By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian government has indicated its readiness to commence, in September, the monitoring of the projects embarked upon by the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), nationwide.
The Minister/ Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, made this known at the weekend, while receiving in audience the management team of the University of Abuja, led by its Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Adikwu, in Abuja.
In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media to the minister, Mr. Abdulrahman A. Abdulrauf, the minister said there would be 20 academics as team members in the new spirit of creating a better synergy between the Commission and the academia, with a view to bringing integrity to the exercise. The minister stated, “Twenty members of the academia will participate in the monitoring of the federal MDAs projects across the country, with 12 coming from University of Abuja. The effort is geared towards bringing integrity to the exercise and also exposing them to the practical aspect not just the theory of what government is doing.” According to him, if the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) already ratified by the National Economic Council (NEC) was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the academia would also be involved both in the blueprint as well as the implementation plan.
Sulaiman pledged to assist the staff of Uniabuja who came to solicit his help in their quest to fix the university, by bringing development partners who would assist them in the area of grant, which they could access as well as ensure their cause would be taken to the National Assembly.
The minister further tasked them on the need to fix their distance learning programme, which he lamented has dropped in terms of students patronage and also the school’s post graduate programme.
Speaking earlier, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Adikwu, said the visit was to congratulate the minister as one of their own and solicit his assistance in fixing the infrastructure gaps, existing in the university, and also create a great university that they can boast of. He stressed the need for research to be given a prominent role in the university system, insisting that the case of Ebola virus in Nigeria would have been better managed if the universities were well equipped to carry out research.
Adikwu also stated that the role of tertiary institutions was critical, arguing that there was a direct strength of tertiary institutions of top 20 universities in the world and their economies.