Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu says despite efforts being put in place to fight hunger and poverty in Nigeria, the country cannot attain food security without science and technology.
The minister made the assertion on Tuesday at the 2019 World Science Day celebration in Abuja with the theme: Open Science, Leaving No One Behind’’.
Dr. Onu said the adoption of science in food production and processing is no longer negotiable because science had become a sinequanon in every sphere of life and had been utilized to enhance life all over the world.
‘‘ Whatever we are doing in selection of seeds, harvesting, storage, processing of food, in all these we need science. Even in transportation, manufacturing, and hospital. We must start seeing science as a part of our life. We cannot have our lives without Science.
‘‘It is this new orientation that will help appreciate the relevance as individuals, as communities and as a nation. How great Nigeria can be can only depend on how we are able to utilize the natural resources we have. In doing this, we require science and technology.’’
The minister, who expressed optimism in the ability of Buhari’s administration to change the paradigm for Nigeria said the administration is already taking giant steps to make Nigeria a great nation which so many people expected of her in the 1960s.
He insisted that Nigerian cannot be truly great unless it takes science as a way of life, urging Nigerians to appreciate science as only way of life.
‘‘With the kind of leadership we have now, with our President determined Nigeria is set to be a great nation. Nigeria cannot be fully great without paying the sort of attention we are paying to science now. We are celebrating this day because science and technology has done so much in the area of peace, development, making sure that the quality of lives of human beings continue to improve. All these can be attributed substantially to the importance of science.
‘‘It is very important that we have chosen this theme because we do not want anybody to be left behind. We want to make sure whether you are young or old, male or female must be part in the development. It is important for us as Nigerians to start appreciating that science has become a way of life. It is not longer going to be taken as a laboratory thing. For us, every Nigerian is a scientist because every Nigerian is innovative, as long as you can improve whatever you are doing so that it can give you better result. That is science right there and that change is the change we need,’’ said Onu.
The minister further charged the youth, particularly the students to embrace science and technology to rescue Nigeria from its present challenges and go further to overtake the world in innovation, saying that the future of Nigeria belongs to them.
‘‘Whatever you decide will determine what Nigeria will be tomorrow because the future belongs to you. The ministry is committed to making sure that we succeed. That is why this administration is committed in raising a new generation of business men and women in Nigeria, to be entrepreneurs who will be depending on innovation that is based on technology developed in our country.
‘‘When this is done, then we will have irreversible growth and can be able to catch up with the rest of the world. We will make sure that we do not only catch up with the rest of the world but overtake the rest of the world in science and technology, create jobs and lift millions out of poverty.’’
In terms of measuring their achievements, Onu said positive change is taking place in the country in a measuring manner. ‘‘In 2015, one of our agencies, NOTAP had only 6 patents registered and the number increased to 16 in 2016 and in 2017 more than tripled and increased to 50 and by 2018 the number increased to 58. This is important because all over the world patents is used to measure development. And by the end of this year we are going to exceed the number of last year. We are going to continue to record increase in a measurable manner. I urge Nigerians to be proud of the achievement of this administration in a measurable manner,’’ he added.