By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has challenged Nigerian universities to come up with innovative researches at enhancing human capital development in the country.
Buhari spoke yesterday through Minister of State for Education, Prof Anthony Onwukah in Port Harcourt, Rivers state at the 32nd Convocation of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT.
He said “In these days and age, researches that cannot be capitalised by the industries for the benefit of the people is as good as mere academic exercise.
“I appeal to lecturers still inclined to the old idea of publish or perish to repeal that position. In the new, knowledge economy, the slogan should be, publish, patent and produce, which enrich Universities and societies in other parts of the world.
“It is time university managements changed the narrative if they hope to remain relevant in the scheme of things, and to also embrace restructuring the curricular to bring them up to speed with trends in other parts of the world.
“It is time our universities to joined forces with reputable industry players to conduct researches that can solve the numerous problems besieging our industries, for which these industries goes currently seek answers abroad, creating jobs for people in those countries.
“The prevailing situation is an indictment on the research capabilities of universities in Nigeria, that industries here continues to patronise foreign counterparts for solutions to their operational and logistics problems.”
The President expressed happiness, “That the Academic Union Staff of Universities(ASUU) has suspended its nationwide strike which paralized normal academ activities in the country for about three months.
“Governmnet has shifted grounds to accommodate some genuine demands of ASSU, but it was unfortunate that the union insisted on going for the last strike action at variance with what ASSU professed aim of quality varsity education in Nigeria stresses.”
He said that Federal Government has released funds through the appropriate supervisory agencies for new structures, laboratory equipments, libraries and high impact research to the universities, adding that the challenge is for the universities enhance their capacities to deliver quality education to the students.
Vice Chancellor at UNIPORT, Professor Ndowa Lale appealed to traditional rulers and opinion leaders the institutions host communities to assist in containing land speculators who randomly breach spacial boundaries of the university.
He said that the management have been forced to go to court to claim some of the pieces of land encroached upon by the speculators.
He further said the nation’s near total dependence on oil amd gas resources at the expense of sustained human capital development has infected Nigeria with the dreaded ‘Dutch disease’.