From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) received on Wednesday the draft executive bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF).
Executive Secretary of TETFund Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who received the draft bill from the NRDF bill drafting committee in Abuja, thanked the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, for drafting staff of the Justice Ministry for the task.
He said the bill lays a solid foundation for driving Nigeria’s knowledge-driven economy, adding that the country has no option but to embrace knowledge in its pursuit of economic development.
He noted that 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.
The TETFund boss said that Nigeria’s economy cannot be competitive if it does not institutionalise research and development, adding that the ‘system failure in Nigeria was because we lack the fidelity to implement our policies and the discipline to enforce our laws. We have failed to attain our potential as a nation because of some of these areas.We must collectively admit guilt and stop back-passing.’
He stressed the need to rejig and reflect over issues of governance in government and academic institutions, adding that many times the area of appropriate governance at all levels has failed the country.
Prof Bogoro 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.
He added that the bill recommended 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.
‘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,’ he said.
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.
He said that thoughts were also 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, Dr Salisu Bakare, said the bill was the beginning of the realisation for the greatness of Nigeria.