The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu have tasked universities and research institutions to work in synergy in pursuit of the country’s economic prosperity and technological advancement.

The duo made the call when the minister paid the governor a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Obaseki, who commended the minister for his efforts at uniting institutions across the country to propel development in the nation, called on the Federal Government to allow states to have significant control over research institutes, particularly that of oil palm and rubber.

He said: “We are proud of your initiative in trying to bring everybody together under one sector, which is the Nigerian sector: the ministry is an enabler in the Nigerian economy.

“What you have started is the right way to go and we have no choice, but execution is the issue. There is nothing new in this country, but everything said has been written and researched over again. Things have not changed because of self-interest, not national interest.

“I assure the minister that Edo State is ready to work with the ministry as the state is blessed with different federal institutions in the state, but they work independently rather than working together to develop the state and nation at large.”

Obaseki continued: “If we want to thoroughly develop this country, the Federal Government should understand that the ministry is an instigator, as well an enabler that makes things happen.

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“Government should be responsible for making sure that all the institutions in the state deliver to the people; whether in industry, agriculture, or all other sectors in the state.”

Earlier, Onu said the synergy among the institutions was imperative to boost the nation’s economy.

According to him, “All the centres of knowledge in the nation; be it university, research laboratories, institutes, or polytechnics, have all been working independently on their own as if others don’t exist. It’s not good enough for Nigeria as a nation.

“It has created a tremendous problem for the nation, as we have our problems that we need to collaborate to solve, but instead, we now import everything that we need. It’s not good for us as a nation. We now export jobs and have a serious unemployment problem in the country. This can only be checked if we start producing in Nigeria.”

The minister further stated: “We want to establish technology and innovation centres for global competitiveness. These centres will be established in the six geo-political zones as all the universities, polytechnics, research laboratories and institutes in each of the zones will come together to collaborate in order to help accelerate development in Nigeria.

“We will no longer allow all these centres of knowledge to work independently, but rather start working together to enable them to carry out good research that will solve the nation’s problems. The collaboration will enable commercialization, and standardization will be made easy.”