Despite being the leading economy in Africa and one of the biggest in the world, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Suleiman Bogoro, has given reasons why Nigeria has not been able to find solutions to most of its citizens’ problems.
Mr Bogoro blamed the problem on the lack of global competitiveness in the economy as a result of no deliberate attempt by the country to engage in problem-solving research activities to build a knowledge-based economy.
The TETFUND Executive Secretary who spoke at the 9th Convocation Ceremony of Veritas University in Abuja on Saturday urged stakeholders to galvanize support towards building a knowledge-based economy for the country.
In his presentation titled: “Forging Partnerships in the Triple Helix Model and the Drive for the Institutionalization of Nigeria’s Knowledge Economy”, Mr Bogoro said the country’s economy should be able to translate its abundant resources into problems-solving capacities for its citizens.
In spite of its place as Africa’s leading economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow between 1.7 percent and 2.0 percent in 2021, Nigeria should be able to build the capacity to solve its citizens’ problems, to make the GDP more meaningful.
He challenged the educationists, especially among other stakeholders, to engage in problem-solving research activities and build a knowledge-based economy to ensure global competitiveness.
“Today’s investments in research and development is tomorrow’s sustainable revenue for any investing nation. We cannot afford to waste more time for reinventing the wheels when we can leverage on innovations across the globe to fast-track development.
“The obvious reality is that nations across the world are closing their borders due to the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with underlying economic reasons. We must fix Nigeria, by adding value to our natural resources for global competitiveness and sustainable knowledge economy,” Mr Bogodo said.
Since the country’s independence in 1960, the Executive Secretary said Nigerian Universities had placed emphasis on teaching at the expense of research.
He noted that most of the researches carried out in the universities were for the purpose of acquiring degrees and not solving the nation’s socio-economic problems.
Part of the problem, he said, was because there had not been an adequate commitment of funds into research and development in the country adding that this partly accounted for the failure of research in the country.
In spite of periodical increases in national research funds from N5billion to N8.5billion in 2021, the funding remained grossly inadequate.
Mr Bogoro said TETFUND had canvassed for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation in the country to cater for the funding needs of the country for research purposes.
When the plans are concluded and the Foundation fully operational, he said it would source for over $2billion as seed money to be injected into research development in the country.
He urged authorities of the Veritas University to enlist their support for the establishment of the Research and Development Foundation and join hands in developing Nigeria’s knowledge-based economy.
“The foundation will sufficiently reflect the triple helix model toward attaining competitiveness in the global economy because it’s science, technology and innovation that will make the difference in Nigeria’s economy.
“We are determined to support problem-solving research and unless we do so, the universities are irrelevant,” he said.
The Chancellor of the university, Ignatius Kaigama, who underscored the importance of the quality education offered by the university, said some graduates of the institution were gladly offered admissions in foreign institutions.
Mr Kaigama said that the university would continue to train students and equip them to develop self-confidence and become employers of labour, urging the graduands to remain focused and make the institution proud in their various fields of endeavor.
The Vice-Chancellor of the school Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, said over the years, the institution laboured to equip the students morally and academically to prepare them for the world of work and further studies.
Me Ichoku disclosed that the university’s Faculty of Law would commence as soon as approval was given by the National Universities Commission to start classes.
He gave the cost of constructing the law faculty of the university at about N400 million, adding that construction work of the faculty would be concluded in June this year.
About 421 students of various fields of studies graduated from the school’s previous academic session, out of which 32 made First Class. (NAN).