From: Onyedika Agbedo
Worried by the increasing deterioration of the state of nation and the depressing living conditions of its people, a group of eminent global scholars has blamed the country’s woes on the widening gap between scholars/researchers and policy makers/implementers.
The scholars, who converged on the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, for a three-day workshop recently, urged the Federal Government to immediately re-order its steps in this regard in order to turn around for good the fortunes of the country.
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The scholars, led by Emeritus Prof. John Adebunmi Ayoade of the University of Ibadan and the Programme Director, African Peace-building Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York, Professor Cyril Obi, said that developed countries fully understood the strategic importance and relevance of scholars and researchers and always engaged them during moments of national emergencies and challenges as it were the case in Nigeria today.
Other eminent scholars at the workshop, which was sponsored by New York-based SSRC, included Prof. Ishmael Rasheed, a Sierra-Leonean and Chairman of APN Board; Dr Mathew Balakoli from the Governors Commission, Liberia; Prof. Charles Ukeje of the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and Prof. Sola Omotola, formerly of The Guardian Editorial Board, now of FUOYE.
They urged Nigerian political leaders, policy makers, industrialists and entrepreneurs to take a cue from the developed countries, noting that US, France, Russia, Australia, Canada, Japan, China and the United Kingdom, among others, use researchers and scholars to drive their economies and pursue developmental goals.
Nigerian-born Chief Executive at the SSRC, Prof. Obi, in his comments, noted that it was not too late for the country’s policy makers to retrace their steps and begin the process of critical a linkage with the academic community in Nigeria and in the Diaspora.
Obi further disclosed that in order to ensure that the country begins to march forward in this new direction of mutual interface between scholars and policy makers/implementers and that the process is not starved of quality researchers at any given time, a substantial part of the workshop would be devoted to training young researchers on the rudiments of researches, including how to access funds and grants.
Vice Chancellor of FUOYE, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, in his remarks said the recognition of the urgent need to re-activate the link between scholars and policy makers made the institution to seek collaboration with SSRC and to also link FUOYE with the global university community.
Also speaking, Prof. Rasheed, who is a Professor of History at Vassar University, Brooklyn, US, traced the root cause of the Nigerian present socio-ethnic conflict to uneven distribution of the resources of the country among the various ethnic nationalities and the people in general. He also blamed the problem on the failure of Nigeria to manage advantageously the benefits of ethnic diversity.
The Sierra-Leonean scholar posited that the country must come together to fashion out a common vision, which all Nigerians must build on and invest in if it must come out of her present woes.