By Daniel Tyokua
The minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has asked Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities to brace up for national development through the use of data.
Fashiola disclosed this on Tuesday, when Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities paid him a visit in Abuja.
He told the chancellors to channel the data in their confines to guide government, the business community and the citizenry on national development.
In a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Boade Akinola, said the minister explained that the world was chasing data, collating data and it should be used to transform the society in a positive manner.
According to the statement, “The world is chasing data, collating data, this data is sitting in our Universities, almost every lecturer ask students to write one research paper or the other. We can use this data in a useful form, to inform our government, to inform businessmen, to inform the society”
It said such information would be used in the analysis of a local government with the aim of bringing about good results.
The minister stated that the ministry had intervened in the building of roads in 44 tertiary institutions in the country under the present administration but lamented that when people criticize government on the state of roads, no University came out to inform the public on those interventions.
He described the University as an investment into the future and urged the Vice Chancellors to be discreet in the award of honourary degrees which he described as very important building blocks that should be given to only deserving people and not for those whose achievement is just the occupation of a political office.
Responding, Secretary General of the Association and leader of the delegation, Professor Yakubu Ochefu informed the Minister that the Association which was established in1962 is a platform for sharing ideas and engaging Nigerians on issues that affect the Nigerian universities.
He said the organization which had the universities of Ibadan, Lagos, Ife, Nsukka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria at inception now has 174 universities.
Ochefu who praised the Minister for his commitment to road construction and maintenance, expressed gratitude to him for the intervention of his Ministry in the building of internal road in 44 tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
He told Fashola that they were in the Ministry to seek his cooperation in their plan to produce a compendium on the forthcoming celebration of the 60th anniversary of their association in Nigeria, and his support to tackle the problems facing Nigerian universities.