Friday 28th April, 2017
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Building a nation on innovative science and technology

Building a nation on innovative science and technology

Exactly five days ago, we made history by show­ing that where there is the will, there is a way! On that day, we began the jour­ney of showing clearly that the way for Nigeria to go in her search for enduring greatness is through science and tech­nology. We showed we can do it. We showed that when chal­lenged, the Nigerian spirit can endure any pain and rise above any challenge to make the dif­ference.
Today’s event shows clearly that with the power of imagi­nation and vision, Nigeria can surely rise like the morning sun to utilize science, technol­ogy and innovation to build a new nation with a knowl­edge based, innovation driven economy.
As I stand before you, I have a story to share with you all. Last month, just a few days ago, a Nigerian in South Afri­ca, Ademilola Odujinrin, flew a plane round the world with­out a Co-Pilot. He is the first African to do so. He was able to achieve this feat because of the spirit of adventure which many Nigerians have in rich supply. It is this spirit of ad­venture that nurtures creativ­ity which fires innovation as a driving force in opening new frontiers. We should never forget that adventure is the manure that nurtures creativ­ity to thrive and blossom.
It is sad but true that in the past few weeks, many Nigeri­ans in South Africa have been attacked by their hosts. In In­dia, a similar unfortunate inci­dent also took place. My heart bleeds with pain each time, I read about Africans, especially Nigerians, dying in the Medi­terranean Sea in their despera­tion to cross over to Europe in search of a better life.
We just cannot allow this un­fortunate situation to continue this way. Africa embraced civ­ilization before Europe, North America and Asia. Nigeria has produced a Noble Laurete. We have produced the first black person to serve as Sec­retary General of the Com­monwealth of Nations. Our Armed Forces, have played leading roles in the restora­tion of peace in many theatres of conflict in different parts of the world.
As a nation, the urgent task facing us is to build a new Ni­geria which we all can be proud of. This we can achieve by effi­ciently utilizing our enormous human and material resources to create wealth, reduce pover­ty, and diversify the economy in a sustainable, inclusive and competitive manner.
Most distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the challeng­ing situation in our country is being reversed. With a strong and diversified economy driv­en by science, technology and innovation, our citizens will be happy and proud to remain at home to pursue their happi­ness and contribute meaning­fully to national development. They will have no reason to take unnecessary risk to en­able them live outside Nigeria even at the risk of becoming targets of xenophobic attacks, hostility and even death.
The events of the last five days here in the Eagle Square have shown that Nigeria is on the move. Nigeria is on the way to success. Through this Expo, Nigerians have shown that they are capable of in­ventions that can change the course of history both for our beloved country, Nigeria and indeed the rest of the human race.
I assure you all that we in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will not rest until science, technology and innovation become the driv­ing force in Nigeria’s effort to diversify her economy in order to stimulate sustainable devel­opment. This is both a prom­ise and a solemn pledge.
I commend the participants at this Expo for showing the Nigerian spirit in them. Our hearts will never depart from you because you are the future of Nigeria. We shall follow up on your inventions and mobi­lize the Organized Private Sec­tor to work together with you in the pursuit of the commer­cialization of your inventions. The challenge we face is to rebuild our nation and move her along the path of self-suf­ficiency, prosperity, interna­tional respect and acclaim.
Most distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the journey has just started. The end may be far. But with what we have done in the past five days, I am confident that we have taken the right step in our journey to greatness. What is required is for us to build on our achieve­ments so far and remain de­termined and focused in our collective desire to build a modern Nigeria where science, technology and innovation will be the engine for econom­ic growth and development. I urge all stakeholders in this journey: researchers, inven­tors, innovators, investors and entrepreneurs, to work togeth­er as members of one family to help make Nigeria the new standard bearer on the moun­tain top. I am confident that this can be achieved if we are determined, motivated with love of country and faith in her future greatness.
Finally, I thank you all for coming. I congratulate all those who won prizes during this Expo. As you leave the venue of this historic event, always remember: Nigeria will be a great nation. You all are the champions of change. And together we shall make Nigeria truly great. I am confident that we will succeed. It is therefore, with happiness that I now de­clare the Technology and In­novation Expo 2017 closed. I also wish you safe journey as you travel to your various des­tination.
Dr Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, delivered this closing remarks at the Tech­nology and Innovation Expo 2017 that held last Friday at Eagle Square, Abuja.

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