Gambari urges FG for more investments in universities
Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, former Chief of Staff to ex- President Muhammadu Buhari, has urged the Federal Government for more investment in the nation’s universities, to attain technical innovations and development.
The former chief of staff gave the charge during a public lecture at the Federal University Lokoja (FUL).
The lecture was titled: “The relevance of university education in innovation for the advancement of town and gown symbiosis.”
Gambari, an academic and diplomat, said enhanced investments in the nation’s universities to encourage innovations and technological advancement would put the nation at a vintage position on the African continent.
“Such investments will open up opportunities for students to attain their academic heights, the knowledge frontiers and explore their natural talents.
“This is why Nigeria needs such a deliberate policy that can also encourage investment in research in the universities for critical and important roles in knowledge creation and innovation.
“Regardless of which school of thought one subscribes to, what is clear is that there is a correlation stemming from higher education to research and innovation.
“But we must not forget that academic course content also has to keep up with the pace of a fast-expanding knowledge frontiers.” he said.
He noted that universities required the interdependence and close collaboration with their host communities for a peaceful and conducive study environment.
According to him, universities are key players in the global knowledge economy.
The diplomat decried a situation where the relationship between the universities (Gowns) and their host communities (Towns) are parasitic or commensalist in nature.
He warned against a situation where the universities’ managements were indifferent to the interest of host communities in respect of employment, capacity building, information dissemination, corporate social responsibilities.
“This is because it often generates tensions, conflicts, social unrest, and invariably academic disruptions, thereby defeating the attainment of higher education goals.
“In fact, towns and gowns relationships are the true embodiment of the phrase ’till death do us part’.
“I therefore urge the universities to be cognisant of this and not isolate themselves but ensure they descend from their ivory tower and engage with the host communities, build in-roads and embrace them with open arms, finding a way to embed them into the campus,” he advised.
Gambari also admonished the communities to, on the other hand, understand the enormous responsibilities coming with playing host to a very diverse group of people, for the attainment of the desired growth and development.