Why Nigeria Must Work Towards Self Innovation – Prof. Utomi

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The Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (MD & CEO), Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat. Okedinachi Utomi has revealed that part of a big challenges confronting Nigeria mitigating what he described as anti-intellectual culture in the country.

Prof. Utomi further noted that the political class the West African country does not respect knowledge, lamenting that it is a fundamental problem in the country.

Making  these remarks in a chat with pressmen after speaking on Friday at National Innovation Summit at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Utomi also admonished the country on the need to change such mindset if Nigeria is going to make progress.

“It is that support for knowledge, especially in Agriculture and bio-tectnology that could help them to make the kind of progress they are supposed to make in terms of food security”.

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Prof. Utomi observed that innovation is always built around knowledge, stressing that it is these hubs that were needed to drive growth.

Citing Israel as example of how to apply knowledge, Utomi pointed out that innovation could take place in various areas.

“Mico biology is an area they can play big (role).

“If you don’t support micro biology in Universities, you won’t make the kind of progress you could make”, saying that innovation could take place in Agriculture to the extent that a remarkable innovation could bring down the prices of food in the country.

On starting startup, Prof. Utomi said that people should realize that startup does not mean there must be billions of naira in your pocket the next day, arguing that “if you are passionate to change the world, invariably, if you succeed, you would make a lot of money” and warned that “when you are driven by money, you loose focus on that which is really important.”

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He opined that to train young people, it is necesssary to give them a new culture, and in that new culture, they could make themselves innovators.

Also in his speech, the Chief of Army Staff(COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Burutai noted that several locally made equipment today form part of the Nigerian Army’s arsenal against their counterinsurgency operations as well as in dealing with other internal security challenges.

According to the COAS, the successes recorded by the military using locally made arsenals led him to make research and innovation exhibitions a permanent feature in all the COAS annual conferences.

The COAS, who was represented by Maj. Gen. Oguguo further said that the Nigerian Army orchestrates research and innovations as part of their professional responsiveness to guarantee the availability of materials.

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The summit, whose theme was “Catching Up with the 4th Industrial Revolution: The place of Innovation”, featured speeches from Chinwe Okoli, Manager, Roar Nigeria and Lion Science Park, Vice-Chancellor, UNN, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration and Vice-Chancellor-elect, Prof. Charles Arinzechukwu Igwe, Dr Jude C hukwu, Director of Innovation, UNN, Engr. Dr.Emeka Okwuosa & Prof. Ratheil V. Houndji, UAC, Benin Republic.

Others included Prof. Kenneth Ofokansi, Director, International Collaboration & Chairman,Senate Ceremonials, UNN, Dr. Gregory Ibe,Chancellor Gregory University, Uturu, Engr. Charles Emembolu, Chief Dr.  Okwun Omeaku, the Public Relations Officer, UNN, among others.

The days event featured Venture Cup (Startup Business Competition), National Innovation Summit and Panelists as well as Innovation Marathon Competition whose theme was “Run to Innovate”.

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