From Left: Executive Director RIKE-SD, Dr Mustapha Popoola, with the Chairman Board of Governors, RIKE-SD, Mansur Ahmed, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Chairman Board of Finance Trustee, RIKE-SD and others at the meeting in Abuja
By Ikenna Uwadileke
Researchers under the aegis of Research for Impact, Knowledge, Economic and Sustainable Development (RIKE-SD) have advocated the use of research and innovations to address economic challenges facing communities.
The Executive Director RIKE-SD, Dr Mustapha Popoola, who said this in Abuja on Thursday, said that it would enable communities to feel the impact of research and ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Popoola, RIKE-SD is looking at connecting research to the communities, hence developing realistic data that will help the economic development of the communities.
“Part of what we have noticed is that investments have gone into research and some of them come out with results and outcomes.
“Some of these outcomes are littering the African continent whereas when we are not looking at research as a solution we are looking outside to import some of the things we can manufacture locally.
“So, in doing all of this there is a great disconnect between people that are actors in the practice of research and the end users,’’ Popoola said.
He said there was a need to change the narrative to enable people to have the feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment derived from research works.
“Until when the communities start feeling the outcome of research we cannot be talking about figures and language that researchers understand but do not feed into the communities,’’ Popoola said.
He blamed the failure of the academic system in the country on disconnect between the communities and the institutions of higher learning.
”If we are not taking development to the community we are not talking to the society. We need to start creating communities around knowledge.
“When we talk about agriculture and we are looking at food security, we need to have a community of practice for food security, not only associations of people that are experts in agriculture,’’ he said.
While emphasising the need for Nigeria to adapt to indigenous solutions to its problems, Popoola said that the country could not meet up with global economic trends due to a dysfunctional knowledge enterprise.
“Many of the solutions we are using are copy and paste. Can we start looking at adapting to indigenous solutions to our problems,’’ Popoola said.
He further said that governments should begin to embrace research outcomes in forming policies geared toward improving the lives of the citizens.
“What we are going to do is research result evidence synthesis. When you say you come up with some research results, can we synthesis some evidence and when we have that evidence can we feed it into the government.
“For example, part of what we are saying is that in drafting legislation in other parts of the world, there are issues that are technical, researchers and technical people are invited to speak to those issues.
“That does not mean that they are lawmakers but we have not seen that connection between the political class and the researchers but there are researches that are going on that are supposed to assist,’’ he said.
Popoola, however, urged Nigerians to embrace research and researchers.
“Almost everybody needs to have business in research; it is not a business for scientists alone.
“Indeed, we expect all of us to take ownership of research, it is not owned by researchers, not owned by the academia, it is owned by all of us,’’ he said.
On his part, the Chairman Board of Governors, RIKE-SD, Mansur Ahmed, said that the time was ripe for Nigeria to embrace research outcomes to solve problems.
“This is the time for us to turn inwards and ensure that sustainable development of our people originates from within us.
“Communities from different perspectives need to come together to say we need to do this together, particularly the government, private sector, the academia, industries, societies represented by various community groups must come together to decide,’’ Ahmed said.
Also, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Chairman Board of Finance Trustee, RIKE-SD, emphasised the need to institutionalise research and development in Nigeria.
He described it as the bedrock of sustainable development the country needs to move forward. (NAN) (www.nanews.ng)
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz