By Onome Oghenetega
Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru has tasked academic institutuons to become sources of “ideas and innovations” that can sustain development in Nigeria’s economy.
The NNPC boss who gave the second convocation lecture of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), in Delta state, pointed out that this will effectively, bridge the gap and facilitate productive collaboration between the academia and industries.
Stating that President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the corporation to intensify oil exploration in all corners of the country, including the inland basins, is to “boost oil and gas production and extend its benefits to Nigerians,” he expressed confidence that FUPRE will turn out graduates who will transform not only the sector, but businesses and the academia.
Describing the current relationship between the two sectors as “almost parasitic”, the GMD said ” the immediate thing is to break the barrier. What I mean is that the academia looks at itself as just to receive, when levthe industry looks at itself as a donor. At such, the isn’t a good chemistry.
“There has to be a drive by the academia to see that it is also a giver, giver of ideas, giver of education and not just receiver of research funds and grants.
“On the side of the industry, it is s to see that they are also collectors from the academia, collectors of ideas that could be commercialized, that could benefit mankind and Nigeria in particular. This is the main relationship that has to happen.
“Each party should look at this relationship and see what each is giving and what is each getting. With that neither will see the other as a parasite.”
In the lecture titled ‘The Role of Petroleum University in Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academia for Sustainable Growth and Economic Development,’ Dr. Baru explained that this gap has been the factor behind the declining innovation, low productivity and poor economic growth of the nation.
Speaking further, he disclosed that the NNPC, through it National Quiz Competition across the 774 local government areas of the federation, “started collaboration with the academia very early,” adding that it has encouraged “academic excellence”.
Earlier, Baru had commissioned the a twin Tertiary Education Trust (TET) Fund 250 capacity lecture theatre in the university.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of Administration, Professor Akii Ibhadode, has said that with the desired partnership in the pipeline, the varsity will attain soaring heights.
Represented by the deputy vice chancellor administration, Ibhadode said, “We believe that our advancement together will help us reach our goals.”
Dignitaries present at the ceremony include, managers and personnel of the NNPC and it subsidiary companies such as the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC).