The allocation of N5 billion for research purposes in the nation’s universities, under the National Research Fund (NRF) by Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has re-affirmed the determination and commitment of the government to explore all channels of development to boost its diversification programme.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke in Abuja, the administration should be commended for charting this new course in its efforts to reposition the nation’s education and find a lasting solution to the socio-economic problems confronting the country, through viable and robust research.
“This huge amount allocated for the NRF in the 2019 intervention budget, which is the highest ever, is intended to bring about cutting- edge research in three thematic areas of science, technology and innovation, humanities and social sciences.
“With this feat, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has once again demonstrated that investment in human capital, and in various aspects of research is the key to the continued growth and development of the country.”
The group pointed out that the fact that this is the first time that such a huge amount of money is being made available for research in our universities is an indication that the government is poised to engage all channels of development in the country.
“BMO, therefore, encourages all the institutions that will benefit from this fund to make judicious use of it, for its rightful purposes, and advance network for research and education for the benefit of the people.
“We urge the Nigerian universities, particularly those who are to benefit from this research intervention fund, to see this gesture of the Buhari administration as a challenge and ensure justification of this huge financial support by making a significant contribution to the nation’s sustainable development through viable and robust research.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has a strong and long-standing commitment to the development of a prosperous and confident knowledge-based society, which recognises, builds on, and values the special things that make Nigeria and Nigerians what they are. It will require a persistent, long-term, focus on quality, innovation, continuous improvement and entrepreneurship.”
According to the BMO, not much priority has been given to research in our universities by previous administrations, and this has slowed the pace of development in all sectors of the economy, exacerbating the unemployment problem confronting the nation.
“And now that this government has shown more interest and support for research in our universities, we encourage the people, organisations, and the management and funding systems in the tertiary institutions to stimulate, facilitate, demand and celebrate the highest standards of excellence in research. They should also strive towards a research community, which is defined by increased global connections, and network with international research peers.
“We believe that what should be our vision at this critical stage of our development is for research to be at the forefront of our economic, social and environmental development. Elevating research to a position of high strategic importance within the nation’s education system is long overdue. It is essential that we now reposition universities as the institutions to influence the direction and quality of our research and ensure that they become the elite institutions that they were intended to be.”
To ensure that beneficiary institutions make successful use of the research fund for its primary purpose, BMO appealed to relevant government departments and agencies in charge of the fund to ensure prompt release to the concerned institutions to avoid any unnecessary delay capable of derailing their work.