Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam, Anambra State, has promised to join forces with Anambra State government in its quest to digitise the socioeconomic activities in the state including its education and administrative systems.
The institution expressed its desire to ensure that it produces the next generation of young scientists and innovators that would, expectedly, emerge from the state, thus making the state the Silicon Valley of Africa.
Vice Chancellor of the School, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, made the commitment at the
5th International Conference and Exhibition for Science, Technology, Innovations and Entrepreneurship organized by the Faculty of Physical Sciences of the University held in school campus.
The theme for the conference and exhibitions which is “Breaking Barriers to Innovation, Local Manufacturing and Technology Development in Nigeria”.
The COOU VC, Prof. Nwakoby, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Administration), Prof. Mathias Ananti, said that such commitment was responsible for the huge investments being made by the institution in its ICT infrastructures, physical and digital.
He said: “COOU places high premium on research and innovations, and that informed the decision to embark on the huge investments in areas of staff motivation, human capacity and infrastructural development. These have, obviously, catapulted the profile of COOU in regional and global university rankings.”
Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee of the Conference, Prof. Osita Chiaghanam, who is also the COOU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), expressed joy at the large turnout of participants despite the harsh economic climate in the country.
He explained that the Young Scientists and Future Innovators exhibition was designed as an integral component of the conference in order to identify early stage techies that could be supported by the university and partners until such perceived infant ideas mature to commercial products in the technology market.
Anambra State Commissioner for Industry, Mr. Christian Udechukwu, who was the chairman of the conference plenary, lauded the Young Scientists and Future Innovators programme of COOU, recognizing that such programmes hold the key to rapid industrialisation and ICT development of the state and beyond.
He promised to ensure that participants in the programme are co-opted into the forthcoming Africa Industrialisation Day.
Miss Chinwe Okoli, the Special Adviser to Anambra Governor on Innovation and Business Incubation, in her keynote address, defined innovation as doing things in better and more efficient ways that would herald improved services to the people.
Miss Okoli in a statement explained that innovation also connote advancement in every sector of life perhaps, using technology, thus linking the theme of the conference to the ongoing investments by the state government in ICT development, mass digital literacy, youth capacity building in the digital ecosystem, start-up support and business incubation.
These, according to her, constitute the core mandates of the Solution Innovation District (SID) which is being described as the Silicon Valley of Anambra State.
Also speaking, Mr. Silas Ajimijaye, who represented the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, commended COOU for incorporating local content development studies in its curriculum.
He expressed the desire of the Board to support genuine efforts aimed at nurturing Made-in-Nigeria products, and the production of graduates that are capable of implementing the Nigerian local content policy across the industries and linkage sectors.
Three secondary schools in the state, namely, Regina Pacis Model Secondary School, Onitsha; Divine Rays British School, Obosi; and Chosen International Secondary School, Mgbidi; whose exhibitions topped the chart in last year’s exhibition were presented with awards.
In the 2023 edition of the Young Scientists and Future Innovators exhibitions, 17 secondary schools contested for the One Million Naira in various categories of prizes as endowed by the Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo.