Science and Technology




It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to yet another epoch making event - the 2017 Distinguished Annual Lecture of the National Institute. This is the crowning intellectual activity of the Senior Executive Course and we are highly honoured and privileged this year to have as our Distinguished Lecturer, an eminent and highly revered father of the nation, a bridge builder and peace maker, a scholar per excellence, our own General Dr Yakubu Gowon, GCFR.


  1. The honour to deliver the Distinguished Annual Lecture of the National Institute is a privilege reserved exclusively for notable statesmen, erudite scholars and academics, and people of rare achievement and experience who can speak on critical issues with moral and intellectual authority. On this score, ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that our 2017 Distinguished Annual Lecturer is more than qualified to deliver this lecture. Indeed, we find no Nigerian better qualified to address the theme of this year’s lecture than General Dr Yakubu Gowon, who fought for the unity of this country, and is still crusading for its progress and development. We are therefore extremely grateful that he agreed, despite his busy schedules, to honour our invitation to deliver the lecture. I welcome Your Excellency to the Institute and thank you for accepting our invitation.
  2. I wish to welcome all other very important personalities invited to grace this auspicious occasion. Let me particularly thank the Chairman, His Excellency Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State, who at a relatively short notice, agreed to preside over this ceremony. We salute your faith in the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria and commend your bold stand in declaring this at all times.


  1. Let me also salute the Governor of Plateau State and our host, His Excellency, Rt. Honourable Simon Bako Lalong, for his unflinching support to the National Institute. We appreciate the hospitality and goodwill of the government and people of Plateau State, the Home of Peace and Tourism, which has enabled us to carry out our tasks in a conducive atmosphere.


  1. We welcome the Gbong Gwom Jos and other royal fathers here present as well as and all other distinguished personalities who have come to grace this occasion.


  1. Each year, the Distinguished Annual Lecture addresses a very important and critical aspect of Nigeria’s developmental challenges, with a view to throwing light on the subject and proffering workable solutions to the problem. The theme for this year’s lecture is “Unity in Diversity and the Current Challenges of National Building.”


  1. The choice of this theme, you will all agree with me, is apt in view of the current clamour within the polity for restructuring. The media is awash with debates and discourses on this subject of restructuring. A great challenge for Nigeria remains how to build a common identity to enable us harness our diversity as building blocks for national development, rather than perceive them as obstacles to progress. I commend the strong and able leadership of the current administration in this regard. The National Institute is convinced that Nigeria will come out of these times stronger and better positioned to play its leadership role in Africa.


  1. I invite you all to listen with rapt attention as our Distinguished Annual Lecturer shares his thoughts on these issues and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.