Don tasks FG on revamping Ajaokuta Steel Company

A Don, Prof. Osita Agbu, has urged the Federal Government to revitalise the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited to boost the country’s economy through industrialisation.

Agbu, of the the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, Baze University, Abuja, gave the advice while delivering inaugural lecture at the institution in Abuja.

The lecturer, who spoke on ‘Technology and International Relations: Backward and Forward Linkages In Steel Development and Nigeria’s Foreign Relations’, said ‘we cannot make progress if we don’t embrace science and technology.

‘And in Africa, where issues of primordialism and spiritualism hold sway, it is high time the country directs attention to bringing the company back to life.

‘Look at other countries of the world that have industrialised and made progress, you see that there is a whole lot of attention on scientific issues that you don’t have to be living in the past.

‘Yes, you can preserve your culture but you need to embrace the present and move into the future.’

Agbu said it was against this backdrop that he researched on the topic of his presentation because almost everything of that can make a country to develop or make a person to improve civilisation comes from the use of iron and steel.

‘And that is why I took us back to the various industrial revolutions we had, up to the 5th Industrial Revolution, to show the importance of iron and steel industry in the development of mankind and the things we use.

‘That is why I focused on what we have on the ground; the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Industry.’

‘What are its various constraints and problems right from Inception, the cold war politics around it, the coming of the company from the Soviet Union and what we have been able to achieve.

‘I have been monitoring that project for three decades, and without it coming onstream, we cannot lay the foundation for industrialisation in Nigeria.

‘Yes, there are mini steel companies but they are just a few and cannot even satisfy domestic market, not to talk of exportation.’

He, therefore, stressed the need for the country to take drastic measures to have control over the production of iron and steel.

‘If we can do that and allow this to seep into other sectors of our economy, you will see what will happen to our economy .

‘People will be engaged, people will be able to produce, the country will have greater influence among the comity of nations.’

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Kathleen Okafor, in an interview, enumerated some of the takeaways from the lecture.

She said ‘this is telling us to disabuse our minds of political considerations when we are positioning investment institutions.

‘We should also be concerned with short and long term benefits to the country.

‘We should be aware of the presence of neocolonialism, where the super powers are not relenting in recolonising us in one way or the other, not recolonising us as a country geographically, but our minds.’

Okafor said that issues of corruption that had stalled development should be tackled.

She stressed the need for government to pursue development with a passion and aggression, saying ‘in terms of technology, we need to upscale, we need people with integrity and those who are prepared to be heroes for industrialisation.

‘It is not only about the leaders, but individuals are needed who have the right minds to champion development. Education or research alone can’t take us there.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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