Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology and a member of the World Health Organization’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 vaccine composition, has lamented the refusal of successive governments 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, stressing that the returns on this are the numerous problems faced by the country.
Speaking at the 79th Interdisciplinary Research Discourse of Ibadan University Postgraduate College, compiled by Prof Jonathan Babalola on Thursday, Tomori said that in order to emerge from its woes, Nigeria must make massive investments in education. Science and technology.
He said: “While other countries are getting glorious returns on their investments, we wallow in our own returns to injustice and immorality. That’s why 10.5 million of our children are out of school, 4.5 million are under-vaccinated, we’re becoming the poverty capital of the world.
“We invest heavily in corruption and contempt for science and technology, and we now depend on IMF loans and the World Bank to pay our workers’ salaries to import the food we are supposed to be producing.
“A recent study says the US government invested $3.8 billion in the genome project between 1988 and 2010 and is already generating $796 billion. That’s called return on investment.”
For the renowned virologist, economic progress should be the direct result of advances in science and technology, he said that everything used in communications, transportation, housing and clothing are products of investments in science and technology.
He described science as the engine of human posterity and urged the Nigerian government to consistently invest in long-term research in science and technology.
“Money spent on our science and technology goes towards salaries and benefits in Nigeria. The money you put into education and science makes all the difference in the countries that are doing well. The science and technology budget for 2022 is N202 billion, but almost all of it is earmarked for investment projects.
“The allocation for research specifically is N6 billion and if you look at the details of what they have called research this includes workshops, training, the refurbishment of staff housing and the construction of new dormitories, among other things. That’s what we call research in Nigeria and in the department they call miscellaneous, that’s refreshments, honoraria, attendance fees and what we call a welfare package and for that we’ve allocated about N514 million.”
“Now we have 23 years of reborn democracy in Nigeria and Nigeria remains the slumbering giant where fraud and crime stand in the brotherhood of decadence, depravity, excessive lavishness, extravagance and licentiousness.
“No sector is free from this rot at home, in our schools, in the corrupt 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 could fall under bad governance.”
In his remarks, University of Ibadan Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kayode Adebowale explained that society determines what research should be encouraged or discouraged and how its resources are used to fund scientific research.
He explained that the dress and the city must form a synergy and foster a fruitful relationship for Nigeria’s positive transformation.