosed that his ministry pledged a financial reward of Thirty-Six Million Naira (N36, 000,000.00) as a reward to Nigerians that can find a cure to the pandemic. This, according to him, has spurred many researchers leading to several research proposals from individuals and institutions claiming the discovery of natural remedies to cure the COVID-19.
The Minister discussed the efforts of the Science and technology ministry to reposition Nigeria for a techno-economic era as the oil and gas sector continue to dwindle in the international market. The leadership of Dr. Onu in the ministry of Science and Technology has restored the belief and confidence of Nigerians in the ministry as it has been at the forefront in combating issues of national, regional, and international repute.
This Ministry of Science and Technology under the watch of Dr. Onu has recorded tremendous achievements which are unprecedented. For instance, the Ministry has succeeded in the elimination of duplication of research efforts within the agencies under the ministry, thereby conserving scarce financial resources. The ministry has improved collaboration among research institutes, universities, industry, and government. It has also substantially improved the awareness of the general public on the importance of science and technology to nation-building. It has worked hard to encourage our young people and the girl-child to show interest in the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Through this lecture, the Minister showcased the vision and efforts of the Ministry of Science and Technology to position Nigeria for self-sustainability away from the hitherto dependence on other countries. The Ministry is expected to be the mover of this techno-economic development. With his visionary leadership, Dr. Onu has succeeded in placing the Science and Technology as the rightful engine room for innovative techno-economic development.
Several policies have been put in place that will help ensure successful technological innovation and resolve the challenges confronting Nigeria such as the National Strategy for Competitiveness in Raw Materials and Product Development in Nigeria which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on May 31, 2017, aimed at doing for Nigeria what had never happened since independence in 1960. The policy is to help Nigeria realize a big dream for our nation, which is to aspire to have a globally competitive economy in the World. This Policy guarantees that Nigeria will no longer be a mono-product economy that is dependent entirely on oil alone.
Others are The Presidential Executive Order No. 5, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 2, 2018, is a revolutionary policy that is already facilitating the industrialization of the nation with the capacity to transform our dear country from developing to a developed country, ie, moving from a Third to a First World, in a relatively short period. This will help Nigeria become a nation whose citizens are secure and prosperous, living in a land full of milk and honey.
National Leather and Leather Products Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council on October 31, 2018, is using Science and Technology Innovation to effectively exploit the enormous leather potential in her national development. On the other hand, the National Policy on Methanol Fuel Production Technology, which was approved by the FEC on October 23, 2019, when fully implemented will introduce methanol into our economy.