Fashola Inaugurates First Of Its Kind State Research And Development Council With N200m Start-Up Grant
• "Research and development will define our lives in many ways", he says
Sep 24, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday inaugurated the Lagos State Research and Development Council asserting that research and development would define the lives of citizens in more ways than they could possibly perceive.
Speaking at a short inaugural ceremony at the Conference Room of the Lagos House, Alausa, Governor Fashola told the 10-member Council that the objective behind Government's initiative was to establish a nucleus of research and development personnel who it feels have the capacity to develop something that could help the State and the country.
"As a Government we want to get people who we feel have the capacity and probably move from there to probably a board for the expression of interest in developing something that can help this State, that can help this country and we help you fund it. We think the community will be better for it", the Governor said.
Noting that there is a disconnect between the society and the universities or what he termed "the town and the gown", Governor Fashola expressed dismay that Nigeria has become a destination for mosquito nets which she does not manufacture whereas it is possible for her citizens to eradicate Malaria and mosquitoes in the country.
"I have been personally challenged about how, perhaps, we cannot eradicate Malaria and mosquitoes in this country when such was achieved during the construction of the Panama Canal. We are just a destination for mosquito nets that we do not manufacture and so many other things", the Governor said.
Throwing more light on the reasons that informed the establishment of the Council, the Governor said, "One of the things that came to our attention is that there is lack of grants for research to the universities, Scientists and lecturers there are frustrated. They have ideas but they cannot fund it".
"You see young men and women that have good ideas but there is no finance to take them up. We import everything. We train men in Science, Medicine, Technology and Engineering and that is where it stops", the Governor said adding, "What we are starting today may not be enough but for us it will be a proud beginning".
He said the idea of establishing a research and development council for the State underscored the focus and objective of his administration "as a Government driven by methods so that whatever policies and programmes we decide to implement will not be just what came our way but what we are convinced by empirical evidence that they are necessary for the people of Lagos State".
"So at the heart of this Government has been a process of research and innovation from the beginning and you will see this in many of the day-to-day decisions that we have taken in many sectors of our public life", Governor Fashola said.
Such innovations, the Governor listed, include that of shifting tasks done in the conversion of graduates in various disciplines into teachers in critical subjects like English Language and Mathematics in the State's public schools, the inauguration of our Graduate Health Volunteers Scheme recently to provide support to doctors and nurses in primary healthcare and advocacy in preventive healthcare in the State.
According to the Governor, in establishing the Council, "we also expect to attract like-minded individuals here and there who are interested to put their money in research but are looking for a structure and vehicle in which to do so. So we will be able to rouse support and funding through grants and endowments".
Pointing out that the underpinning philosophy behind the formation of the Council was that it is better to start doing something than to perpetually worry about whether we will catch up with the advancement in technology, the Governor told the Council members, "We look up to you as individuals who want to move on, write new theories and take us to our next Nobel Prize".
"We want to be able to openly approach you and say, look, if we have this, I can do that and you set the parametres for qualification, for measurement, what the gains are", the Governor told the Council members, adding that the Government was currently researching into the economic impact of parties in the State with the aim of using those parties to create jobs.
"It is already creating jobs for hair dressers, fashion designers and others, but we are looking at what more we can get out of it. These are the kind of things that will come your way", the Governor explained adding that the Council members were free to choose their own chairman and their modus operandi.
In his remarks after the inauguration, a Council member, Professor Akinyinka Omigbogun, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynacology, University of Ibadan, expressed pleasure in the idea of the Council describing it as a worthwhile venture.
According to him, "If there is anyway universities can make any impact in any society apart from teaching, it is research. This is what drives development". He said he accepted to participate "because I see the record set by the Governor in the development of the State and because he is a person to be trusted", adding that one of the ways to consolidate the development going on in the State was through research.
Another member, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo of the Department of Public Law, University of Lagos, in his own remark, reiterated that there has been a disconnect between the Academia and the society adding that the society has, as a result, found itself thirsty in the midst of water.
Blaming this situation principally on the long period pof Military interregnum in the country, Professor Oyewo declared, "We need to take this opportunity, we need to seize it to correct this anomaly".
Another member and a representative of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Reverend Isaac A. Agoye, expressed joy that the Association was made part of the Council adding that it would further facilitate the bridging of the gap between universities and the society.
In her contribution, another member and Deputy Director Training, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Headquarters, Abuja, Mrs. Eugenia Abu, thanked the Governor for the idea of the research Council saying, "We have brilliant people in our Universities but research has been hindered by funding. It is important that Humanities become Science and Science Humanities".
Other members of the Council include Professor Wale Oke, Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ibadan, Professor A.O.K Noah, Faculty of Education LASU, Ojo, Professor Olumide Olusanya, Faculty of Environmental Science, Department of Architecture, University of Lagos, Mr. Rotimi Fashola, an Agronomist and coordinator of "Rice for Jobs' Initiative and Ms Moji Rhodes, Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor's Office and Head of Secretariat for the Council.
Members of the State Executive Council present at the occasion included Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Lanre Babalola, Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pension, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase and Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Adebiyi Mabadeje among other top government functionaries.