Synergy between the Academics, the policy makers and the public is sine qua non of functional entrepreneurial development in Nigeria.
” A situation where researchers and public institutions, spend so much time, energy and public resources, thinking,researching and developing solutions and then those of us at the policy making levels are not aware, so by the time they are done and they bring it to us, because we are not part of the process, its very difficult to plug and place some of these solutions”
These were the words of the Chief Whip of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mr Tunde Olatunji when he paid a working visit on the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Development Studies, IFEDS, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile Ife.
Mr Olatunji had visited the Institute to explore the possibility of collaboration with the centre in developing functional and sustainable empowerment programmes for the teeming unemployed youths in his constituency and the state in general.
Mr Olatunji noted that over the years, political office holders, determined to reduced poverty among their people, had invested huge resources on empowerment initiatives, but with such programmes failing within a short period, because such ideas merely falls into the category of “social intervention programmes”, but erroneously conceived as ” empowerment.
The legislator believed such Programmes experienced abysmal failure because of lack of intellectual flavour in their conception and implementation, due to the obvious disconnect between public research and academic institutions and the implementing stakeholders.
It is his submission therefore, ” that its high time academics realised that the measure of prowess and rigour put into research activities are not the same with that of public service where numerous issues demand attention at the same time”.
He also added that leadership in the public sector and the academics would often not see issues from the same perspectives, because of their varying recruitment processes. “While recruitment process of leadership in the academics is institutionalized, that of the public is challenged all over Africa” in public service, certain level of competence in any field is not a criteria for leadership, but the wish of the people, which is the cornerstone of democracy “
The Assembly whip pointed out that the challenge of unemployment in the country had made it imperative to train people in solution creation entrepreneurship so as to create jobs and wealth for people, a development which is only possible through a knowledge based skill acquisition programme.
Mr Olatunji charged the Institute to develop a workable model as a road map to a renewed partnership with policymakers, promising his readiness and that of the state of Osun government’s readiness to providing the needed political support.
In a reaction, the Director of the Institute, Professor Isaac Abereijo lauded the lawmaker’s disposition to partnering with IFEDS to raise young persons with skills that could create wealth.
Similarly, one of the facilitators in the Institute, Doctor Catherine Akinbami described the passion of the Chief Whip as unusual, as many politicians didn’t even see the potentials in the institute or approach them to develop a workable entrepreneurship plan.
Doctor Akinbami noted that with abundance of natural and human resources in Nigeria, the country should have nothing to do with hunger.