Prof. John Adeoti delivering the lecture
Rather than making sustained economic progress, Nigeria's economic fortunes of the 1960s/1970s only lasted till the 1980s when there was a sharp and persistent decline in the international price of crude oil.
Professor John Adeoti stated this when he delivered the 25th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, titled: “Universities and the Challenge of Tackling Innovation Deficit in Nigeria” on Friday, February 26, 2016 at the Caverton Lecture Hall, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT), Main Campus, Gidan Kwano.
Prof. Adeoti said that Nigeria though young in democratic governance experience needs a strong government to achieve sustainable economic growth that is truly poverty reducing, job creating and environment protecting, adding that realizing these key aspects of development is dependent on Nigeria’s capacity to tackle innovation deficit because development is not possible without an innovation-driven economy.
The Professor of Development Economics at the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), said that universities also have a role to play in tackling the innovation deficit through research and development, noting that the current nature of research and training presently offered by Nigerian universities is limited in its developmental focus and also lacking in entrepreneurial orientation.
The Don further tasked the government to improve the quality of graduates by fostering a stronger collaboration of universities with industries by establishing a consultative process whereby the opinion of relevant business managers is considered in curriculum development, so that teaching and research - industry collaborative progress can better respond to industry’s needs.
According to him, the key actor in such a government must eschew self-interest and make public interest the sole driver of public policy choices and implementation of development projects and programmes by which their common goal should be banishing underdevelopment from our society.
Speaking further, Prof. Adeoti said government must recognize the critical role of technological innovation in economic development and be committed to making the instrument of state work for technology acquisition and innovation in every sector of the economy.
He admonished the universities, particularly FUT, Minna to immediately take the lead in the advocacy for tackling innovation deficit in Nigeria.
Earlier the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Musbau Adewumi Akanji, FNSBMB, while introducing the speaker said the need for the topic on economic development was borne out of the fact that the economy lacks technological innovation which is needed to see a rapid growth for the Nigerian economy and that the lecture is a wake up call to make the University contribute its own quota to the challenge of tackling innovation deficit in Nigeria through research and development.
In his remark at the event, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Rufa’i Ahmed Alkali congratulated the Vice-Chancellor and Management for organizing an excellent Convocation Lecture.
He admonished the University to look into ways which they can impact on the economy through technological research and development instead of waiting for the government.