Nigeria a country
( Next level Visionaries)
Port Harcourt with keen interest to industrialize Nigeria by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, immediate past Minister of Science & Technology deliver the 32nd Convocation Lecture of University of Port Harcourt titled “Science and Technology as a Driver of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of a Nation”.
Dr. Ogbonnya Onu thirty years ago joined the University of Port Harcourt as a Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Chemistry. He was the one who wrote Prof. S. J. S. Cookey, the then Vice Chancellor of the institution stressing the importance of establishing a Department of Chemical Engineering. The department was later established and he designed its curriculum under the supervision of Prof. Tait, an expatriate from the United Kingdom.
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While Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu was in the University of Port Harcourt lecturing, his wife, Dr. (Mrs) Chinyere Onu was working in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. His children were at the University of Port Harcourt Demonstration Primary & Secondary Schools.
With great nostalgia I listened attentively to this renowned technocrat deliver that convocation lecture. He reviewed that one of the policies designed by his ministry to contribute to National Economic Development is the “National Leather & Leather Products Policy.” Over the years, Nigeria had depended on leather and leather products to create wealth and jobs for her citizens. However, with time, the tide changed, to the extent that we now import leather and leather products.
From what I understood from his lecture and further research, this policy is therefore highlighting the important role which leather and leather products can play in our economy, as well as well encourage investment in the sector.
It is not a high-tech field and our people have shown great expertise in this area for centuries. We can remember the World acclaimed Moroccan leather known for its high quality. Though it had the name of Morroco, but the leather came from Nigeria. Leather is so important to the economy of any nation.
Leather finds use in shoes, belts, handbags, clothing, furniture and other different accessories. Leather is used in cars, buses, luxury boats, ships, aircrafts and railway wagons. Indeed, there is hardly any major equipment or machine that does not have a leather component. What the policy seeks to do is to reinvigorate and strengthen the Nigerian indigenous leather industry.
The National Biotechnology and Development Agency, one of the agencies under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Science & Technology should work with various industries to introduce high yielding and disease resistant cotton seeds for the use of our farmers. This will encourage farmers to go back to the farm. Truth is that eventually, this will result in the reinvigoration of the textile industry that was known in the past to have provided a lot of employment opportunities for our people.
Just like Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, I am convinced that if we can successfully revive both the textile and leather industries in our dear country, this will help our journey to industrialize our nation. It is important to state that all developed nations have always started with low technology areas such as textile and leather. It is from these sectors, that they later build their capacity in high technology areas for the greatness of their countries.
For a country to move forward such a great ideas of industries is needed to facilitate national growth and development.