Buhari, who was represented by Dr Suleiman Yusuf, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), stated this at the 31st convocation of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).
“Naturally, we rely on our universities to play a more active part especially through their research and innovation endeavours.
”We also rely on them to proffer solutions and elucidate road maps and the trajectories through which government can achieve its laudable projects,” he said.
The president urged universities to intensify their engagement with industry, particularly the Small and Medium scale enterprises(SMEs), describing them as drivers and sustainers of the economy.
According to him, meaningful research and innovation endeavour will add value and boost the contribution of SMEs to the nation’s GDP.
He noted that there was room for more result-oriented and sector -focused collaborative research dealing with specific aspects of Nigeria’s socio-economic and technological challenges and programmes.
” Government expects research-informed support of its various Initiatives and programmes.
” It is also not out of place for Nigerian universities to dedicate some of their research endeavours toward the attainment of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on each university’s comparative and competitive advantages.
” I, therefore, challenge particularly our specialised universities to double their efforts to demonstrate their relevance by contributing more significantly , through research and innovation, towards Nigeria’s attainment of SDGs,” he said.
Buhari promised that government would continue to fulfill its obligations to the universities, saying that university managers should make judicious use of available funds, NAN reports.