Knowledge key to Nigeria’s competitiveness, says Utomi
Again, founder of Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL|), Prof. Pat Okedinachi Utomi, has stressed the imperativeness of education to the development and competitiveness of any country, adding that we currently live in a knowledge economy.
He noted that it was a realisation of this that made the likes of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to empower the then Western Region through the free education policy in the 50s.
Delivering a lecture titled, “Private Universities: The Best Credible Path To True Intellectual Freedom, Innovation and National Development” at the maiden public lecture of Chrisland University, Owode, Abeokuta on Tuesday, Utomi said: “Nigeria is a populous country. It can either be a source of a time bomb or huge demographic dividends by educating the people well. As in the 50s, so it is even now. We now live in a knowledge economy. Essentially, knowledge is what determines the competitiveness of a country.”
The Professor of Political Economy submitted that advancement in knowledge was important for improving the quality of life of the citizenry and social progress in an atmosphere of freedom.
“That freedom is necessary, as we have suggested, to prevent the current dominant paradigm from blocking out a potentially better social order,” he added.
According to him the search for freedom in academics is not only a path of conflict with political order, but also often a battle against the institutions designed to advance knowledge and sometimes against self.
“The seminar work of Reinhardt Bendix, Embattled Reason, is for the most part, a critique of how the dominant paradigm of the Social Sciences Research Council in the United States affected research funding set in the early years following the end of colonial rule.”
Utomi added that just as freedom is limited by the funding traditions in the discipline, the idiosyncrasies of academics could become an impediment to freedom.
Also speaking the institution’s Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. C.D. Jacob who intimated guests with the vision and mission of the university, said: “We want to be a leading university via relevant research, excellent training and community service especially in Abeokuta.”