The former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Professor Ibiyinka Ogunlade on Tuesday said the way out of the current economic downturn is for the nation to face agriculture.
Professor Ogunlade who was the Keynote Speaker at the 2016 Annual National Conference of the School of Science (ANCOSOS), Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo observed that a nation that cannot feed its people cannot survive and thrive.
Delivering her paper on the theme of the conference “Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Science and Technology Education for a Diversified Economy”, Professor Ogunlade noted that to save Nigeria’s current economic recession from further escalating into depression, all possible and viable strategies and action plans must be formulated, adopted and appropriately implemented to ameliorate the current economic hardship and diversify the Nigerian economy.
The Professor of Organic Chemistry, who also instituted a scholarship award for the best graduating female student in science in the College, did an expose of entrepreneurial opportunities in Science and Technology Education and its challenges as well as the factors affecting the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
She said diversification when implemented properly and appropriately makes a nation’s economy robust, stable and it ensures resilient growth on a long term, and greater diversification would reduce shocks of volatility and uncertainty in the global oil market; create private sector jobs; increase productivity and sustainable growth; and establish viable non-oil economy.
“As a nation we must all come together to help the country and bring it out of its current economic woes through innovative ideas. Nigeria must be self reliant; in order to achieve this feat our children, our youth, our future, need re-orientation at an early age. Science and Technology must be given priority” she stated.
Speaking on the theme of the conference which he described as apt and greatly relevant to the needs of the world we live in now and the scenarios that is unfolding especially in Nigeria, the Chairman of the occasion, Senator (Dr.) Bode Olajumoke declared that diversification of the economy is a must considering some phenomena like increase in population, mis-management of national resources, stereotype system of life and the finite nature of our world.
He also emphasized the need for sustainable, credible institutions such as democratic institutions the judiciary and other organs of government where discipline will be effective and the need to instill discipline in individuals and in homes.
Earlier in his speech, the Provost of the College, Prof. Olukoya Ogen who was represented by the Deputy Provost, Dr. Samuel Akintunde identified some successful scientific entrepreneurs like Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison who invented a light bulb and commercialized it. He observed that though hard to say, the current economic recession that Nigeria is going through is a good thing as no nation or people can make good success and tremendous progress from comfort zones.
“Our renewed zeal and efforts along entrepreneurial lines will in the short run create additional income, bring such scientists to limelight, create jobs for the unemployed and in the long run assist this great nation to come out of economic quagmire in which it found itself.”
He commended the silent effort of some scientists in the College who have been using Science and Technology to solve problems adding that Science and Technology Education are handy tools for entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile in his opening speech, the Dean, School of Science, Dr. Folorunsho Balogun said an important step in achieving economic diversification and global economic competitiveness is to address the decadence in the Science and Technology in Nigeria. He called for significant investment in Science and Technology Education, noting that it will deliver a vibrant generation of entrepreneurs that will be the vanguards of librating our economy from the ‘Curse of the Black Gold’.
The Former Acting Provost, Dr. Olufemi Olajuyigbe who presented the lead paper also concluded that Science and Technology entrepreneurship have a potential to catapult Nigeria to the league of developed nations in a very short time if there is the political will.
He added that although there are challenges, Nigeria as a country has all the ingredients required to propel it further ahead in its leading role as Africa’s largest economy and the most populous black nation on earth.