The Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA) in conjunction with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) have entered into a partnership to initiate projects and research programmes that would benefit universities and other tertiary institutions in the country.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which, was entered into during a meeting with the Chairman, Governing Board of the NNMA, Professor Shekarau Yakubu Aku FAEng, FNSE, FSESN and his TETFUND counterpart, the Executive Secretary, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro recently in Abuja is a fall out of the 2019 forum held between the agencies tagged, “The Missing Links in the 20 years of Democracy in Nigeria: Think Tanks as Catalysts for Development”.
Part of the MoU includes the establishment of a state-of-the-art library with high-tech resource to enable Nigerian scholars and researchers work on issues of national and international development.
The organization also agreed to introduce a policy research group in partnership with public universities or other TETFUND benefitting institution as approved by the NNMA for this development.
Other aspects of the agreement include the publication and distribution of compendium of ideas and strategic policies emanating from the annual forums.
A policy group to be known as the ‘Think Tank Group’ will soon be set up by the two agencies to fine tune other key areas of the MoU.
At the event, the TETFUND Chief Executive, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, assured the members of the Governing Board of the NNMA that the proposal for sponsorship as contained in the MOU has been considered and adequate funding of the proposed projects are assured.
A statement by Mr. Namadi Ibrahim
Ag. Secretary, NNMA, the Governing Board chairman, Prof. Shekarau Yakubu Aku, expressed his delight over the new consolidated affiliation between the NNMA and Tetfund. He appreciated the Executive Secretary Tetfund for the gesture, and reiterated that, “the new alliance would spring forth new wells of innovation as this marked the beginning of a new era for the NNMA”.
He noted that, for the first time, the NNMA was venturing beyond merely identifying awardees to liaising with other institutions to bring about changes in research development and technological advancement. He added that the Act guiding the NNMA permits the Agency to work hand in hand with other institutions and focusing on strategic brainstorming research by the body of laureates and intellectuals on contemporary areas of; COVID19 Pandemic and insecurity, which are key areas bedeviling the nation.
Speaking further, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro disclosed that his passion for Research and Development remains undaunted. He stated categorically that “the most competitive economies of the world are those that have placed intellectualism and education as well as productive problem solving research at the center of the instrumentality of achieving their aims and objectives”. He added that that was his major interest.
He also expressed his displeasure over the nation’s value system which is largely faulty with regards to its reward system. This has overtime resulted in individuals’ refusal to patriotically commit themselves to the common goals of our nation. In his words, “sometimes, it is mediocres that are elevated above the best. We cannot place square pegs on round holes and expect to get good results”.
He referred to the Chairman, NNMA’s speech and commended the NNMA for representing the nation’s finest. He described the Agency as the apex for what everyone aspires for. Still in reference to the chairman’s speech, The Executive Secretary pinpointed the need to move beyond identification of laureates to actually delving into positive reinforcement of more research and technological advancement.
The Executive Secretary Tefund further assured the NNMA of the many channels through which the NNMA and Tetfund can work together. He stated that the signed MOU ultimately reflects the endless opportunities available for both parties. He also added that the NNMA focused on the intervention areas, particularly in the area of the Tefund’s National Research Fund (NRF); which remains the largest research grant in Nigeria and has been raised to 7.5 billion naira. He added that 158 institutions have already been awarded grants for various projects.