Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja inaugurated the Board of Trustees for the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies’ Endowment Fund.
Speaking during the occasion, Osinbajo said hydra-headed challenges at national and global levels, such as poverty, inequality, and global warming alongside a world that is increasingly defined by technology, would require profound thinking and planning.
He said: “I believe that NIPSS and what we are trying to constitute today is one that will have to plan, predict and interpret the trends of the coming years. And those trends will be many”.
According to the Vice President, one of the various challenges that the world would face apart from food security, is the huge problem of poverty on a scale that appears to be increasing all across the world.
“And at the same time this is a world that is moving very quickly on technology, as a matter of fact, the world is moving literarily on technology steroids, it is moving so quickly that it is possible, if we are not at the cutting edge, to be left behind. And also, there will be problems (as we are seeing already) of Climate Change and all the implications for the future of our planet and the socio-economic circumstances of the world, and in particular, developing countries and of course, Nigeria”, he added.
Tasking the new Board of Trustees and the Institution to take up the challenge of finding solutions to contemporary issues, Prof. Osinbajo said, “NIPSS has before it an opportunity to become one of the leading and foremost thought leaders in the world in the next few years, I think that there is a real opportunity now to do so”.
On reliance on the government’s budgetary allocations alone to fund the Institution’s research, Prof. Osinbajo said, “we cannot have an institution of the importance of NIPSS that rely solely on government funding. It is almost absurd that the foremost Think-Tank in Nigeria will be run like a civil service institution”.
The Vice President expressed confidence in the ability of the Chairman and members of the Board to take on the task ahead, adding that it was expected that the Board of Trustees would, aside from everything else, lead in looking for the resources that would put NIPSS in the position to be able to face the challenges of the future.
Responding, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, lauded the commitment of the Vice President, particularly in handling national assignments.
He said: “I must commend the openness of the VP with me on national issues, he (the VP) never shies away to lead from the front when dealing with issues of national importance.”
The Sultan commended the VP and the NIPSS management for finding them worthy to serve, assuring that “we will not fail this nation in this assignment given to us, I can attest to the capability of every member of the Board and I know we will put in our best.”
The Sultan pledged to support the present management of the institution to uplift its standards to the highest level compared to the Council for Foreign Relations in the US, the UK’s Chattam House, reassuring that “we will work very hard and hit the ground running.”
He however urged authorities to put in place a framework that would guarantee continuity beyond the present management of the institution, noting that efforts of the Board must be sustained for the goal of reforming the institution to be achieved.
While Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar chairs the board of the Endowment Fund, other members present at the inauguration were the Gbom Gwom Jos, Chief Jacob Buba Gyang; the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III; Chairman of Nigeria Communication Commission, Prof. Adeolu Akande; legal luminary, Yusuf Alli, SAN; Chairman of Overt Energy, Chief Marc Wabara; UNESCO Ambassador, Prof. Hilary Inyang and Mrs. Sarah Jibril.
The other members of the Board, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiola; Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, and Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, were absent at the inauguration.