By Lucky Isibor
A Professor of Physics and Director, Center for Atmospheric Research (CAR), Prof. Rabiu Babatunde has commended Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki on the establishment of the Edo State Geographic Information Service (Edo-GIS) as well as the setting up of the Edo Innovation Hub, noting that such technology-driven solutions will position the state for economic prosperity.
Professor Rabiu gave the commendation at the maiden convocation lecture of the Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, held at the institution’s auditorium, in Usen, near Benin City.
Professor Rabiu heads the CAR, a center under the National Space Research and Development Agency, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and Kogi State University.
In a lecture entitled, “Repositioning Higher Education towards effective patronage of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development”, Prof. Rabiu commended the state government for prioritising science and technology and the deployment of technology to enhance governance.
According to him, “I commend the Edo State Government for its scientific approach to governance which is manifested in the administration’s adoption of ICT-based reform initiatives in the state’s civil service, revenue collection and data-driven governance.
“Of note is the establishment of the Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) on the 1st of August, 2017 by Governor Godwin Obaseki for effective lands administration, management, registrations, geo-mapping and surveys, in Edo State.
On the Edo Innovation Hub, he said, “The Edo Innovation Hub which hosts the South-South Innovation Hub, was commissioned in June this year by this present administration and became the first state tech hub in the country. Already, the tech hub has completed the training of 724 entrepreneurs in less than three months of operation and has now drawn up a sustainability plan that will see the private sector drive activities at the cluster. These and other technology-based initiatives of the government have surely positioned the state for economic explosion and sustainable development.”
Explaining that there is need for close synergy between higher institutions of learning in the state to fully harness their capacity to develop human capital, Prof. Rabiu said, “Edo state polytechnic should be able to mount a Higher National Diploma (HND)-Bachelor conversion programme of 18-month duration (four semesters) in collaboration with University of Benin (UNIBEN) or Ambrose Alli University.
“Such programme will serve as remedial programme and award B.Sc, B.A or B.Eng to qualified students in a bid to equip the beneficiaries for greater productivity.”
While emphasising the need for the Polytechnic to meet the needs of the society, Prof. Rabiu said, “mount new programmes to meet the urgent and contemporary needs of the society” and made a case for the “Introduction of entrepreneurship courses as compulsory component of every programme run in our higher institutions at all levels.”
“Our higher institutions should be able to share human resources via virtual learning technology. For instance, Edo State Polytechnic can share human resources with Ambrose Alli University and UNIBEN. This may, however, require establishment of memoranda of understanding with the appropriate parties,” he submitted.