Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo has declared that Nigeria cannot afford to fail her people and the international community in the task of advancing the course of development on the African continent.
Speaking through the Senior Technical Assistant to the President on Economic Matters, Akin Sowetan, at a round table conference on strategic think tanks in Nigeria organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) the Vice President challenged the nation’s think tank institutions to put on their thinking caps and engage policy makers on issues of democratic governance that will drive development in the country.
The think tank institutions include the Nigeria Institute for Social and Economic Reserch (NISER), Nigeria Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), National Judicial Institute (NJI), Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
The Vice President said the performance of think tank institutions in the country has not been quite encouraging with some of them falling short of playing the crucial, critical pivotal role of championing development through indept research and innovative thinking, especially the ones that provide government with intellectual support through rich policy advice.
Although he said some of their performances has been great, he told them that think tanks remain important tools for mobilising ideas and actions that influence the public policy processes especially for stimulating public debates and offering creative and practical solutions for tackling remote governance challenges that we face.
According to him, think tank institutions that are committed to social change continuously question and adapt existing models to respond to and address development challenges. They provide platforms where ideas are being developed, nurtured and harvested by government.
He said: “The processes of formulating alternative policy choices as well as harnessing the human resources that comes with them is normally done through rich and functional institutions ne of which is the think tank around the country.
Nigeria realized this long ago hence the establishment of some strategic institutions to look at different aspects our national lives.”
He said further that “if the government saw a pertinent need to establish a strategic level think tank institution as far back as independence, the need has even become more pertinent now because the world has become more dynamic with human challenges that government need to respond to in an informed manner.
“Operating in today’s world requires countries to adopt a knowledge driven approach which is founded on the active participation of its intellectual base where think tanks operates. While government has been making efforts to move with the trend, it becomes more pertinent for the institutions that provide the input to decision making should reflect on their role and decide on how to move forward.