Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has charged the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, to help the country achieve its national target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Mr Osinbajo, who was represented by Ade Ipaye, the Deputy Chief of Staff to President Muhammudu Buhari, gave the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a stakeholders forum organised by NIPSS to commemorate its 40th anniversary.
The theme of the forum is: “The National Institute in the Context of Challenging Environment’’.
The vice-president also urged the institute to work toward tackling the impact of climate change on communities across the country and the existing complex security challenges.
“These are worthy goals for NIPSS to pursue as the institute considers its role in our fast changing environment.
“Research for its own sake will not move society forward. Research such as that undertaken at NIPSS must always address priority areas which are rooted in the Nigerian reality and require ideas that can propel us forward.
“Some of these areas should, for instance address our national target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“As you undertake this important task, I must stress the following areas to be taken into consideration as you deliberate – resource mobilisation which is the freedom to think and develop new ideas.
“In addition to what is provided by the Federal Government, financial resources through the pursuit of grants and partnerships with like-minded interlocutors must be developed and cultivated to support the institute’s work.’’
Osinbajo further stressed the need for the institute to make research more result-oriented and disseminate the outcome of research findings to relevant stakeholders for their practical uses in day-to-day activities.
“It is evident that the environmental complexity within which the national institute operates has changed considerably over time and there are emerging challenges toward the optimum fulfilment of its objectives.
“It is, therefore, commendable that the management of the institute has convened this forum to deliberate on its current challenges and map out the way forward.
“However, in the context of a changing global environment, it is expected that the institute is better positioned to fulfil its role as the nation’s foremost policy think-tank,’’ he said.
The vice president, therefore, called on Nigerians at home and abroad to shun all forms of divisive rhetoric which could weaken the fabric of national unity.
He pledged the continued commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the institute to enable it play its significant role as the apex policy think-tank of the nation.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu called on the institute to change its approach to the changing environment, not only in Nigeria but across Africa.
Mr Adamu noted that adapting to the changing environment required the institute to own a community radio station for discussing researches and disseminating its findings.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, who is also the interim Chairman, NIPSS Board of Governors pledged the support of the board in repositioning the institute.
Mr Olonisakin, who was represented by AVM Nurudeen Balogun called for more funding for the institute to enable it drive the process of national development.
Earlier, the Director-General, NIPSS, Prof. Habu Galadima said the forum would offer a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to help update NIPSS business models for effective engagement in public policy.
Mr Galadima said that it would also strengthen the evidence-based inputs into the decision-making process of government.
“This stakeholders’ forum was specially convened to assemble all the leadership and participants of the past 40 years of the institute together and see how the institute can be more relevant to the government.
“This is to provide evidence-based research to support public policy in Nigeria to better perform its function within the country.
“Every year, the government provides an area of focus that the institute will devote most of its time to conduct actionable research.
“We advise the government with clear implementation strategies on how to implement many of those strategies.’’
Dr Yakubu Sankey, the Director of Administration, NIPSS stressed the need for the institute to adapt to the forces and characters of the environment for its survival and long-term relevance.
Mr Sankey called on the national institute to resist any attempt to being compromise in the decision-making process for the country as a matter of patriotism.
“NIPSS can only become a think-tank if it put in practice what the law wants it to put in practice by dialoguing on existing issues.
“They must not allow themselves to be over bloated in decision making process but focus on the areas of decision that will impact on the country,’’ he said.