The 25th of November 2022, will forever remain indelible in the hearts of the people of Anambra Central and the entire State of Anambra, as distinguished Senator representing the Senatorial Zone at the National Assembly, Senator Uche Ekwunife led an avalanche of prominent dignitaries drawn from different regions of the country to converge at the “Light of the Nation” state specifically at the International Convention Centre, Awka.
Ekwunife had assembled the nation’s dignitaries at the International Convention Centre, Awka, Anambra State to grace a Two-day National Innovation Workshop organised by the Senate by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology Chaired by Ekwunife herself.
According to Ekwunife the event was packaged to garner support for local innovators and inventors from around the country and to also solicit for additional Government interventions to boost the sector.
The workshop which was themed; “Promotion of Local Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation provided a field day for young talented innovators to showcase their numerous scientific and technological innovations.
Coincidentally, while the workshop was being held in Anambra another technological training for youths also organised by Senator Uche Ekwunife was also ongoing in Abuja.
The now concluded training exercise was a five Days Skill Acquisition Training programme on the installation of Solar energy System organised by Senator Uche and implemented by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
Meanwhile at Anambra State, Senator Uche Ekwunife played host to the dignitaries gathered in her honour to support the two-day National Technology workshop.
While the event held sway Torrents of accolades were showered on Anambra born Parliamentarian by the Political Stalwarts and Participants who took turns to laud her ingenuity through the prudent use of her office both as a Senator and Chairman of the committee on science and technology.
The two day workshop by the Senators, saw the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo SAN, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, President of the Senate and Governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo in attendance. Some other States, including Delta and Bayelsa, sent their deputy governors to the event in Anambra.
Osinbajo, who declared the event opened was represented by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Henry Ikoh, said that already, the Federal Government through his office has been championing the adoption of innovative technology as a key tool for the acceleration of social economic development in Nigeria.
“I commend Ekwunife for her passion and commitment. This workshop of today is a unique platform that offers Nigerians the opportunity to rebrand the national innovation ecosystem, with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.
Osinbajo advocated for the reappraisal and rebranding of the national innovation ecosystem to drive technological and socio-economic development in the country. “The way to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich is through thinking out of the box, innovation and commercialisation of thoughts.”
The state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, while commending Ekwunife for her initiative said there was the need for a national policy to promote STI, saying that his administration has begun keying into that. “Without STI, nothing happens. In Anambra we recognised this fact and we have been taking proactive measures to make Anambra the home of talents for STI in the country.
“We need to replicate the same across the country by having a legislative framework to mainstream STI in our schools to catch them young”, Soludo said.
In his speech, the Executive Vice Chairman of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof Mohammed Sani Haruna lauded Ekwunife for her effortlessly intervention towards the reposition of the agency, saying that the agency is working on the internationalization of its products and sought for collaboration with local inventors.
“Without STI, nothing happens. In Anambra we recognised this fact and we have been taking proactive measures to make Anambra the home of talents for STI in the country.
“The policy will also mandate Nigerians and the Nigerian government to promote indigenous inventors and innovators by patronising them. If they innovate and invent, and nobody patronises them, their ideas will die,” Soludo stressed.
Former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, delivered the lecture. He said there was an urgent need to draw attention and to prepare the country for the 4th industrial revolution.
“We need to groom and nurture Nigerian youths into the path of science, technology and innovation to key into the opportunities that the 4th industrial revolution will present and place our economy on a sustainable path for growth, “Anyim said.
The Delta, Edo, Benue, Zamfara, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Enugu State Governors who were represented by state executives in their felicitations applauded Sen.Ekwunife for the feat while urging the Federal Government to make the workshop a yearly event.
Others present were the Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly Rt Hon Uche Okafor, Deputy Governor Delta State Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Honourable Commissioners amongst others.
During his presentation, an Inventor, Emeka Illoghalu, expressed the Fish Production Village Business Franchise which is an upgraded Cluster Production Model powered by the Taenprowiz Technology System, adding that it has been created for governments and investors to adopt for National economic transformation and development.
Inventor Illoghalu who doubles as the CEO of Anambra State Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Agency said that the state government has taken by institutionalising the sector.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of prizes/awards to the best inventor, Prince Nonso Nwankwo and also the Federal Science and Technical School, Awka, as the best secondary school Innovation.
During her addresses the host Senator Ekwunife said that the purpose of the workshop was to connect researchers, innovators and inventors across Nigeria who share in the passion to create technological solutions to the myriad of socio-economic problems bedeviling the country in order to transform the STI sector into a viable and a result oriented sector.
“The national workshop is also expected to mobilize a broad spectrum of investors, inventors, academia, policymakers, entrepreneurs, technology companies, government agencies and students for networking and collaboration”, she said.
She explained that exponential reforms are needed to significantly drive the growth of the Nigerian economy, create jobs and generate wealth for the ever growing population, adding that the workshop, amongst its importance, will foster the culture of creativity and innovation in the country.
While addressing newsmen, Ekwunife stated that the Senate has passed legislation that provides a level playing field via the Nigerian Start-up Bills, noting that President Buhari has assented to it. She recognized that Nigeria has taken other drastic steps to ensure that its energetic and resourceful youth population are empowered in the Science, Technology and Innovation sector to achieve economic prosperity.
“It is important for us to recognize that this can be achieved when we have highly motivated, efficient, hardworking and result-oriented stakeholders. Hence, we convened this workshop in my quest to reposition the STI sector as the fulcrum of our national development”, the lawmaker remarked.
A major highlight of the event was when Ekwunife charged inventors at the event to step up action towards reinforcing their businesses through corporate registration or form business clusters like cooperative societies to enable them secure grants easily.
After which she announced that arrangements had been concluded to package shortlisted inventors for startup grants from notable institutions, so they could leverage on the lectures and expand their businesses
The event reached its crescendo when Ekwunife’s Garlands of honours was capped with an Honorary Fellow Award from the Nigeria Institute of Science Laboratory Technology at the venue of the National Innovation Workshop.
This meritorious Award according to the institute was conferred on Senator Ekwunife in recognition of her notable contributions to national technological development and the advancement of science laboratory technology profession.
Reacting to these welcome achievements, the Media Director of Senator Uche Ekwunife Campaign Council Hon Tony Ezike has described the NISLT Honorary Fellow Award; as a confirmation of Ekwunife’s commitment to innovation and human capital development.
The party stakeholder characterized Ekwunife as a dependable role-model to every hardworking individual irrespective of gender differences. He attributed the series of awards, endorsements and commendations on the Distinguished Senator to her consistency, large heart, rare show of comradeship and love to all, not minding tribal, religious or party affiliation.
Ezike enjoined the good people of Anambra Central to support the senator in her quest to chat dependable economic path for industrialization and prosperity, by mobilizing voters for her massively ahead of the 2023 senatorial district election in the area, noting that it is the only way to sustain her efforts and continue the good work.