A WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT, POLYMER INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA (PIN), PROF. PAUL MAMZA, FPIN AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 27th TECHNICAL CONFERENCE/ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (AGM) OF POLYMER INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA HOLDING IN ABUJA BETWEEN 26th – 29thOCTOBER, 2016.
PROTOCOL: Your Excellencies, Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The Chairman of the Occasion, Special Guests of Honour. Your Royal highnesses, Chairman, Board of Directors, PIN, Members, Board of Directors, PIN, Members, National Executive Committee, PIN, The Chief Host, Past Presidents of PIN, Fellows of the Institute and other Professional Bodies, Distinguished Members of the Institute and other Professional Bodies, Distinguished Invitees Great Polymer Students Gentlemen of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
INTRODUCTION: I am very pleased to welcome you all to the 27th Annual Technical Conference/Annual General Meeting of the Polymer Institute of Nigeria holding in the serene and cosmopolitan city of Abuja, ‘the seat of power’. Let me pay special tribute to the D.G of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Dr. H.D. Ibrahim, FPIN who is the Chief host, for his unrelenting efforts in ensuring the successful hosting of this year’s PIN Conference. The Theme of this year’s PIN Conference; Unlocking the Nigeria’s Economic potentials through Polymer Science and Technology is apt and is carefully chosen to be in conformity with the nations present economic crisis. The nation is currently in economic recession and needs a concerted efforts of all stakeholders to bring it to the path of recovery and growth.
Brief History of PIN: Permit me at this juncture to briefly introduce PIN for the benefit of our distinguished guests. The Institute was established by the company act of 1968 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in August, 1991 though the Polymer Institute of Nigeria had been in existence since July, 1989. The Institute is to, amongst others promote, advance and develop the application of Polymer Science. Engineering and Technology in the Polymer and allied industries in Nigeria and acts as a Professional body for prescribing standard of experience and efficiency in the research and education in all facet of Polymer Science, Engineering and Technology.
The Role of Polymer Science and Technology in Enhancing Nigeria’s Economic Potentials: Nigeria is presently at the cross-roads of history, the Nigerian economy is in its doldrums, it is no more a secret that Nigeria, our dear nation, is in a period of economic recession. It is also an open secret that the synergy required between Government’s patronages of the desirable professional contributions with the realizable utilization of our hidden resources is grossly miniscule. It is a well-known fact that we are blessed with the abundance of both human and materials resources, yet we are languishing at the bottom third of all indices of human development inspite of being the 6th largest producer of crude oil and having the 7th largest natural gas reserve in the world. The President and Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has rightly considered this situation as miserable, pathetic, horrible and unacceptable. There’s the urgent need to diversify our Economic base. The Polymer Scientists, Technologists, Engineers and Industrialists can play a pivotal role in re-assessing our hidden and non-exploited potentials. Nigeria must move swiftly from a consumer oriented society to a productive one and Polymer Science & Technology hold the key to open-up new vistas of prosperity. With the vast pool of professionals in our Institute and proper utilization of their knowledge, there is hope looming at the horizon. There must be a partnership with Governments at all levels with PIN and other sister Organizations in the effort of improving the lots of our people through interventions in self-employment and entrepreneurship skills-transfer. Earlier on, the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu had challenged the PIN leadership to take deliberate steps towards the industrialization of the economy in order to achieve food security, protect its people and create jobs for Nigeria. The Minister noted that with the huge availability of natural gas in the country and diverse use of Polymer, the Institute will receive Federal Government support to exploit its potentials to the fullest. The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology had challenged PIN to pursue a lead role in the required industrialization of Nigeria. History has beckoned on me, as the 8th National President of PIN to take up this challenge to its logical conclusion. With your support, cooperation and solidarity, this task must be achieved. In a similar vein, the Honourable Minister of Environment, had also challenged the PIN leadership to assist Federal Government in its challenges of Environmental Waste Disposal and the recycling of our Polymer naira notes. PIN is hereby affirming its willingness to assist the Federal Government in all spheres of its professional endeavours and assures of a value-oriented contribution towards the successful tackling of the inherent challenges of the current economic recession. However, Federal Government must provide an enabling environment for such partnership to be result-oriented. PIN must be carried along in all policy-decision-making process involving applications of all facet of Polymer Science, Technology, Engineering and Industrialization. There must be partnership between Government and the Institute in order to key-in into the Governments renewed effort for the diversification of the nation’s economy. Also, with the double digit exchange rate, manufacturing by investors will be non-profitable. Government must create a conducive environment for the manufacturing activities to pick-up which will ensure the revival of the ailing polymer industries. It is worthy to note also that the concept of interdisciplinary Research and Development (R&D) has not gained much ground in the academia in Nigeria. This is really sad because innovation is not a unidimensional process. It is comparable to the intermeshing gears of a clock. The challenge before us is to make this intermeshing happen. Greater efforts must be geared to enhance linkage between Universities and Industries in Research and Development of polymer materials. The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) must be introduced by PIN in tackling some of these challenges. The key note address which will be delivered by an erudite Scholar, Dr. Amali Ejila will no doubt address these prevailing issues and concerns. This year Conference will come to a climax tomorrow, 28th October, 2016 with the Award Night Ceremony at the Chida International Hotels, Utako District, Abuja where Fellowship of the Institute will be Conferred on deserving personalities who have contributed immensely to the practice and propagation of Polymer Science and Technology knowledge in our country. These eminent Scholars and technocrats are;
1. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
2. Mr. Paul Gbededo, GMD, Flour Mills Plc, Lagos.
3. Prof. A.S. Ahmed, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
4. Prof. M.S. Gumel, Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Bayero University, Kano.
5. Dr. (Mrs.) Jane P. Bassey, RMRDC, Abuja, who is the LOC Chair, ‘Abuja 2016’ (Honorary).
Chartering of PIN: The Institute is currently embarking on a massive enlightenment, mobilization and sensitization programmes. PIN in its desire to pursue the mandate of enhancing and promoting Scientific and Technological Development in the area of plastics, paints, adhesives, elastomers, pigments, foams, had sent a bill to the National Assembly. The bill is presently receiving attention. When chartered, PIN will regulate the training and production in all polymer and polymer-related institutions and industries in order to ensure quality assurance and world best practice. It will also ensure the professional integrity and status of all persons engaged in Polymer Science, Engineering and Technology by prescribing standard of excellence and efficiency, along with the accreditation of manpower training programme in Polymer and Polymer related areas.
PIN Collaboration with other Agencies/Parastatals: PIN appreciates the collaboration with the RMRDC in the sustenance of the yearly one million naira (N1,000,000.00). Institutional Award which is aimed at promoting excellence in the area of Polymer Science, Engineering and Technology in Nigeria. The Institute is also engaged in the Research and Development Database Compilation in the area of Polymers in Nigeria, being sponsored by RMRDC. Furthermore, the institute in collaboration with National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) is working-out a memorandum of understanding for PIN-NBTE workshop on Curriculum Review and Development for all Nigerian Polytechnics offering Polymer courses. Discussions are on-going to determine minimum academic requirements as a pre-requisite for teaching polymer in Nigerian Polytechnics. Similar discussions with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) is in the offing.
PIN Secretariat PIN wishes to launch an appeal fund raising for building a permanent Secretariat in Abuja early next year. The proceeds accrued from the fund raising will be managed by a Board of Trustees to be constituted later. All stakeholders, especially the Fellows of the Institute are implored to support this project.
Conclusion: Words alone cannot quantify our gratitude to our Board Chairman, Chief Alexis N. Ajuebon, Managing Director, ANA Industries Limited Port Harcourt, Mr. Paul Gbededo, GMD, Flour Mills, Apapa-Lagos, Chief (Dr.) Innocent Akuvue MD, GGI International Limited, Port Harcourt, Prof. B.T. Nwufo, Department of Chemistry, University of Jos, Our Board Secretary/Past President of PIN and Dr. H.D Ibrahim, DG, RMRDC, Abuja for assisting the Institute with their time, energy and resources. I wish to thank the distinguished invited guests for coming to witness this opening ceremony. I am indebted to His Excellencies, the Honourable Ministers of Science and Technology, Environment and Industry, Trade & Investment for giving the Institute attention and its time before this Conference. The individual efforts of our Professional colleagues had shown that with loyalty, patience, perseverance and diligence, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Let me specially thank the Chairperson, LOC, Dr. Jane P. Bassey and her team for working tirelessly to see to the success of this Conference. We, at the Polymer Institute of Nigeria will never forget these untiring sacrifices and contributions. May God bless us all.
Prof. Paul Mamza, FPIN, MCSN, NSAN, MNEST, MICCON, MTTN, ANIST
National President,Polymer Institute of Nigeria (PIN)