The Arewa Youth for peace and security after performance evaluation of all the components of the Nigerian government during the COVID-19 Pandemic, have appealed to the federal government to increase budgetary allocation to the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology.
This is going by the unalloyed roles they played through two of their parastatals namely; The Raw Materials Research & Development Council, National Science & Technology Incubation Centre and the Sheda Science & Technology Centre.
They played patriotic roles by producing facemasks, ventilators and hand sanitizers at the onset of COVID-19, which in no small way eased tensions related to the scarcity of ventilators that led to the demise of some patients quarantined at the various isolation Centres across the country, who required ventilators to breathe at a time when it was scarce.
Digressing on the evaluation report made available to stakeholders by the group’s image maker, Salihu Dantata Mahmoud in Jigawa State, emphasised that the Science & Technology sector is properly funded in order to make the country compete amongst world technological powers, and to some extent make the country independent from arms importation, automobile importation and to avert the loss of export revenue as well as building skills through technological power. These technological powers made countries like Iran and North Korea, even though small in population, feared and respected across the world.
Any country whether first world, second or third world, that neglects the sector stands left behind in the scheme of development. The Senate and the House of Representatives committees on Science & Technology should also strategise modalities on how to appropriate adequate funds to the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology and its Parastatals.
The United States of America exhausted their Science & Technology strength to defeat Iraq in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm against the Saddam Hussein led military administration.
Similarly, North Korea capacitated its Science & Technology Sector to enable the country fight external aggressors.
The current spade of insecurity ranging from armed banditry, kidnapping and terrorism in many parts of Nigeria could have been tackled were the Science & Technology Sector given priority and attention.
This singular act of commendation demonstrated by the honorable minister of Science & Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, his permanent secretary Dr Bello Umar Tambuwal and the minister of State Barr Abdullahi Mohammed saved Nigeria a lot of funds that would have been wasted by importing this items of necessity, manufactured by the above mentioned parastatals under the Science & Technology Ministry.
This is a challenge to top government functionaries charged with the responsibility of appropriating adequate funds to sectors of importance like Education, Health, Housing, Defense and Police, to make it a matter of urgency to also increase, capacitate and encourage the Science & Technology Ministry.
This is in order to meet up global challenges of technological power. It is on record that the Ministry was hitherto a Grade ‘C’ parastatal with minimal budgetary allocation, but moved to Grade ‘A’ as a result of the roles played by the top echelons of the administrative train, as well as other junior and intermediate personnel that form the work force of the ministry.
There is no way our GDP can gear up without increase in export of what we produce for the finishing use of other countries that also export their technologies to Nigeria and earn enough from such exports.
The hypocrisy associated with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group that are only theoretical in their objectives and goals, but lacking in practical ideologies and concepts as confirmed by renowned economist in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari must direct his economic team to prepare a Science & Technology capacitation blue print to collaborate with states Science & Technology Ministries, in order to actualise Nigeria’s dream of becoming a technological power.
It is evident that some of our best scientists are in diaspora, initiating and executing technological manpower for some first world countries because they are not recognised and neglected in their fatherland. This has made a lot of them to find sojourn in some countries that promote talents, appreciate skills and detest mediocrity.
There is no doubt that the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption stance, fight against insurgency and youth capacitation, has gathered momentum but not without skirmishes and setbacks.
It will be profitable if the Buhari administration can, within the next two or three years sustain the laudable, remarkable and tremendous achievements of the Ogbonaya Onu led Federal Ministry of Science &
Technology on the various production of COVID-19 prevention items, by making possible provision of adequate funds for the effective management of the Science & Technology Sector.
Mahmoud is a director of Publicity, Arewa Youth for Peace and wrote in from Abuja.