Universities Blamed For Africa’s Underdevelopment

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By Steve Oni, Ilorin

The Vice -Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’ Allah has criticised  African universities for their inability to bring about the desired development in the continent.

Also, the Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Netherlands, Dr. (Mrs) Nimota Akanbi said that the Ivory Towers were not doing enough to translate their researches to product, thereby retarding the growth of the African continent.

Na’ Allah and Akanbi spoke on Monday at the opening of the U6 international conference being hosted by KWASU.

The U6 comprises six Universities from Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambian, South Africa and Kenya. The Ivory towers are collaborating on how to jointly develop the African continent through their researches.

Speaking at the ceremony, Na’ Allah blamed the universities for failing to come up with practical solutions to the myriads of problems responsible for the Africa’s underdevelopment.

He regretted that despite the growing numbers of universities in Nigeria in particular, Africans universities as a whole have failed to provide practical solutions to developmental challenges confronting the continent.

The VC said that Africans must unite and chart a common front for the continent, warning that ‘‘Africa can no longer crawl as we do, as Nigeria has the responsibility to rise up Africa’’.

He lamented that countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil that were not endowed as Africa are now competing with the industrialised nations of the world because of their unity.

Na’Allah urged the U6 members to explore the potential of the Africa’s Centre for Herbal Research established by the consortium of African universities in the University of Ilorin as one of means to providing practical solutions to challenges facing the continent.

He regretted that Nigeria that should have taken the lead was leaving on old glories, noting that since Professor Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Laurel prize in Literature in 1986, no other ones have been recorded in other disciplines.

 ‘‘What is happening to us in Africa?  If you ask me, I will say the universities are to be blamed, today we have regular and irregular universities in Nigeria ’’ the VC said.

The former Ambassador to Netherlands, Dr Nimota Akanbi said Universities must come up with different solutions to addressing the continent backwardness.

In her lead paper presented at the conference, the Director, Centre for Research and Development, University of Ilorin, Professor, Temidayo Olajide, observed that for Africa to develop the U6 must adopt multi-disciplinary approaches to their research.

She said researchers must learn how to work with people outside the universities environment, including government and private sectors for their researches to see the light of the day.