Speaking at the 79th Interdisciplinary Research Discourse of the Postgraduate College, University of Ibadan, put together by the Provost, Prof. Jonathan Babalola, on Thursday, a member of the World Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition, Professor Oyewale Tomori, has lamented the refusal of successive administrations in Nigeria to invest in science and technology.
According to the Professor of Virology, rather than investing in what would bring positive returns, Nigeria, consistently invested in corruption and immorality. He stressed that the returns on these were the numerous problems facing the country. He emphatically stated that Nigeria needs to start massive investment in education, science and technology to get out of its present woes.
Tomori said, “While other countries are getting sumptuous results on their investments, we are wallowing in our own return on iniquity, and return on immorality. That is why we have 10.5 million of our children out of school, 4.5 million under-vaccinated, we become the poverty capital of the world.
“We are investing hugely in corruption and disdain for science and technology, and we now depend on IMF loans and the World Bank to pay our workers’ salaries, to import food which we should be producing.
“A recent study said the US government between 1988 and 2010 invested $3.8billion in the genome project and it is already generating $796billion. This is what is called return on investment.”
The renowned virologist is of the opinion that economic progress should be the direct result of advances in science and technology. He said, everything used in communication, transportation, housing, clothing were products of investment in science and technology.
Tomori described science as the engine for human posterity while urging the Nigerian government to consistently invest in long term research in science and technology.
“The money given to our science and technology goes to salary and emoluments in Nigeria. The money you put into education and science is what makes the difference in the countries that are doing well. The 2022 budget for science and technology is N202 billion but almost all of it is on capital project.
“Allocation for research is specifically N6 billion and when you look at the details of what they put as research, it includes workshops, training, renovation of staff quarters, building of new hostels among others. That is what we call research in Nigeria and at the section they call miscellaneous, they are refreshments, honorarium, sitting allowance and what we call welfare package and put about N514 million for that.”
“Now we have had 23 years of born-again democracy in Nigeria and Nigeria remains the slumbering giant where fraud and crime stand in the brotherhood of decadence, depravity, excessive wastefulness, extravagance licentiousness.
“No sector is free of this rot at home, in our schools, tainted political and traditional class, and then we have the culture of national immorality which permeates our country. There is no good or relevant science that can come under poor governance.”
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, stated that society determines which research should be encouraged or discouraged and how its resources were deployed to fund scientific research.
He therefore stated that the gown and town needed to form a synergy and foster a fruitful relationship for the positive transformation of Nigeria.