The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Benedict Ayade, has said Nigeria can only attain true independence when she attains self-reliance through research, science, technology and infrastructure development.
Speaking during the appreciation and awards day organised by the Joint Action Congress (JAC) chapter of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) yesterday in Abuja, Ayade emphasised that Nigeria cannot claim to be truly independent whilst importing the basic necessities to drive her economy.
“No nation is independent if it is technologically dependent. The independence of Nigeria in 1960 was mere political independence but true independence is when Nigeria becomes self-reliant in technology and engineering and that’s why NASENI has come, with the presidential and NEC approval for NASENI to have her dues by what is provided in the constitution for them to have one per cent of the federation account. Once that is implemented, NASENI will be in position to have real research in science and engineering to proffer solutions and innovate technologies that meet our needs within our means.
“The time has come when Africans and, indeed, Nigerians cannot continually depend on foreigners to tell us what to do,” he said.
The governor, however, observed that the African continent depends on Nigeria as a nation and if Nigeria fails, Africans have failed. He stressed that black is “no longer a colour, but a representation of a people”.
The governor, who was conferred with the Award of Excellent Performance, commended the efforts of NASENI and pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to fast-track the release of the 1 per cent of the Federation Account approved for NASENI to enable it to develop science and technology across the country, noting that Cross River was in dire need of indigenous technology to boost its mechanised agricultural value chains.
Speaking to journalists, the executive vice-chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, commended the unions for the initiative to honour those who had contributed to the agency’s achievements,
He added that it was a justification that the workers were committed to working hard, given that resources have been made available to help them overcome the challenges.
On the partnership with state governors, Prof Haruna disclosed that: “We have partnerships with the Governors’ Forum and the collaboration is functionally progressive.
Earlier in his welcome address, ASURI-NASENI coordinating chairman, Dr. Oluwaseyi Ogungbenro, averred that advancement in technology and industrialisation are the hallmarks of advanced nations.
“Technology advancement holds the key to national food security, military might, national security and economic stability. Therefore, meaningful and intentional investment in science and technology remains the only way to national greatness and wellness. NASENI remains a major player in the technological transformation and upliftment of this great nation; therefore, no investment in NASENI can be too much,” he said.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards to state governors, lawmakers and other public servants.
Other award recipients include Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong; Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule; NASENI EVC, Prof. Mohammed Haruna; Coordinating director, planning and business development, NASENI, Mrs. Nonyem Onyechi; the chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Dr. Uche Ekwunife; the chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Hon. Beni Lar; director, procurement, NASENI, Dr. Mohammed Aminu Mohammed and many others.