Professor Eyitope Ogungbenro Ogunbodede
…Seeks collaboration with private sector on innovative advancement
By Shina Abubakar
The Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University has disclosed that the institution would establish its own airport with a view to making it a centre of excellence for the country to draw inspiration towards developing the country.
He also said the institution’s aeronautical engineering department would not only complement the airport but train the necessary human resources to service the industry.
Speaking at the biennial conference of the Faculty of Technology, with the theme; Diversification of Developing Economies: imperatives for sustainable environment and technological innovations, the VC said the country has no choice than to address the issue of mono-economy, youth unemployment, social vices through technological advancement.
He added that with Nigeria’s population projected to be doubled in the next 30 years, it is dangerous for the country to still depend on a minor source of revenue, hence, the need for collaboration between the political class, academia and industrialist for breakthrough innovations to advance the course of humanity.
“With the current population of Nigeria put at 200million and a projection to be 400million in the next 30 years, coupled with the spate of youth unemployment, we cannot continue to rely on a mono-economy, we must not only diversify but employ innovative technology and adapt to our environment.
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Our university has no choice but to lead the path of technological innovations and diversify the economy to stimulate employment opportunity and gainfully engaged the youths.
In line with the determination to be innovative and diversify, we would be building an airport to complement our upcoming department of aeronautical engineering, this will not only open up Ife to the world but also be a training ground for our students and he said.
In his keynote address, Professor Oluwatoyin Ashiru disclosed that ideas are abundant in Nigeria but the framework transforms the ideas into reality, saying that ideas abandoned in the country thrive at every other country of the world.
He said the difference between Nigeria and other countries is the level of commitment and dedication to its development.
According to him, irrespective of the challenges facing the country, the country must embark on technological innovations and sustained support for research and development.
“Ideas are abundant in Nigeria but the political will to support such ideas to reality are lacking. Most ideas that originates from Nigeria and abandoned thrives in many other countries of the world.
Government, academia, and industrialist must find a common ground to push technological innovations to grow the economy. Innovation is very essential, let us learn from leading nation to focus on supportive innovative small and medium enterprises.
Universities must collaborate with industries to promote successful technological innovations”, he added.
The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat said the time is ripe for a change in perspective, paradigm to charter a better course of action for the development of the country.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Technology and Innovation, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, he said the country has no significant comparative advantage, hence the need to embrace agriculture, tourism and others sector where it had a better advantage over other countries.
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