President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday tasked Nigerian universities on research breakthrough to accelerate national growth and development.
Buhari gave the task in a message to the 38th convocation ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Represented by Prof. Akanerem Essien of the National Universities’ Commission (NUC), the President also said Nigeria would not achieve greatness until “education is highly funded.”
He disclosed that the Federal Government, through TEDFUND, had established “institution based research and national research fund” to resuscitate research activities in Nigerian universities.
He, however, lamented that much of the funds were yet to be accessed by the nation’s public universities.
The President called on the universities to put in place tangible proposals for the purposes of research breakthrough that would make remarkable impact on national development.
He noted that ABU had in the past made remarkable progress in research on agriculture, extension services and livestock improvement through breeding.
“These activities must be resuscitated for increased food production especially at this point in time when government has step-up plan aimed at diversification of the economy with agriculture in the front burner.
“This government will harness available resources from the universities to achieve the desired goal for national development,” he said.
In his speech, the Chancellor of the university and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Ugochukwu, described ABU as a reputable institution of higher learning not only in Nigeria but the world over.
He said the diversity of programmes, mixture of staff and students had made it a proudly true national institution.
“This distinction in turn makes it incumbent on all of us to constantly and diligently apply the human, financial and other resources at our disposal in posing a positive attitude in order to move the university to greater levels.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Garba identified lack of hostel accommodation and inadequate overhead as some of the major challenges of the university.
National Daily reports that a total of 14,586 students graduated during the convocation.