President Muhammadu Buhari has charged universities of technology in the country to improve their ingenuity on research to enable them proffer solutions and achieve breakthroughs in the nation’s innovation space.
President Buhari, who was represented by Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, gave the charge, at the weekend, during the 33rd convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
Buhari disclosed that the Federal Government approved N8 billion for the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), under the National Research Fund (NRF) Scheme and urged the affected institutions to take advantage of the fund.
He also informed that TETfund had established centres of excellence for research in several universities across the country, stressing that the Federal Government is working on the draft bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF).
The President further enjoined the universities to redesign their curricula to suit national development needs and the dynamics of society, including engaging graduates to become relevant in global competitive economies.
He stressed that relying on the developed nations to solve Nigerian problems would aggravate the challenges. He, thus, advocated local solutions to every task in the country.
“Our universities parade the finest and smartest scholars, who can change the narrative and place our country on the front burner of innovators in the global arena and I encourage our scholars to collaborate with research institutes for effective research outputs,” he added,
Buhari, who commended the governing council, management, staff and students of FUTO on the National Universities Commission’s (NUC), approval for the establishment of a College of Medicine in the institution, also applauded the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nnenna Oti, on her emergence as the first female Vice Chancellor (VC), and the eight substantive VC of the 41-year-old FUTO and wished her success during her tenure.
Earlier, Oti highlighted her vision for the institution to move it to specific and technological transformation through excellent teaching, research, innovation and community service, as well as producing world class graduates, patents and indigenous solutions to local, national and global problems.
No fewer than 64 students were awarded first class degrees in various disciplines. Osuigwe Chisom Henry of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering emerged the best graduating student for the 2019/2020 academic session, having scored a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.96.
Also, 4,032 students were conferred with first degrees, 380 received Higher Degrees comprising Ph.D (42), M.Sc, M.Tech, M.P.H, M. Eng., MBA (219) and 119 Post-Graduate Diplomas (PGDs).