The former Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe has declared that dearth of funding is not one of the major challenges that impedes innovation in Nigeria’s higher institutions and research centres.
While speaking at the financial technology conference in Lagos, Ibidapo-Obe said that it is euphemism to describe funding as a major resource that is required to build artificial intelligence.
“When you look at it seriously, it is not lack of fund. I can understand it when you say it is lack of infrastructure but definitely not lack of fund. There are certain things we can do and do very well before we begin to talk about funding”, he said.
The professor of Systems Engineering identified the ability to fire up the youth’s enthusiasm and sustain it to the extent that they would “see any glass ceiling”, is the first thing that must be recognized in creating enabling environment for innovation in artificial intelligence.
He said that universities are expected to focus on what students can do better to prepare them adequately for the market place.
“But because everybody is in a hurry in the country, teachers don’t do what they are supposed to do. Teachers may have to go back to their drawing board and start taking things very seriously so that our students can become more competitive all over the world.”
He pinpointed misalignment among various stakeholders including expert communities and policy makers to drive the growth of artificial intelligence in the country.
“Some of the challenges here is because of the nature of the country and the concept of federal character. You don’t get the best people in the decision making class. So, you can have the best thing you want to do at the level of stakeholders but if the decision makers do not have the knowledge to appreciate what is going on, things may not augur well in that space for us”, he reiterated.
Ibidapo-Obe said that there is need to create institutions that would compel young people to choose the option of attending the University of Lagos over going to Cambridge.