Understanding Uche Ekwunife’s Romance with Innovative Research

Understanding Senator Uche Ekwunife's Romance with Innovative Research*

When in 2019 the leadership of the Nigerian Senate in her wisdom announced Senator Uche Ekwunife as the Chairman Senate Committee on Science and Technology many who follow and have knowledge of the business of lawmaking, understanding the enormous responsibility placed on her shoulder, feared that she might capitulate and leave the committee leaderless. But, I knew from the very day of the announcement that the committee was in safe hands. I did because I knew Ekwunife has not failed in any responsibility given to her and she has been meticulous in all that she does.

 

Science and Technology is the main driver of economic growth, and countries without strong institutions of Science and Technology to drive this growth are left behind. Every progressive nation thrives on research, and no doubt, Ekwunife as an intellectual knows this and the direction the world is headed to. Thus, She has been an advocate of strong institutions and development policies that will drive growth and ensure prosperity for ages.

Understanding Uche Ekwunife's Romance with Innovative Research

A Professor of Harvard University, Michael E. Porter wrote “National prosperity is created, not inherited. It does not grow out of a country’s natural endowments, its labour pool, its interest rates, or currency’s value as classical economics wants us to believe” . As far as I am concerned, the Harvard scholar is referring to Nigeria and other third world countries who in spite of their human and rich natural endowments are still swimming in the ocean of poverty because they lack strong institutions that can drive growth.

 

 


The glaring reason why Nigeria is yet to attain its prosperity is the absence of creativity and innovation. No clear-cut policies that fit into our economic realities has been created and rapidly and religiously pursued. Many leaders dodge responsibility like leprosy, but instead prefer to trade blames.

 

It was in a bid to find a solution(s) to this Nigeria dilemma that Uche Ekwunife met with Yemi Osibanjo, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Understanding Senator Uche Ekwunife's Romance with Innovative Research*

Ekwunife had argued that Nigeria’s competitiveness depends on the ability of its economy to embrace innovation, hence why there should be synergy and collaborative efforts between the Executive and National Assembly in the area of science and technology particularly in the area of research. According to her, nations develop and progress based on the strength of the innovative research its institutions produce.

Since competitive advantage is a creation of sustainable ideas via a localized process, Ekwunife believes that increased funding for research by the federal and state government is a necessary and unavoidable key for National development. According to her, countries like Denmark and Netherlands are reaping from their effective fundings in research in various critical sectors of their economy. While the former has two hospitals that are focused in studying and treatment of diabetes as well as production of insulin, the latter has research institutes that deal in the cultivation, packaging and shipping of horticulture. The two countries are the world’s leading exporter within their respective investments.

 

 


Without being told, the Igbo-Ukwu born Senator is pressing for more government support and funding to our research institutes so that they can begin to solve Nigeria’s problems. For instance, the FG can focus on Education, Health and Agriculture, to mention but a few and fund massively research programmes targeted to solve specific problems and to promote National competitiveness.

Understanding Uche Ekwunife's Romance with Innovative Research
Understanding Uche Ekwunife’s Romance with Innovative Research

Knowledge is the key driver of economic prosperity, if that is true, Ekwunife deserves more credit in her quest for the country’s economic growth. She has been a strong voice not only to her immediate constituents but Nigeria at large.

 

Linus Chukwuma

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