President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, in Abuja conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for years 2020 and 2021 on three Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the field of medicine and science.
The recipients of the award are Dr Oluyinka Olurotimi Olutoye, Medicine (2020); the late Professor Charles Ejike Chidume, Science (2020); and Professor Godwin O. Samuel Ekhaguere, Science (2021).
The President said that he was very proud to welcome the new laureates into the prestigious league of highly honoured citizens.
And, during the event, the President rightly said that Nigeria’s collective future rests on active participation in, and utilisation of, science and technology for the benefit of Nigeria and its people.
Rightly, because, development, at any phase, is always linked with technology, and technology happens when there is advancement in science. Thus, it goes without saying that, a nation’s development and prosperity is judged, to a large extent, by the status of science and technology of that nation.
A scientifically unsophisticated society means an underdeveloped nation in all sectors. Hence science, technology and development are all proportional to each other. Of course, for development to happen, science and technology must go hand-in-hand.
Basically, science is known as the study of knowledge, which is made into a system and depends on analysing and understanding facts. Technology is basically the application of this scientific knowledge.
For any successful economy, particularly in today’s quest for knowledge-based economies, science, technology and engineering are the basic requisites. If nations do not implement science and technology, then, the chances of getting themselves developed become minimal and, thus, could be even rated as an undeveloped nation. Science and technology are associated in all means with modernity and it is an essential tool for rapid development.
Modernisation in every aspect of life is the greatest example of the implementation of science and technology in every nation. With the introduction of modern gadgets in every walk of life, life has become simple and this is possible only because of implementing science and technology together.
Without having modern equipment in all sectors, be it in medicines, infrastructure, aviation, electricity, information technology or any other field, the advancement and benefits that we face today would not have been possible.
A nation that is not able to prosper on these grounds would never be able to sustain the lives there and may have to solely depend on other nations for the basic requirements. Such is the influence of science and technology on the development of a nation.
Regrettably, such is the reality of Nigeria, a nation of over 200 million people, which had to depend on other countries for the production of most of the products its people consume.
However, for Nigeria and every other nation to get developed, the application of both science and technology has to go hand-in-hand. Villages are developed into towns and towns to cities and cities are expanding to greater horizons. This expansion has occurred through the expansion of science and technology over the years passed and will be more in the coming years.Today, countries are classified as developed and developing countries.
The major criterion of categorisation is based on the economy and the application of science and technology. If carefully analysed, one gets to understand that countries which have a strong base in science and technology are the ones that developed faster. A few examples are of countries like Russia, Japan, Brazil, China, India and many more.
It is estimated by the World Bank that seven of the 10 largest economies of the world by 2020 would be in Asia – China, Japan, India, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan. A few decades ago, these countries were known to have poor policies, low discipline and no advancement. But with the introduction of science and technology in an effective manner, they have made progress across the globe.
The role that science and technology have played in improving life conditions across the globe is vivid, but the benefit has to be harvested maximum by all countries.
Science’s and technology have made life a lot easier and also a lot better with the advancement of medicines and analysis of diseases.
Apart from the medical side, there has been remarkable development in education, communication, agriculture, industry etc. The global economic output has increased 17 folds in the 20th century.
Despite the advancements in almost all sectors, still, the world is not free from hunger, disease, pollution, illiteracy and poverty. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened.
Hopefully, with humane and progressive leaders like Buhari, soon, rather than later, with the right applications of research, particularly in Africa, development, through the proper application of science and technology, could be brought about to Nigeria. Osinbajo’s sermon on politics, ethnicity and religion.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the need for Nigerian professionals to jettison politics of ethnicity and religion, especially in the process of decision making.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Professionals Forum Conference at the State House Banquet Hall, Osinbajo said that politics of religion and ethnicity hinders the nation’s development.He highlights the need for professionals to embrace politics driven by merit and patriotism as the 2023 elections draw nearer.
He said: “The usefulness of professionals in politics is that you have people who are used to being assessed on the basis of their own achievements, who are unafraid to make competence the first advertorial of their acumen. In other words, professionals emphasise the role of merit in public life.
“So, one of the major advantages to our communities of having professionals in politics is lost if we do not recognise our role as merit driven persons must be to fight the temptation of ethnic, religious and other parochial considerations in making crucial decisions for the development of our nation.
According to the vice president, professionals in politics must, therefore, refuse to allow themselves to be driven by ethnic, religious and other parochial considerations. And, why should they? After all, the whole point of having professionalism is to do things rightly, dispassionately and based on merit.
Yet, it must be agreed that ethnicity, religion and politics, as operated in Nigeria has retarded the integration of the country and continue to impede the attainment of national unity and development, as centrifugal tensions, resource control and self-determination, ethnicity-based identity politics and religious cleavages have enveloped national development process in the country.
Yes, indeed, Nigeria has faced challenges from ethnicity, religion and politics. These social dynamics have weakened and hampered the development of institutions necessary for nation-building. Ethnicity, religion and politics have negative effects on national development in Nigeria.
This is a sequel to the growth of ethnic chauvinism, ethnic politics, political disorientation, ethnic consciousness, ethnic sentiment, religious bigotry and religious fanaticism in Nigeria. Therefore, if there must be national development in our country, Nigeria must develop a supra-national consciousness and Nigerians must shift their loyalties from their ethnic and regional cum religious groups to a new Nigerian nation.
This does not, in any way, imply a strategy that denies the socio-cultural or ethnic roots of Nigerians, but takes advantage of our multiculturalism, multi-religiosity and multiple identities and encourages Nigerians to contribute to the process of creating one nation which all nationalities can identify with.If we must exist as a nation, due regard must be given to the plurality of our ethnic nationalities in which case, principles of true federalism must be adhered to. Political power has to be shared satisfactorily among the component ethnocultural communities and resources for development distributed equitably.
The nation needs a purposeful leadership, especially among professionals, that has a vision of how to place its citizens at the centre of the political project without recourse to ethnic chauvinism and sees the acquisition of political power as not an end in itself but a means for serving the collective welfare of its people, regardless of their ethnic origin.
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