The Minister of Science and Technology, His Excellency, Dr Ogbonna Onu has canvassed for a drastic shift in the mentality and taste of Nigerians in the area of foreign and imported goods, adding that the country cannot attain economic boom and sufficiency if the ugly tide was not immediately stemmed.
Dr Onu who stated this while delivering a maiden convocation lecture on Pioneering and Pioneers: The search for self sufficiency at the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State. He maintained that the nation’s economy would continue to suffer if Nigerians do not lessen their appetite for foreign and luxurious goods that have local substitutes.
The Minister further said the country must invest in Science and Technology by inculcating relevant sellable skills and knowledge needed for economic growth and development to the citizens in order to steer clear from economic problems.
He decried ‘’the growing import dependence and rising import bill on industrial inputs in a country that is endowed with vast and largely untapped resources including mineral resources such as petroleum, tin, zinc, Kaolin, gold and silver’’.
Dr. Onu lauded the efforts of the University under the leadership of Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba in establishing a result-oriented Faculty of Agriculture and Research and Development Centre, which in his view were necessary platforms to turn the economy of Ebonyi state in particular and the nation around.
The former governor of Abia State noted that no country can make any progress while relegating science and technology to the background and commended the University for the quality of its research output and graduates.
He further reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government in encouraging tertiary institutions in Nigeria in their drive to self sufficiency.
‘’ the current state of science and technology in the country is a big challenge as well as a wakeup call for us to rise and fully embrace science, technology and innovation in biotechnology, chemical technology, food safety and security, ocean technology etc
‘’I wish to remind the pioneer granduands that there is no time that your ingenuity and the pioneering spirit is considered more urgently needed than now in contributing your efforts to help unchain the huge dormant potential that nature has graciously endowed us both as individuals and as a country
‘’this will also help serve our collective interest, both for today and also for the future. It is my fervent hope and prayer that majority of you here today will become pioneers that will help transform our nation to become the truly great nation which the world expects us to become given the enormous potential we are endowed with by God’’, he stated.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba thanked Dr. Onu and the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology for approving the location of an Advanced Space Technology Application Laboratory (ASTAL) in the University meant to cover the South East Geopolitical zone of the country, adding that he was irrevocably committed to the transformation of the University through production-driven research, practical-oriented teaching and community service.
The event was chaired by a former Minister of Education; Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike who noted that it was high time the nation toed the line of science and technology in order to drive its growth and development more successfully.
Present at the event were the former Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Martin Elechi; former Senator representing Ebonyi North in the National Assembly, Chief Chris Nwankwo, former Commissioner of Education in Ebonyi State, Barr. Ndubisi Chibueze, Arc. Edward Nkwegu, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze and numerous other people.