A professor of virology and a member of the World Health Organization’s technical advisory group on the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine, Oyewale Tomori, has lamented the refusal of successive administrations in Nigeria to invest in science and technology.
Tomori said that instead of investing in what would bring positive returns, Nigeria has consistently invested in corruption and immorality, pointing out that the returns from these were the many problems facing the country.
Speaking at the 79th Interdisciplinary Research Lecture at the University of Ibadan Postgraduate College hosted by Provost, Professor Jonathan Babalola on Thursday, Tomori said that for Nigeria to emerge from its woes, it must start to invest heavily in education, science and technology.
He said: “While other countries achieve lavish returns on their investments, we wallow in our own return on iniquity and immorality. This is why we have 10.5 million of our children out of school, 4.5 million under-vaccinated, we are becoming the poverty capital of the world.
“We invest heavily in corruption and disregard for science and technology, and we now depend on IMF and World Bank loans to pay the salaries of our workers, to import the food we should produce.
“A recent study indicated that the US government between 1988 and 2010 invested $3.8 billion in the Genome Project and it already generates $796 billion. This is called the return on investment. »
For the renowned virologist, economic progress should be the direct result of advances in science and technology, saying that everything used in communications, transport, housing, clothing was the product of investment in science and technology.
He described science as the engine of human posterity while urging the Nigerian government to systematically invest in long term research in science and technology.
“Money given to our science and technology goes to salaries and emoluments in Nigeria. The money you invest in education and science is what makes a difference in countries that are doing well. Budget 2022 for science and technology is N202 billion, but almost all of it is spent on investment projects.
“The allocation for research is specifically 6 billion naira and when you look at the details of what they have put in as research it includes workshops, trainings, refurbishment of staff quarters, construction of new hostels, among others. This is what we call research in Nigeria and in the section they call miscellaneous it is refreshments, fees, sitting allowances and what we call a welfare program and puts around 514 million naira for this.
“Now we have had 23 years of born-again democracy in Nigeria and Nigeria remains the sleeping giant where fraud and crime stand in brotherhood of decadence, depravity, excessive waste, licentious extravagance .
“No sector is free from this rot in our homes, in our schools, tainted political and traditional class, and then we have the culture of national immorality that pervades our country. There is no good or relevant science that can fall under bad governance.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale said the society has determined that research should be encouraged or discouraged and how its resources have been deployed to fund scientific research.
He said the dress and the city should form a synergy and foster a fruitful relationship for the positive transformation of Nigeria.