Arch. Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), has urged the Research and Development Standing Committee (RSDC) to design an agenda that can fast-track the research process in Nigeria.
Echono stated this when he met with the leadership of the Committee, led by its chairman, Prof. Anya O. Anya in Abuja on Tuesday.
The RDSC of TETFund is a large group of over 150 members with 13 thematic areas of focus, which the task to fast-track Nigeria’s global competitiveness in product development and service delivery by leveraging innovation systems.
The thematic Groups include Agriculture, Environment and Bioresources, Medicine, Energy, Infrastructural Development, Education, Pharmaceuticals, and Digital Economy,.Petroleum, Fossils Resources, Solid Mineral and Mining, Defence and Military; Governance, and Social Development, amongst others.
Echono expressed gratitude for the services and hard work that has already gone into the project, saying that Nigeria needs urgent steps to overcome its current situation.
“As you will agree with me and so judging from the remarks by the chairman, our job is not done yet; in fact, we are almost still at the beginning, and the task is not only significant but urgent,” he said.
“We have reached an important milestone in our national development that requires us to take new bearings, change course, exploring all the alternatives to see how we can lift this country from where we presently are.
“You heard about Dubai, but even Qatar is showcasing to the world now, a tiny country, and the whole of the world is watching, and attention is focused on them. We have seen the type of infrastructural development that they have been able to bring to their people.”
“No one can doubt that Nigeria has one of the best brains in the world. Having assembled our best and given the dare circumstances and situation that we faced.”
“So my charge and my prayer and appeal before you this morning is to commend Mr president through the Minister for approving the appointment of the chairman. It is my pleasure to hand over the letter to you formally and to say I’m now a messenger in delivering messages to you from the chief visioner, the president and the minister for education.
“So the agenda, as leaders, patriots and people who have devoted all their life to this quest, I urge you to take the lead in designing an agenda that can fast track this process.”
“I want to underline that we here at TETFund give you everything humanly possible to support this because we are now at that point where every institution in this country is going to tell Nigerian people existentially what are you doing to them?”
“How useful are you to them? How are contributing to improving their condition? That is something TETfund wants to be able to showcase that we are committed to making that investment and also harnessing the human and natural resources and deploying them but we need you as experts and leaders to drive it,” Echono added.
Earlier, Anya said the importance of science and technology in reshaping the future of Nigeria could not be overemphasised.
He said, “Many years from now, maybe ten years, twenty years, some will look at Nigeria and recognize this day as the day when Nigeria started taking science and technology seriously.
“The history of the contemporary world shows that those who embrace science and technology and operationalise it as instruments to development are now the knowledge societies worldwide.”
“I believe in the intention, the vision in all of us sitting here to hope that the lost time will be recovered and Nigeria will join those who use science and technology for development,” he said.