Reps laud TETFUND for promoting research, innovations amongst Nigerian students, youth

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as Kalu calls for more innovative hubs in S/East

Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has been applauded by the House of Representatives for championing creative researches and establishing innovative hubs for the promotion of science and technology education amongst Nigerian students and youth.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of a two-week cohort learning for some select Nigerian students, researchers and academia at the Abuja Innov8 Hub over the weekend, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu said the Parliament would continue to support creative activities that tended to develop the minds of Nigerian youth with innovations, such as the one undertaken by the TETFund.

Termed “Research for Impact Initiative (R4i)”, the programme is a collaborative endeavour by TETFund and Innov8 Hub, launched in year 2022, to usher in a new era of innovation, technology, research and development in Nigeria with the aim to spur economic growth and comprehensive national development.

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In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Levinus Nwabughiogu, Kalu said: “The House is interested in providing solutions to the hydra headed needs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It has also come to our mind that, the problems that we are trying to solve year-in, year-out, using the usual tradition, has not given us the expected level of production in this country, therefore, the call for innovation that will challenge tradition, to increase production; that call cannot be overemphasized”.

The Deputy Speaker said that in today’s rapidly evolving world, innovation is no longer a luxury but a necessity, stressing that it is the key to unlocking economic growth, tackling complex challenges, and building a brighter future for the youth and generations to come.

“For Nigeria, this need for innovation is even more crucial. We face numerous challenges, from unemployment and poverty to security threats and climate change. To overcome these obstacles and achieve sustainable development, we must unleash the immense potential of our people, particularly our young minds brimming with creative ideas and
entrepreneurial spirit.

“This is where initiatives like the Innov8 Hub by i-FAIR come into play. By providing mentorship, resources, and collaboration platforms, these programs empower our innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into tangible solutions”, Kalu added.

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The Deputy Speaker also acknowledged the role of the Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria and the Israeli community, in “partnering with Nigeria in this crucial endeavor. Your commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria is truly commendable, and we, as a nation, deeply appreciate your support”.

He said that it is the lot of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Nigeria to innovate for the good of the country even as he expressed joy that TETFund is planning to expand the hub and provide the needed platforms for innovation.

“The President (Tinubu) believes that we need to innovate. Nigeria believes that we need to innovate. That is why every agency of government, such as TETFund, has been given all that is needed to push innovation from where this administration met it, to where it ought to be. And I’m happy, speaking from the parliament, that the man who is driving it is my good friend, he is not sleeping, he is interested in pushing. I’m proud of you. I’m really proud of you!

“You are thinking outside the box, how we can build this nation, not by doing the usual, but by considering the possible and fighting the impossible elements, so that the possibility will be showcased to make our lives easier. I’m proud of the work you are doing and you should do some more.

“And I know when I heard what you said in that speech that you are planning to multiply this, I was impressed. When I heard you are planning to even incorporate those who innovated outside this hub, that you will provide a platform for them; I was very impressed, because, by so doing, you will harvest innovations you have not invested in, and then prune it for a greater future”, Kalu told TETFund.

The Deputy Speaker also called for the establishment of such innovation hubs across the South East region of Nigeria, to mitigate the impacts of insecurity and underdevelopment, which is part of the programs being undertaken by the Peace in South East Project (PISE-P).

“Furthermore, this initiative can be strategically linked to the Peace in South
East Project (PISE-P), a comprehensive program ideated by my office in collaboration with legislators from South East Nigeria aimed at addressing socio-economic challenges and fostering peace in the region. By engaging young people in innovation and entrepreneurship, we can provide them with meaningful alternatives to violence and instability, contributing
significantly to lasting peace and development.

“Therefore, I call upon i-FAIR to consider establishing a similar facility in the
South East of Nigeria. This region, renowned as our nation’s manufacturing hub, presents immense potential for harnessing innovation and
entrepreneurship”, he stressed.

Earlier in his speech, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono said the initiative is part of the Fund’s strategy to reposition public tertiary institutions as a catalyst for national rebirth to a knowledge economy for socio-economic development.

He appreciated Innov8 for partnering TETFund to propagate and advance an innovation ecosystem in Nigeria’s tertiary education sphere, saying the role of the firm in providing the technical expertise needed to bring the ideas of participants to life is highly commendable.

Highlights of the event included the presentation of certificate of participation to participants in the 2-week training; exhibition of group works innovated during the period as well as conducting the Deputy Speaker round the facilities to appreciate many creative activities ongoing at the hub.

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