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Author Name: Karo E.K.D. Akamune
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The Fostering of “Science & Technology” in Nigeria - Part II
Author: Karo E.K.D. Akamune | March 30, 2009

Let us now look at some key strategies, postures and methods our Science & Technology ministry can utilize to campaign for creativity, scientific research, and technological breakthroughs: (a) Mass Media â Television Programs and the Internet. ⢠This would involve discussions, pep talks, speeches, inspirational talks and lectures designed to motivate, inspire and encourage the citizenry, the collective âweâ, âwe the peopleâ on the need to utilize science and technology as key tools to prosperity, growth and sustainable development. The ministry would work to assist people to grasp âthe hows and whysâ of science and technology. ⢠In as much as different professionals and intellectuals may grace these TV programs, the person of the honorable minister should play a prominent and direct role in addressing, talking to and with the populace. He should be one, who embodies the vision, and who can clearly articulate the vision, the goals, achievements, successes, challenges and failures of the ministry. ⢠There has to be a change in the mentality of the masses towards local development of science & technology. Our people need to be educated on the âhowsâ of societal evolution, growth, development, maturation and sustainability; and the role science & technology plays here. The power of the media would be harnessed in a bid to actualize this attitudinal change, this mental change, and this value-shift⦠⢠The TV broadcasts can start off as a 1 or 2 hour program (weekly). With time, the ministry would secure her own round-the-clock, 24-7 TV Channel. This may become a reality after a 5 or 10-year period. ⢠Its web presence is another tool through which the ministry can educate, inform, and encourage learners and knowledge seekers â to tap into their creative imagination for the purpose of coming up with new technologies, new and better answers to problems; unique scientific and technological solutions to poverty, sicknesses, diseases; answers to poor methods of play, rest, leisure and relaxation. We seek an end to âpoor playâ [smile]. The website can have links to useful learning resources around the world. (b) Competitions â The organization of a yearly competition. ⢠The purpose is to help bring out the technologist, the scientist, in people. Prizes would be given out to individuals who have created outstanding technological and scientific inventions. Educational scholarships can also be awarded. ⢠The ministryâs service can also be jeered towards assisting these awarded inventors to secure investments from rich individuals and big businesses. If the thing invented is to contribute meaningfully to the lives of many, then perforce its mass production is imperative. There would have to be a way of making it available to many others. And many times, this involves money. Our people must be willing to engage themselves by investing their finances into research and development. Otherwise, we would always be backward, never really making quality progress. ⢠The ministry can also invest in some of these projects, thereby creating an opportunity for its own revenue generation. (c) Seminars. This involves: ⢠Organizing physical, on-site seminars and conferences in key strategic cities all over the nation. These seminars would seek to promote the noble and note-worthy aims and objectives of the ministry. ⢠These seminars would be with: (1) People at the grassroots level â secondary school students e.g. Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists [JETS] clubs. (2) Intellectuals, academics, professors and students at the higher education levels e.g. polytechnics, universities. (3) The general public, where all are invited. (d) Contracts. ⢠A portion of the ministryâs income and revenue can be set aside for the purpose of awarding contracts to innovators to provide goods (products) and/or render services. With this support, our scientists and technologists would find in Nigeria, a good soil in which to sow their seeds of creative imagination. This would inevitably yield fruits of job creation, poverty eradication, human growth and development. ⢠These contracts would even support or contribute to further Research and Development of the goods and services that have been created (as a consequence of initial R & D). (e) Outside Business. This involves: ⢠Working with other countries, partnering with companies, both local and foreign. A major thrust here is to share suggestions and ideas and to encourage foreign investors, businesses and research institutes to come find a home in Nigeria. ⢠Fostering an enabling and an enduring environment for foreigners. Here, we see an environment that suits and sustains the creation of ideas, the testing of findings and the mass production of goods and services that enhance the âcommon goodâ. (f) Continued Matters Arising. Some examples of areas of research, work and service that can take root in our country Nigeria include but not limited to: Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Space Technology, Computer Technology, Information Technology, Agricultural Resources, Mineral Resources (to foster development of oil and non-oil mineral industries) and Marine and Land plants/herbs in a bid to promoting âa healthy nationâ. (Here, we find answers to many sicknesses and diseases. We have an existing âAfrican Traditional Medicineâ. How do we harness the huge potentials in this non-western practice? How do we improve or develop this existing culture? How do we professionally mass-produce, package, and present the various treatments/cures to benefit the greatest number? How do we wisely combine African Traditional Medicine with Western Medicine? How do we take this practice to the next and higher levels? These questions and more needs to be tackled.) It is important to understand that for Naija to shine and thrive, Nigerians who are committed to using their God-given, inherent creative imagination must serve her. And when we couple our human resources with our natural resources, there is no telling what can be achieved. The fostering of our unique and distinct Ministry of Science and Technology is posed and poised to augment the success of our democracy. We are talking of a ministry that ventures into the knowable unknown and reaps dividends of peace, growth, development, maturation and sustainability. Continue to::- Part 1 , Part 2 âAs long as youâre going to think, think BIG.â â Nido Qubein âThe empires of the future are the empires of the mind.â â Winston Churchill

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