Anambra Governor, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo has said that the most important way to promote, encourage local inventors and innovators is to patronize them.
He made this remark at the National Innovation Workshop organized by the Senate Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) which held at International Conference Center, Awka with the theme, “Promotion of Local Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation.”
Welcoming dignitaries to Anambra State, Governor Soludo told the audience that Anambra is one of the safest states in Nigeria and home of STI.
Describing STI as the new way of life, Prof Soludo described Anambra as the place for practical innovation. “Anambra is the home to Nigeria’s first Automotive Industrial Park that will be located at Akwihedi, Nnobi and Uga.
“We are now completing the first phase of the development. A bigger fundraising of over $250 Million will kick off the project,” the governor said.
Commending the Senate Committee for organizing the workshop, Soludo prayed the message sink in every nook and cranny of the country, reiterating that every state in the country must be building the foundations for STI.
“We are mainstreaming STI to fundamentally become a way of life particularly in our schools. “Every teacher will have the enabling technological tool to be able to impact our children.
“Part of our vision is to make Anambra the digital tribe of Nigeria. “The most important thing that all of us can do to promote STI and research is to patronize local inventors.
“Everywhere else in the world, the Government and people patronize their own. “Here in Anambra, we are promoting made-in-Anambra. If you produce and innovate it here, we will patronize you.
“When you look at me, the shoe I am wearing is made-in-Anambra. The cloth I am wearing is hand made by women in the Akwete community, Abia State.
“These women are innovators and inventors. The only way to promote Akwete is to patronize the innovators.
“Since I started the Akwete revolution, the pricing per unit has increased and many more people have been employed in Akwete production.
“If they innovate, invent and nobody patronizes them, it goes to nullity. “When you come to Anambra Government House, we are not offering you imported wines. You will drink palm wine and eat food made in Anambra.
“When you wear the things that are imported abroad, you are creating jobs abroad because they will employ more people in order to manufacture those goods and ship to you. And we will be crying of unemployment.
“The only car that is actually manufactured and not assembled in Nigeria is Innoson made in Anambra. “And that is the car the Governor of Anambra is driving.
“Hopefully, when this kind of event is organized next year, we should be able to showcase products made in Nigeria,” Governor Soludo further stated
Chairman of the Committee on STI, Senator Uche Ekwunife expressed optimism that the workshop will continue to grow because it would create synergy with the academia, industry and government.
She disclosed that STI should seen as a critical sector and also a key driver that would lead Nigeria to the path of industrialization.
“The development of any country lies solely on STI.” “This workshop used to hold in Abuja but as Chairman of the Committee, I decided to bring it home.
“You can’t talk about innovation and invention without speaking about Anambra State.
“We have a Governor who since inception of his campaign, vowed to drive a made in Nigeria car.
“From the day he was sworn in, we were served Abacha and nkwu as meal, his family wore Akwete, he kept to his promise.
“We brought this workshop to Anambra to conform and align with Governor Soludo’s vision and aspiration, to be in tandem with the promises of his government.
“I must thank Governor Soludo for inspiring us.
“We all belong to different political parties but this is a professional setting and a noble thing we are doing today.” She stressed
The Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo represented by the Honorable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh maintained that the workshop is unique to reappraise and rebrand the Nigerian innovation ecosystem.
“The Vice President has been championing the adoption of innovative technology.
“To bridge the gap between the poor and rich is through thinking out of the box, innovation and commercialization.
“Nigeria will be great when we shift out emphasis from a consuming nation. We must rely on production, that is the only way to go”, says the Minister.
The Speaker Anambra House of Assembly, Rt Hon Uche Okafor, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South Constituency), Chief of Staff to Governor Soludo, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, Protocol Officer, Hon Chinedu Nwoye, Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Mr Anthony Ifeanya, Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr Julius Chukwuemeka, Special Adviser on Innovation and Business Incubation, Ms Chinwe Okoli amongst others.