The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has named science, technology and innovation (STI) as the recipe for the attainment of self-reliance by African countries.
He stated this at a mini-trade fair heralding the official visit of a delegation from the Organization for Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) today (July 26) in Abuja, urging African countries to invest in STI and develop their manpower to exploit the abundant natural resources Africa is endowed with.
“It is very important for Africans to recognize that Africa is a blessed continent. Africa is the continent of sunshine, diamond, gold, landmass, river, minerals. All countries in all continents that have developed always come to Africa for raw materials. The question is why can’t we use the same natural resources and raw materials to develop our continent. There is no reason for anyone to die of poverty or hunger. But for us to achieve this we must pay attention to science, technology and innovation.
“I will like to appeal to all African countries to pay more attention to science, technology and innovation. If we do so then we will be in the position to use that knowledge to convert our enormous, abundant natural resources in Africa which other countries are exploiting and we will become self-reliant.
“We should pay attention to science, technology and innovation by encouraging our young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That’s what all countries that developed have relied on. This is the formula and we must grab it with our two hands. We will educate our people, develop the human capacity to exploit our natural resources and then invest more in research and development. European countries devote between 2 to 4 per cent of their GDP to fund research and development,” he said.
In his remarks, the OSMA board president, Brig. Gen. Maikano Abdullahi, said the minister emerged from a unanimous vote as the patron of the organization in the upcoming Sahel games which is aimed at bringing countries under the region together in healthy competition to foster peace.
“The board of directors voted Nigeria and unanimously voted the minister as our patron. The countries that will be involved in the game include Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun, Libya and Benin Republic. But we have other friends within the country that we will involve like Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Congo Kinshasa and they are going to support us,” he said, adding OSMA has 54 African member-countries with 15 present at the investiture ceremony.
In his welcome remarks, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, said the mini-trade fair was to showcase research and development’s products and goods produced through the great effort and courage of our researchers and scientists in their desire for sporting activities as well as support for the ministry towards combating insecurity in the continent.
“Your presence here today is an indication of the critical role science, technology and innovation (STI) play in the continental security sport development; your willingness to utilize the STI products, goods and services for sporting activities for effective and efficient security management in order to curtail security challenges facing the continent is commendable,” he said.
He posited that all military operations could not be carried out effectively without applying appropriate technologies, hence, the recognition of the roles of science and technology in the overall development of the continent cannot be overemphasized.
“I will like to appeal to your organization to patronize the products, goods and services from our indigenous research and development agencies. They are highly competitive with foreign ones, your patronage would encourage local production, job and wealth creation to save foreign exchange in the continent and to boost our economy even in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world’s economy,” he added.