Vice Chancellor University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah

Vice-Chancellor’s Speech To the 2020 Researchers/Authors

On this occasion of the UofA Recognition Ceremony, I would like to say that you, our researchers and authors, have done well and deserve to be celebrated. I want all of you to know that you have been nominated for various awards because of your hard work and dedication to research and scholarship. Today I am very proud of all of you who are working day and night to achieve this academic greatness. Today is your day. You have brought in a lot of grants and money to the University. Some of you have brought state-of-the-art equipment. These are the kind of activities that should be taking place in a university in the 21st century.
This University sees you as role model to be celebrated. Let me, therefore, assure you that we shall continue to do everything possible to support and give you all that you need to win more grants.
Today, as we celebrate, you have a duty to keep on writing and doing research; collaborating with writers and researchers in other departments and institutions to come up with enriched work that would be published in high impact journals. You need to stand up to be counted as UofA Researchers and UofA Authors. Your effort towards becoming great researchers and authors should not be to seek promotion only, but also to contribute to the development of the country. It is important that you never relent on this hard work, because as an academic, you have a responsibility to probe into issues, come up with workable ideas to help solve the challenges confronting our nation. To achieve this, you would have to remain focused and never allow pecuniary gains to distract you from this noble cause. Your university, no doubt will benefit from your work, but in the end, you will be the bigger beneficiary. Your cutting edge research will help you establish good contacts, make you a well-respected authority in your chosen academic domain. And because you have distinguished yourself as an academic, researcher and author, you are seen as a reliable and strong contact point to be brought in to solve problems anytime. Every idea you contribute to solving a problem will be seen as a right step in the right direction.
I want you to know that the University of Abuja considers it a blessing to have you as its staff, and you must also be proud that this is your University. I say this because it is the destiny of this University to be the number one public university in the country, just the same way you have our president as the number one citizen of the nation. But we should not just be saying or dreaming it, we should work towards it; and greatness will be achieved by what we can do and what we do.
I would like to appeal to us all to never abandon research. Whatever situation we find ourselves, we must keep up the good work. It is abnormality for a researcher to abandon research, because the problems of humanity can’t wait and they will always need to be solved.
I thank the University Research Council for their efforts in ensuring that we have the best in research. Every day the council keeps working, and every day they keep thinking about how the University will grow, receiving proposals and helping our lecturers to develop capacity and opportunity to secure grants. Let me encourage you to reach out to the council for assistance. Write your concept note, do not say there is no money, just do your best and leave the rest to us. I want to thank the Director, Centre for Sponsored Projects, Professor Obiageli Nnodu. She and her team have been working day and night to support research in the University. Without them, and your own support, this meeting would not have been possible.
At this juncture, let me say that I have news for you. Not long ago, TETFund approved for us a Centre of Excellence in Public Governance and Leadership. This is a huge responsibility on our great University. It means that we have been called upon to nurture the leadership of this country. The nation has realized that it has a problem of governance and leadership and so has asked the UofA of Nigeria to champion this course of finding solution to our endemic leadership challenge. From now on, when people are looking for ideas to make things better, they will look towards our University. I mean whether it is even the issue of Boko haram insurgency, Executive-Legislature crises, good governance, effective public service etc, we shall be here to provide reliable strategy and solutions to those problems. We would need to mentor people to become great leaders, and we need to take charge of this responsibility. This centre must operate a world-class standard, and we will assume the position the world can judge us with.
There is another piece of information I would like to share with you. We have also got funds to boost research and provide facilities across our campus. Gone, forever, are the days when we would have no internet facility. We are negotiating with GLO Telecommunications Company to see how internet services can be accessible at the university libraries, faculties, departments, centres, hostels, everywhere. Contract has been approved for the company, and we are hopeful that they will give us good service.
In addition, we would also be providing computer laboratory so that as you walk around the campus, you can simply put in your password and work on a computer. We have already provided some money for that. I have asked the Deans to let us know where they would like to site their computer lab. We have also had one of our benefactors who promised to help us set up a computer laboratory, each, in Faculty of Management Sciences and College of Health Sciences. We intend to have 100 of these laboratories.
Moreover, we have set up a Central Laboratory Services unit, which will be in charge of all our laboratories on campus, and how they are operated and maintained. What this means is that nothing will be done without the input or approval of the unit. This is to ensure that they know exactly what is needed and how it will be used. In this unit, we have students, academic staff, technologists among others who will work to make this unit effective.
Let me also say that we have set up a Centre for Undergraduate Research. Some people think that research is only for postgraduate students. I tell you that the best universities in the world do not ignore their undergraduate students. Most Nobel Prize winners always acknowledge the role and support from their undergraduate students. This is the way it works: as you get too busy or weak, these students are the ones you will be relying on to carry out field work for you, this will also give them the opportunity to train as future researchers. You see, all of these things we are doing is not about me or the Management, it is about you, our great staff. It is you that will make this university grow, and so let us work hard to make it great. Your effort and hard work will help lift this University to enviable heights. Once again, I thank you for your efforts and I encourage you to put in research proposals that focus on resolving local and national problems. We shall always be here to support you to achieve greatness in your academic pursuit.
Thank you