Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, was at the Photo Exhibition of Political Development in Nigeria from 1960 to date, held at the National Arts gallery pavilion in Abuja where newsmen cornered him. He spoke on the photo exhibition, the change mantra and the recent deregulation on PMS (Petrol). Excerpts
Sir, Seeing the Exhibition so far, what will it impact on the people, the generality of Nigerians?
A lot of impact, the photo section of the exhibition is very important. It traces the history and the post-Independence history of Nigeria, giving pictures of all those who have governed the country first at the Federal, Regional and subsequently the state levels.
I think this is important as a nation; we need to honor those who have offered services to our country and the study of history is important because it prepares us for the future. Where we have made mistakes in the past, we would not repeat them in the present and that is how we can have a brighter future.
The Art work is very important, that is where I come in; As Minister of Science and Technology in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am very happy that employing indigenous Technology of our people in various parts of the country have been able to produce art work that can compete with the best anywhere in the world and we need many Nigerians to see exhibition of this nature so that we can become very proud of ourselves and culture.
You talked about history which has been scrapped from the school curriculum, are you saying it should be reintroduced?
I feel very happy, It was a mistake initially to have removed history from the school’s curriculum, if we don’t learn from our past, there is every tendency to repeat the mistakes of the past, so there is so much to learn, by allowing our young ones know the history of our country, so that whatever action they may take in future will be to build on the successes of the past.
Reintroducing history is important, we need to make Nigerians know Nigeria and we want Nigerians to be proud of their country and you cannot be proud of what you don’t know about. I think it is a good step that has been taken by this administration. This is an administration of “Change”, Change for the better, and this is one decision that will help us achieve more in future.
What is your comment on the increase on the fuel pump price otherwise known as deregulation?
The issue in the price of fuel, Nigerians must understand; this administration is all out to help solve the problems that have never been solved in the past that has remained intractable. The major problem we have with fuel distribution, if we don’t have enough at anytime, then there will be shortage; there will be long queues and people will end up paying more, double the price. I know that when fuel was sold at 86 Naira, most Nigerians especially in the rural areas except Abuja, Lagos and other cities were buying fuel as high as 200 Naira per liter coupled with the inconveniences and at times the risk of buying adulterated fuel. If the pricing is right, people can be encouraged to come and build refineries’ and if we have enough of them, there will be no more shortages. Remember, when were exporting refined products, we never had shortages so if we have enough refineries as many private organizations steps in if convinced that there is enough profit in the venture. That is why we have to strive irrespective of the immediate hardship because paying more definitely introduces inconveniences but at the long term, this will help us to solve this problem. The problem of shortages in supply has been with us for a long time unsolved and we need to solve it and put it behind us in a short possible time, permanently as many other countries have done.