By Muktar Tahir – The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, on Wednesday received the draft executive bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation, NRDF.
Receiving the draft law from the TETFund NRDF Bill Drafting Committee on Wednesday in Abuja, the Fund’s Executive Secretary, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, said a foundation has now been laid for driving Nigeria’s knowledge-driven economy.
Mr Bogoro added that the country has no option other than to embrace knowledge in its pursuit of economic development.
According to him, the document is clear on what it intends to accomplish, which is the establishment of a national research and development foundation that will coordinate research efforts in the country to usher it into a knowledge-based economy.
While applauding the committee for its efforts and said it was on a historic mission for the country, Mr Bogoro noted that each of the persons invited to the R&D committee was mandated to make a specific contribution for the country.
The TETFund boss said Nigeria’s economy cannot be competitive if it does not institutionalise research and development, R&D.
He said: “When we lack the fidelity to implement our policies and lack the discipline to enforce our laws, it is precisely why Nigeria has failed. We have failed to attain our potential as a nation because of some of these areas.
“And let us admit collective guilt we shouldn’t be back-passing; so when we bring ourselves like this, those in government are there, the academia, of course, are there; the industry operators are there.
“We agree to come together to speak the same language, the ultimate outcome, we agree to be a more competitive Nigerian economy and the nation overall,” he added.
According to him, there was a need to rejig and reflect over the issue of governance in government and academic institutions, adding that many times the area of appropriate governance at all levels has failed the nation.
He said the most competitive nations are those that have recognised and placed innovation and creativity as the lead element that drives society.
“The greatest of thinkers in history were those that drove the direction of their nations; the greatest of thinkers do things beyond the average persons,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Prof. Auwalu Yadudu, said the committee was inaugurated two months ago to draft an executive bill for the establishment of the research and development foundation.
Yadudu said the bill has the support and endorsement of the executive and will be forwarded to the Minister of Education for approval before submission to National Assembly.
“The bill seeks to establish a national research and development foundation to Institutionalise, mainstream and commercialize research and development, promote innovation and support enterprise development for job and wealth creation for a knowledge-driven economy for Nigeria.
“Everything else that we do will remain in our laboratories, in our thesis, in our classrooms if it is not translated into some applications, some uses which will require the intervention and participation of the industry,” he said.
According to him, the bill recommends a governance structure that is true to the specifications and ideas generated by the document supplied to them, adding that it envisages a management team that will comprise of the different elements that will be autonomous and drive the process once inaugurated.
He said when passed into law, the bill will give birth to a foundation that will build on and further support and complement efforts of the TETFund.
Yadudu noted that in drafting the bill, key legal officers from the Ministry of Justice were well represented and provided the most critically needed professional services.
According to him, thoughts were given to various sources of funding, that are varied and diverse but innovative, stressing that the foundation cannot just think of the few available, easy ways of generating funding for research.
Also speaking, TETFund’s Director of Research R&D and Centres of Excellence, Dr Salihu Geire, said the bill was the beginning of the realisation for the greatness of Nigeria.