The just concluded Science, Technology and Innovation Expo otherwise called Expo 2018 which held from March 5-9, 2018, with the theme “Fast-tracking sustainable development of Nigeria through science and technology”, brought to the fore the great role science and technology can play in the rapid industrialization and socio-economic development of a nation.
Organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the expo brought scientists, researchers, inventors, innovators and investors from all parts of the nation and outside to showcase the immense science and technology potentials available in Nigeria.
It provided opportunity for innovators and inventors to advertise their breakthroughs with the aim of connecting with relevant stakeholders and investors for the commercialization of such technologies.
It also gave the over 297 research institutions, technology entrepreneurs and organisations with a combined figure of 555 projects to present their innovations and inventions to be scrutinized by a committee for creativity and ingenuity, and relevance in providing solution to pressing societal problems.
The assessment saw inventors and innovators compete in four categories from which the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) came first under the research institutes category, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) Lagos, was second, while Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) got third position.
The first position in tertiary institute category went to Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, came second, while third position went to Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State.
In the junior engineers, technology and scientists (JETS) category, Government College Science and Technical College, Garki, Abuja, was first, Calvary Arrows College, Gboko, Benue State came second, while Government Secondary School, Bwari got third position.
In the technology entrepreneurs category, Bemsbuch International Ltd.; Alpha and Technical Service and Engr. Agada Sunday Ojonimi came first, second and third respectively.
The Federal Government recognized and rewarded the winners with N9 million for their various groundbreaking innovations with first position across all categories clinching N1 million each while the second won N750, 000 and third positions got N500, 000 respectively.
Addressing participants during the closing ceremony at the Eagles Square, Abuja venue of the expo, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara,stressed the importance of innovations and the need to embrace science and technology, describing it as an avenue for wealth creation. He urged Nigerian scientists to pick up the challenge to develop smart industrial solutions to reduce the nation’s high unemployment rate.
Dogara commended the first-class scientists for the direction they have given the nation and pledged his support for the Ministry of Science of Technology in its effort to move Nigeria to a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.
In his closing remarks, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu expressed optimism that the outcome of the expo would advance commercialisation in the country.
He said: “Through the work of your hand and the power of imagination, you have shown that Nigeria is the home of the rising sun. You have shown that we have the brain to dream and think.
“You have shown that STI holds the key for our beloved country to become truly great. You have shown that the future belongs to Nigeria, if we pay more attention to technology and innovation.’’
The minister commended the inventors, innovators, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs among other people that contributed to the success of the expo, assuring them that the APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not let them down as it shares their faith in STI as the key that would unlock frontiers of Nigeria’s future greatness.
“It shares your dream for a new Nigeria that will in no distant time from now produce Nobel laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine. Indeed, it shares your vision for a new nation where the quality of life of her citizens will not be determined by the size of her population but by the power of the peoples’ imagination and strength of their creativity,” he added.
Onu said his ministry would continue to build on the strength of the expo, even as he proposed that the expo should be brought closer to the people by taking it to the six geopolitical zones of the nation.
He said: “In this regard, we intend to take the event closer to the people in the six geopolitical zones of our beloved country. It is proposed that beginning from next year, the South East geo-political zone will host the expo at the venue to be determined later. It will then move from one geopolitical zone to another.’’
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, an energy generation tricycle inventor, Friday Michael, commended the government for hosting the techno expo, saying it was an avenue to showcase Nigeria’s ingenuity to the world, adding that it will invariably promote development of more indigenous technologies.
The event also saw the presentation of science kits produced by a parastatal under the ministry, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to 19 secondary schools from the six geopolitical zones of the nation.