In flagging off the 2022 cycle of the Nigeria Prize for Science, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has announced the appointment of Professor Barth Nnaji, a renowned scientist and former Minister of Power, as the chairperson of the Advisory Board for the Prize.
Professor Nnaji succeeds Professor Emeritus Akpoveta Susu, a former science prize winner who retired from the Board in 2022. Professor Susu was appointed Board chairman in 2016. The Company also named Professor Yusuf Abubakar as a member in the newly reconstituted three-person Board, which will serve to implement wide-sweeping reforms that will re-position the Prize as one of the top science prizes in the world.
Professor Abubakar joins Chief Dr Nike Akande, a two-time minister and former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who remains on the Board.
The newly constituted Board has assumed duties in preparations for the 2022 cycle of the Prize. The Board approved “Innovations in Sustainable Food Security” as the theme for the scientific competition.
Professor Nnaji is a Nigerian scientist and a professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He was a director of the US National Science Foundation Centre for e-Design, University of Pittsburgh. He served in different advisory roles to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria before being appointed a Minister for Science and Technology in 1993 and later Minister for Power in 2011. He is also the founder of the first independent power transmission station in Nigeria.
Accepting the appointment, Professor Nnaji stated that he would support the Prize to create an oasis of world standard inspiration for basic science research that will impact the lives of Nigerians.
Professor Abubakar is a professor of Animal Breeding and Quantitative Genetics and is the Coordinator of Agriculture Group, R & D Standing Committee, at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund. He is also the President of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Chair of the Board of Trustees, WorldFish, and currently a visiting professor at the University of Abuja. He was a judge in the 2021 cycle of The Nigeria Prize for Science.
Commenting on the reconstitution of the Advisory Board, NLNG’s General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mr Andy Odeh, expressed appreciation to Emeritus Professor Susu for his selfless service to the Prize. He said Professor Susu assumed leadership at a critical time for the Prize when it was being restructured, overseeing the management of change and charting a new trajectory for competition.
He stated that the changes made to the Advisory Board would consolidate the achievements made by the former Board chairman. He expressed NLNG’s support for the Board’s mandate of making the Prize stronger and more prestigious in the world.
The Nigeria Prize for Science awards prize money of $100,000.