A member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, on Wednesday attributed his election into the prestigious academy to quality education in Nigeria in the past.
The professor of virology and a past President of the Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS) made the observation in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
“The election into the academy is a reflection or offshoot of the high quality education in Nigeria some time ago.
“I had all my education – primary, secondary and university – in Nigeria and I am always proud of that.
“I want people to know that we had good and high quality education in this country; we can still have it if our government and we, as a people, are committed to it,’’ he said.
According to Tomori, there are excellent and well-educated Nigerians making significant contributions in many areas of human endeavour.
He called on the three tiers of government to upgrade the education sector to restore its past glory and empower more Nigerians to contribute meaningfully to societal development
Tomori said that education remained the key to making significant contributions in all areas of human endeavour and, thus, deserved priority attention.
Tomori is among the 80 members of the Class of 2016 of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, who were recently inducted.
He is the second Nigerian to be in the academy.
Prof. Lucas Adetokunbo who was inducted in 1988 is the first Nigerian in the academy.
On how more Nigerians can be nominated into the academy, Tomori said: “There are certainly more Nigerians who are fit for nomination.
“I was nominated by an American, who I worked with on a project in 2005.
“This goes to show that in anything we do, we should be dedicated to that task.
“We should also be well-grounded in our fields, and that is where good and quality education comes in.’’
Some of Tomori’s works led to the development of the Africa Regional Polio Laboratory Network, a vital part of the Global Polio Eradication Programme.
His work also established a paradigm for the development of similar laboratory networks for measles, yellow fever, influenza and other viral hemorrhagic fevers, including Ebola virus in Africa.