He said the country had not involved academia enough in finding solutions to its problems and because of partisan politics, the economy was being managed with less than 15 per cent of its available resources.
Speaking at the sixth congregation of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Dr Ashigbey said, “if you are not part of the ruling party, you are not part of those solving our problems”.
He said politicians must invite academia and industry into thinking through and crafting solutions to the country’s socio-economic challenges.
Dr Ashigbey said the academia had also yielded space to the politicians to operate and must desist from joining any political divide so they could bring academic rigour into the discussion and proffer solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He advised that the selection of leadership in the universities must be devoid of partisan politics to allow for meritocracy to reign.
Dr Ashigbey said that would also allow those within the academic setting to also reciprocate and be seen as providing the tools, the right skills, future-ready graduates as well as relevant research to the challenges confronting the country and the African continent.
He said those in academia also had a major role to play in moving the country to evidence-based planning and decision-making, saying academia needed to do more in helping to provide evidence-based ideas and solutions that the industry could commercialise to provide goods and services to all through the synergies that had to be built.
Dr Ashigbey noted there was a new craze for titles that some supposedly respected members of society were abusing honorary doctorate degrees, adding that academia would do well for themselves and earn more respect if there was a linkage between those big academic titles and the solutions to the problems facing Africans.
He added it was very critical for the partnership to shape research, projects and theses that were done in the universities, saying industry players should offer their challenges to academia to research and partner them to commercialise their outputs which would create opportunities for industry and academia to sit and deliberate on issues facing the nation.
Dr Ashigbey underscored the research that students and faculties embark on would include solutions to challenges that currently confront the people with innovations for the future, adding that the industry should also offer their facilities like laboratories for testing some of the results of those researches.
He said as industry players contributed to the shaping of curriculum, academia should also be proactive in looking into local challenges confronting the nation and industry.
Dr Ashigbey said that would also require the government to play a facilitating role by offering some national projects and assignments to find solutions to the country’s problems to consortiums of academia and industry.