Inadequate Funding Hinders Scientific Development, Expert Asserts

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Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta

Ambassador of Next Einstein Forum (NEF), Dr. Olatunbosun Sekonji has identified poor infrastructure and inadequate funding as factors responsible for the slow development of science in Nigeria.

Sekonji, who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital during a programme held to showcase African Scientists to the Global Community recently, said the objective of the event was to encourage the youth by showcasing them to the world and bringing in entrepreneurs and industrialists to assist them.

He said “in Nigeria, unlike the other African countries like South Africa and Kenya, government has been paying little attention to the development of science; hence the poor state of the nation with respect to scientific research and its application for national development.”

According to him, “it is erroneously believed that no science is happening in Africa. It is believed that Africa is a consumption continent where nothing happens. But we are trying to let the World know that Africa has some level of science. Africans are some of the best innovators you can think of.

“There is a strong correlation between Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’s growth and research output. In China and other countries, the way they turn out research is a function of how their GDP grows.

“It is research that you bring to the table and turn it to product. That is what research does. If we don’t do research, we will keep on consuming. We don’t have that understanding that a lot of money needs to be pushed into research. We don’t have good managers or we don’t have the right people at the helms of affairs.
“As I am talking to you, we have what is called post-doctoral research grant in Kenya. No matter how small it is, they have it. South Africa has a lot of grants. I am a beneficiary, I have been there. My recommendation is simple. There are so many models that are working. The National Research Fund (NRF) is there in South Africa and it is working. Canada has three different research bodies for humanities, science and health.

“But in Nigeria, what we have is TETFund. That is where they lump up all the money and a whole lot is happening there. You have to unbundle that body. Make it specific. Let there be one for purely humanities.

“They are going to manage the grants in that particular area of research and administer it judiciously. By that you can actually track it than everybody coming to one body to get funded. It is not working that way”, Sekonji added.
However, one of the innovators, a graduate of Physics and Electronics from the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Sanni Azeez, who presented an automatic water pump that switches off automatically once the water tank is full, called on government to come to the aid of young scientists in areas of patenting and funding.

According to him, “the device I made is Automatic Water-level Controller. What it does is to monitor the level of water in the reservoir or water tank, and when it is low, it automatically switches on the pumping machine and when it is full, it automatically switches off the machine.”
“Funding is a major challenge and also patenting. I want government to come to our aid in funding and market of our products”, he added.