By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu, Awka.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday called for the reappraisal and rebranding of the national innovation ecosystem to drive technological and socio-economic development in the country.
Osinbajo made the call at the opening of a two-day National Innovation Workshop on Friday in Awka
The workshop, which has “Promotion of Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as its theme, was organised by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology.
The vice-president, who was represented by the Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh, said that the workshop would offer Nigeria an opportunity to reappraise and rebrand its ecosystem.
Osinbajo said: “This will be with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.
“The way to go to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich is through thinking out of the box, innovation and commercialisation of thoughts.
“Nigeria will be great again only when we begin to shift our emphasis from consumer nation to production; and we need innovation to produce.
“The Federal Government will continue to champion the adoption of STI as key tools to accelerate socio-economic development in the country.”
Also speaking, Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, said there was the need for a national policy to promote STI, saying that it was the new way of life.
“Without STI, nothing happens. In Anambra, we recognised this fact and we have been taking proactive measures to make Anambra the home of talents for STI in the country.
“We need to replicate same across the country by having a legislative framework to mainstream STI in our schools to catch them young.
“The policy will also mandate Nigerians and the Nigerian government to promote indigenous inventors and innovators by patronising them. If they innovate and invent, and nobody patronises them, their ideas will die,” Soludo said.
In his lecture, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said that there was an urgent need to draw the people’s attention and to prepare the country for the fourth industrial revolution.
“Human race is in transition in a dimension of technological revolution, which will affect the way we live, work and relate and so, we must prepare and adjust the way we think.
“In a short while from now, talents and innovation are going to be the only dependable capital assets. As a nation, we need a legislative agenda to harness our available human resources.
“We need to groom and nurture Nigerian youths into the path of science, technology and innovation to key into the opportunities.
“The fourth industrial revolution will present and place our economy on a sustainable path for growth,” Anyim said.
In her remarks, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said that the workshop was to connect innovators, inventors, academia, policymakers, entrepreneurs, tech companies and students from across the country.
Ekwunife said that STI should be prioritised to address the exponential changes that were needed to drive the growth of the economy, create jobs and generate wealth.
The programme featured demonstration sessions, prizes to outstanding innovations and award presentation to best Nigerian inventor.