By Grace Alegba
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Thursday said for Nigeria to experience sustainable growth, the academia and industries must partner to commercialise research for local content development.
NSE made the call during the combined physical/virtual 12th Olu Awoyinfa distinguished Annual Public Lecture and induction of new members organised by the Ikeja Branch of the society.
The theme for the event was: “Key Factors to Qualitative Local Content Development: Educational and Industrial Synergy.”
The key note speaker, Prof. Jeremiah Ojediran, a member of NSE and Vice Chancellor, Bell University of Technology, Ota, said collaboration by the academia and industries was needed to reduce brain drain and capital flight.
Ojediran said the greatest disaster that befell Nigeria was the scrapping of technical colleges, which brought about the dearth of skills, loss of innovative capacity and over reliance on foreign goods.
He said the government must evolve policies targeted at driving technical and vocational education, as well as industries and the academia coming together to promote research and development for sustainable growth of Nigeria.
“If we actually want to be free from poverty, scarcity and unemployment rocking our nation in the midst of enormous resources, technical oriented institutions should be adequately and equitably equipped,” he said.
He advised industry operators and the academia to set aside their ego to work together for Nigeria to grow its manufacturing capability because industry could ensure the commercialisation of research works.
“Therefore, under any guise, we must reiterate boldly the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a key factor for promoting the synergy between educational institutions and industries, which will dovetail into local content development with intrinsic benefits to national economic development,” he said.
He described late Awoyinfa as a champion of technical and vocational education who co-founded the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers with his impact still being felt in various engineering fields.
The guest speaker, Mrs Agnes Asagbra, Acting Director General/CEO, Federal Institute of Industrial Research (FIIRO), listed the importance of technical and vocational training as well as efforts of FIIRO to bridge the gap.
Asagbra, represented by Mr Wahab Ashiru, a director in FIIRO enumerated the importance of Local Content Development to the nation’s economy, stating that FIIRO had already begun a tripartite relationship with industries and the academia.
She added that one of the ways FIIRO was reducing capital flight was value addition to commodities to promote local content.
Chairman of the Ikeja branch of NSE, Mr Olutosin Ogunmola, said his branch had also entered into partnership with FIIRO and the Nigerian Railway Corporation to begin local production of spare parts for trains to reduce importation.
Ogunmola announced that the tripartite working group would be formally inaugurated in NRC on the 16th of June in addition to Ikeja NSE’s innovative fair coming up next week to showcase outstanding researches for adoption by industries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Olu Awoyinfa, a former chairman of the Ikeja Branch of NSE died in August 2017 at the age of 75. (NAN)