Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the country will attain greatness when it shifts emphasis from consumption to production.
The vice president stated this at the first-ever National Innovation Workshop, organised by the Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation in Awka, Anambra State, yesterday, under the chairmanship of Senator Uche Ekwunife.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh said the federal government will continue to support innovation, and encouraged inventors to think towards the commercialisation of their products.
Osinbajo said: “I commend Senator Uche Ekwunife for her passion and commitment in leading the Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation. This workshop of today is a unique platform that offers Nigerians the opportunity to rebrand the national innovation ecosystem, with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.
“As you are aware, the Office of the Vice President has been championing the adoption of innovative technology as a key tool to accelerate social economic development in Nigeria. The way to go to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich is by thinking out of the box, through innovation and commercialization of course.
“Nigeria will be great only when we begin to shift our emphasis from a consuming nation. We must rely on production and that is the only way to go.
“The positive outcome of this workshop will no doubt change the narrative from a dependant nation to a self-reliant country, and indeed promote innovation and social economic benefit. I wish to assure you all that FG will continue to make efforts to advance STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) in Nigeria.”
Ekwunife in her keynote address said the theme of the workshop was “Promotion of Local Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation,” saying that technology and innovation have continued to change the cause of human history, creating quantum prosperity for all who harvest from it.
“I have no doubt that Nigeria is rich in human capital and has the capacity to bring out the much-needed innovation and inventions that will eliminate poverty and lead us to prosperity with double-digit GDP growth.
“It is gratifying to note that our new development plan, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, has recognized the important position occupied by STI in all economic activities of the nation.
“In order to achieve our goal, it has become necessary under my leadership in the Senate to intensify on Research and Innovation as well as increase awareness amongst Nigerians on the importance of STI in the life of the nation.
“Evidence from around the world has proved that research and innovation are necessary growth determinants, which must work together to attain sustainable national growth and development.”
Ekwunife said STI sector under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation is poised to move Nigeria from a resource based to a knowledge-based economy, driven by creativity and innovation. She added that the Senate is supporting the ministry and its agencies in the implementation of their policies.
The workshop was attended by Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor, among others. The workshop also featured an exhibition of inventions by several inventors across Nigeria.
The host, Soludo urged Nigerians to form a habit of patronizing local inventors, saying that was the only way the country can grow. He added that Anambra government has made it a policy to patronize local inventors.