Lola Omowaye & Bukola Olamona
The Head of the Centre for Research and Development (CERAD), Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA) Prof. Ganiyu Oboh has disclosed that the centre was capable of solving Nigeria’s power problem if necessary supports are provided.
Oboh, who revealed this in an exclusive interview with The Hope, said that CERAD has discovered special biscuit, pasta and drink for diabetic patients and is currently working on a mosquito repellant that will be 24-hour effective, using local contents.
He observed that diabetes is killing more Nigerians now than HIV, adding that it is not only diabetic patients the centre has conducted research on but also on hypertensive patients with lots of products for them.
On the power sector, he expressed regret that the governments in the country do not believe in “us and that is why the problem we can solve here, they take it abroad. I do not believe power problem is a serious problem we cannot solve, if the government should involve more scientists. I do not think government has even challenged us on this. Most time, we work on whatever people bring to us to work on”, he noted.
He said: “Most of our works are donor-driven. If the German government brings fund for us to produce something, we will do it. I will say that when it comes to the state government’s involvement in funding research, it is not encouraging. In Germany, there are solar panels all over the place. Despite the fact that they have adequate electricity from other sources they still utilise solar and wind energy. In Nigeria, all we need is partnership with the state government to do such things. Developing a solar panel is the major thing. With little money, we will be able to develop it enmasse.
“It is amazing that we complain that we do not have power but we have the sun, and it is just wasting away. I am using solar panel and since I begun, I have never used a generator and the technology is very simple. The Centre for Renewable Energy launched some projects recently. We have all those things here. Even the governor came to commission the zero energy house where the whole thing is powered with solar”.
He disclosed that CERAD has a lot of discoveries, not only on edible things alone, but also fabricated machines. He, however, regretted that the attitude of government towards research is bad.
“We in academics are not really the business type. Ours is to work on discoveries, the commercialisation is not our responsibility. It is like we are begging the government to partner with us to get discoveries that will help people.
“I think the attitude of government towards research is poor, it would amaze you that most of our products are better known abroad than in Nigeria. When I was in Italy and somebody called me that he read of my work on Soya products and he said I should come and give a talk in his university. Since I was in Italy, from there I was given a visiting professorship offer to design a curriculum for them.
“The issue here is that there should be a strong partnership between us and especially the state government. I know we have a lot of potentials here. There was a time I took some guys for Agip exhibition in Port Harcourt, there was this research work on bio-radiation, even those people in Agip headquarters said that we have even gone ahead of them because the technology those people developed has not gotten to the level we have reached,” he added.