To address myriad and unmitigated problems Nigeria and Nigerians are going through, governments at all levels have been called upon to channelize huge resources wasted on buying fleets of cars, motorcades and frivolous things for politicians in education, especially the aspect of science and technology.
Likewise, governments have been encouraged to create an environment where science and technology can thrive, providing infrastructure, funding and facilities for researchers to analyze and interpret data into research results that will solve problems rather than waiting until they have the opportunity to travel abroad.
There is also an urgent need for the government to establish qualified, great researchers and scientists, selfless professionals with the interest of Nigerians at heart to implement policies on science and technology in the country if the country is to move forward.
Acting Dean, College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS), Mountain Top University, Dr. Edwin Andrew Ofudje, made these known during the 2023 International College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) annual conference themed ‘Advances in Science and Technology for Sustainable National Development’ held at the Multipurpose Hall, Mountain Top University, Prayer City, Ogun State.
Ofudje disclosed that Nigeria is dependent on developing countries due to the low level of the nation’s scientific reasoning and participation, maintaining that scientific and technological research will help solve national challenges. He emphasized that knowledge through scientific and technological research will be a good way to address national challenges such as infrastructural decay, insecurity, unemployment, poor road network, ineffective health systems, environmental degradation to name a few.
Ofudje, lamented that situations where researchers develop data but lack facilities and instruments to develop them until they travel outside the country are worrisome.
He explained that the solution to Nigeria’s myriad problems starts in the laboratories, lamenting that inadequacy of well-equipped laboratories and facilities to assist science and technology in the country has been a challenge despite great scientists and researchers the country has.
Ofudje said one of the main objectives of Mountain Top University is research and development (R&D), adding that MTU has a center for genomics and biomedicine sponsored by a foreign organization.
He said that MTU had developed research that focuses on monitoring foodborne diseases that can be acquired through food by young children, adding that the essence of the research was to identify the main causes of foodborne diseases in the environment, as well as a new research into the aspect of artificial intelligence, which simply means using computers and robotics to do what humans can do through some programming.
Ofudje said the focus of the conference is to exchange ideas, discuss and brainstorm on the place of science and technology in national development to offer solutions to national challenges and provide a better life for the public.
Chairman, local organizing committee, second CBAS conference 2023, Prof. Gabriel Ajayi, said the conference is to discuss and showcase recent advances in science and technology by researchers for sustainable national development. He said the committee came up with the theme of the conference considering the condition and stage of national development in Nigeria.
A communique issued at the conference emphasized that science and technology are important drivers of sustainable national development, adding that universities have a vital role to play in pursuing scientific research advances for sustainable national development. The conference emphasized the need for constant progressive engagement with critical stakeholders to ensure that there are innovations in all aspects of science and technology, adding that the problem of poor funding must be addressed holistically and realistically.
On his part, Prof. Elijah Adebowale Ayolabi, Vice Chancellor, Mountain Top University, a geophysicist and member of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists, said advances in science and technology will support and improve citizens’ living conditions and revive the declining economy.
He revealed that the role of science and technology, especially after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot be overemphasized, hence the need to use science and technology as a tool to build and rebuild sustainable national development and explore progress in for scientific studies and research becomes imperative.
Ayolabi, who was represented by the vice-chancellor, Prof. Akin Akinyomi added that with the rapidly changing world, it is becoming increasingly important to prioritize sustainability and seek innovative solutions for a better future, maintaining that science and technology play a central role in driving national development and tackling global challenges.
Speaking on the “Role of Universities in Promoting Scientific Research for National Development”, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, said the drive to discuss the importance of universities in promoting scientific research for national development is not only timely but urgent . in view of the current huge fiscal and infrastructural deficits bedeviling the nation. He said that it is good but insufficient for universities to serve only as a repository of knowledge, maintaining that universities must engage and embrace their primary vision of existence as breeders of intellectual development of human capital to continually bring growing returns of creativity, idea generation and innovation for national development.
Adebowale, who was represented at the conference by Prof. Mubo Sonibare, said universities are knowledge-based intellectual capital defined by their research capacity and acumen to create societal impact. He insisted that investment in science was not an option but a necessity as most countries, including Nigeria, continue to seek ways to transform economies, improve health, minimize inequalities and build sustainable cities among others as ways to promote national development on.
He said the challenges to scientific research were multi-faceted and required a vigorous approach revealed that research is necessary because it is the core or foundation of establishing a university.
Adebowale emphasized that a university loses the core of existence in the absence of research.
Professor of Agricultural Engineering and Bioresources, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Adeniyi Olayanju, said science and technology are the foundation of nation building, confident that new advancements and new trends in science and technology will solve global challenges including hunger and poverty .
Olayanju said for Nigeria to catch up with scientific advancements in other developed countries, there should be curriculum updates in tertiary institutions, strengthening of urban dress collaborations especially with agro-allied companies, funding and more funding for younger up-and-coming researchers.