‘Educational Institutions have fared well in terms of Research’. This submission was made by Professor Lateef Sanni, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development) and immediate past Governing Council Chairman, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora while fielding questions from reporters in his office in Abeokuta.
Professor Sanni pointed out that research works in Nigeria are enormous and solid. In his words, “when people say we are not doing research, it is because they lack information on our research works.
“When I travelled around Africa as a research expert on behalf of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), doing a catalogue on equipment manufactured, I found equipment manufactured by Federal Institute of Industrial Research in Oshodi in Ghana. I also found Cassava Peeler, made by Professor Odigbo, a retired Professor from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In fact, they are using an upgrade of this Cassava peeler in Taminadu, India for Tapioca.
“In 2008, I was the C.G Centre award winner as the Best Technology Developer in Africa. Afterall, I did not come from the moon, some people taught me.
“The output of our research has launched so many of us as Nobel Laureate in Africa. However, the problem we have is that there is no one to document the research work.
“Another problem is how to scale up and transfer these technologies from the laboratories to farmers and processors. The opportunity is not there for most researchers to scale up the developed technologies for commercial purposes. If you have opportunity to travel far and round the continents in the world, you will marvel at what we have done.
“For instance, I can list thousands of farmers and hundreds of processor who have benefited from production or post-harvest technologies in cassava in Nigeria and Africa through Universities like Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, IITA, National Resources Institute in UK, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure and Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology, Igboora (OYSCATECH ) which has also joined us.
“Unfortunately for us, our intellectual property rights is very weak in Nigeria. Often, People say go and patent and I keep wandering, who is that regulator that will make sure nobody copies my Technology and if I approach the court, how am I sure that I will win. That is one of the reasons why it appears as if we are not doing any research.
“For instance, the Pando yam machine emanated from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and the University of Ibadan. But now, the Chinese are the ones distributing it back to us in commercial quantities. Our colleagues in other places would refurbish our works and then sell it back to us. Imagine, one University in the United States of America is now selling bitter leave capsules to us in Africa telling us it can cure this or that.
According to him, the strategies to use for the promotion of research in varsities include; documentation, promotion,commercialization and how to make farmers adopt innovations.
He added that Nigerians, most especially, philanthropist, investors and the private sectors must rise up to the challenge of providing funds for research and documentation.
He explained that Nigerians should take a queue from Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which happens to be the first and leading funding agency in agriculture and health.
Sanni, lamented, “why can’t we have the private sectors like Dangote and Elumelu as number one donor in agricultural solutions, transfer, dissemination and commercialization in Nigeria and Africa.