…Says our military ‘ll soon become self reliance
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The minister of science and technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has challenged African nations to pay attention to science, technology and innovation to be able to convert its abundant resources into finished goods and services, fight poverty, create jobs and wealth for their people.
With this, he said no more will young Africans cross the Mediterranean Sea already covered by the blood of Africans in search of greener pasture and better living.
The minister threw the challenge on Monday during a mini-trade fair for the official visit of the Organization for Military Sports in Africa (OSMA) to the federal ministry of science and technology in Abuja.
For a new thinking in Africa evolve, Dr. Onu posited that the Military can help us achieve this through the deployment of innovation but noted that we have to pay more attention to STI by encouraging our boys and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
‘‘I appealed to all African countries to pay more attention to science, technology and innovation, STI because if we do so, we will be in a position to convert the enormous resources given to Africa, which other continents have been exploring into products and services that we need as a people and we become self reliance.
‘‘With this, no more will young Africans cross the Meditarian Sea covered by the blood of Africans. After all, we have best weather in the world,’’ he said.
Borrowing the words of the Chinese President, the Minister said, ‘‘the future and faith of Africa rest on science and technology. It is same for Japanese, Singapore and South Korea. This is the formula and we must grab it with our two hands.’’
‘‘We will educate our people how to use human capacity to explore our resource; we must invest more in research and development.
‘‘The European countries have devoted 2-4 percent of their GDP to R&D unlike Africans that devoted less of that. We must grow out of this problem that we have and if we do this, then we will be in a position to create enough jobs for our people.
‘‘If China with 1.4 billion people could create jobs for its people, how much more Africa? We will be in a position to create wealth. The richest people in the world get their money from science, technology and innovation.
‘‘If we want to compete with them, we must fall in that direction and our GDP will grow massively and we will be in a position to fight poverty. We can defeat extreme poverty, malaria and diseases in Africa, it is a matter of vision and using resources we have to make sure we use STI to achieve it,’’ he added.
On the Sahel Sports, the minister said the Sahel Sports is very important, not just to Nigeria or the Sahel region of Africa but to the whole continent. What you are doing is very creative and very visionary because you want to use sports to integrate the military in the Sahel region where we have so much crises.
‘‘I believe very strongly that by using sports to integrate the military, the military will get to understand themselves and know that nations can’t operate alone but must work together to make sure that we stamp out all aspects of insecurity in our continent.
‘‘We will support you the president to accomplish much more because what you are thinking about is much more important to all of us. All our agencies are interested in making sure we protect our nation and help take it overcome insecurity. Not too far from now, our military will continue to grow in self reliance.
‘‘That is why National Space and Research agency, RMDC, NICT, NILST, PRODA, SHEDA, all these are working to make sure that we keep improving on the level of our self reliance so that our military will be in the position to meet the challenges of our nationals security on the basis of what can be produced in our country. We believe this will also go to all part of Africa.
‘‘It is very important that all Africans recognize that Africa is a blessed continent. The question is why can’t Africans use the raw materials other people come to take from us to develop our continent. There is no reason why people of Africa should die of hunger, there is no reason our countries should continue to import items from other parts of the world. For us to achieve this we must pay more attention to science, technology and innovation.’’
Earlier in his presentation, the President of OSMA, Brig. Gen. Maikanu Abdullahi said the delegation was in Nigeria to confirm Onu as its patron with the confidence that he would help it move the Sahel sports forward with science, technology and innovation.
He expressed confidence that OSMA would leverage the Sahel Sports to integrate military operations in Africa for effective operation across the continent that would dovetail into addressing insecurity in the continent.
While soliciting for the support of the minister, Abdullahi said about 53 African countries are actively involved in the Sahel sports.
The OSMA officials comprised delegation from 15 other countries including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo, Chad, Cameroun, Libya, Guinea Conakry, Congo and Benin Republic.
Highlight of the event was the confirmation and installation of the minister as the patron of OSMA.