Administration

WELCOME REMARKS

BY

 JONATHAN MELA JUMA, mni

Ag. DIRECTOR-GENERAL

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POLICY AND STRATEGIC STUDIES (NIPSS), KURU

AT

THE GRADUATION CEREMONY OF PARTICIPANTS

OF SENIOR EXECUTIVE COURSE (SEC) NO 39, 2017

OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR POLICY AND STRATEGIC STUDIES (NIPSS), KURU,

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017

 

Your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Your Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, the Vice-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Your Excellency, the Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon (Barr.) Simon Bako Lalong and other Governors here present,

The Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs here present,

Chief of Staff to the President and Special Advisers,

Heads of Para-Military Organisations,

The Gbong Gwom Jos, His Majesty, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, CON,

Management, Staff and Graduating Participants of the National Institute,

Gentlemen of the Press,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

  1. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Graduation Ceremony of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 39, 2017 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru. The National Institute is Nigeria’s apex Institution for policy research and training.  It was established 39 years ago to serve as “a high level centre for reflection, research and dialogue.” To achieve its mandate, the Institute conducts courses for top level policy makers and executors.  It also conducts public policy research, all geared towards the establishment of a better Nigerian society.

 

  1. The flagship training programme of the National Institute is the Senior Executive Course. Participants on the Course are drawn from the Armed Forces, the Police, Para-military and other security agencies, Federal and State Civil Services, Professional Bodies, Women Societies and the Organised Private Sector. Participants from the military must be of the rank of Colonel or equivalent in other services. Those from the Police and Para-military must have attained the rank of Commissioner and Comptroller respectively. Those from Federal Civil Service, should not be below a Director and those from the States must have attained the position of Permanent Secretary.   Participants from the private sector must be chief executive officers or very senior managers in their organisations.

 

  1. The objective of the Course is to expand the outlook and perspective of the Participants and to stretch their conceptual capacity and quality of discernment and analysis. In this respect, the Course seeks to improve the overall performance of Participants in their different professions, as well as prepare them to appreciate short and long term national planning processes.

 

  1. Every year, Mr. President approves a particular theme on an issue of national importance for the Course Participants to research into and make recommendations based on their findings. The theme for SEC 39, 2017, as approved is “Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria.” Your Excellency, the theme was structured into six sub-themes, namely:
  2. Understanding Science, Technology & Innovation (STI), Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries;
  3. Historical Development of STI, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria;
  • STI Frameworks for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria;
  1. Impact of STI on the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria;
  2. Issues and Challenges of STI for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria; and
  3. Strategies for the Development of Agriculture and Agro-Allied Industries in Nigeria through STI.

 

  1. These sub-themes were located within the NIPSS extant Course Modules which encompass subjects such as leadership, policy and strategy; understanding the Nigerian State; Science, Technology and Innovation; economic and management studies; international relations; defence and security; and peace and conflict studies. The curriculum for the Senior Executive Course is broad-based, rich, elastic, flexible and well-suited to engage any theme in any sector that Mr. President may direct Participants to focus on. Most importantly, Your Excellency, the resource persons and course facilitators are usually drawn from among the best within and outside Nigeria.

 

  1. Besides the lectures, the Senior Executive Course also has a field component, which sees Participants engage in various study tours within Nigeria, Africa and outside the African continent. The States and countries of visit within and outside Nigeria are determined on the basis of the theme of the Course. The essence of the study tours is to enable participants to interact with critical stakeholders in the sector of their focus with a view to generating key information that will help them in addressing the demands and expectations of their course theme.

 

  1. Participants of SEC 39 toured 12 States in Nigeria, namely; Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau and Taraba.  The African countries visited are Tanzania, Morocco, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa; and those outside Africa are Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, Indonesia, Israel, and Thailand. The Participants also visited key Strategic Institutions in the country that are relevant to the theme.

 

  1. It is important to note that the Course is also designed to ensure active participation in group work and full engagement in individual work through Course assignments such as Challenging Career Experience, Individual Essays, Group Reports and Individual Research Projects. Inculcation of strategic skills in Course Participants to be able to respond to emergencies and crisis situations is also part of the Course curriculum. This is achieved through a one-week intensive Crisis Game that is part of the Course Module on Peace and Conflict Studies.

 

  1. I am pleased to report, Your Excellency, that the Participants of SEC 39 have been well-equipped, through rigorous and intensive research and training, to contribute to government’s economic diversification policy and programme. I therefore, wish to formally congratulate the Participants for their doggedness, courage, hard work and team spirit throughout the period of the Course.

 

  1. Your Excellency let me place on record the generosity of SEC 39 Participants, both as a group and as individuals, in donating various items to meet evident-needs in the community. As a legacy project, Senior Executive Course 39 refurbished the Institute’s Printing Press hall and donated a Digital Suite containing direct imaging printing machines.  This will greatly facilitate the publishing effort of the Institute.  Furthermore, the SEC commissioned a Hall of Fame located in the Library, which will showcase personalities and issues of historical significance to the Institute.  Beyond the Institute, the SEC has also donated a water borehole with accompanying reticulation to the Kuru community.  The project will alleviate water problems, particularly in the Berom community secondary school.  This gesture will certainly cement further, the cordial relationship existing between the Institute and it immediate host.  It will also improve the health status of the Kuru community, through provision of clean portable water.  We have received generous gifts from individual Participants, notably construction of Gazebo huts for relaxation, a golf pavilion, vital hospital equipment for our Medical Centre, and audio visual aid equipment.  We are grateful for these acts of generosity and goodwill by the Participants.

 

  1. Still on donations, I will also like to thank the Alumni Association of the National Institute and the Federal Road Safety Commission for assisting us to acquire vital kitchen equipment. This gesture has gone a long way to alleviate problems of obsolete and dilapidated equipment in the NIPSS Restaurant and will help the Hospitality Services Department serve future courses better.  We also appreciate the Nigeria Labour Congress for refurbishing the Participants Car Park through provision of longspan roof covers.  The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has also recently donated 50 computers and accessories under the Tertiary Institution Knowledge Centre Project.  We remain very grateful for all these acts of generosity.

 

  1. Let me use this opportunity to thank the Government and good people of Plateau State in general and our host, the Kuru community, in particular for the cordial relationship that has existed between us. Management appreciates the goodwill and immense support of the Plateau State Government to the National Institute over the years, which has facilitated a peaceful and quiet atmosphere conducive for research, training and reflection. I also want to appreciate the leadership of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI) for ensuring that the interests of the National Institute are promoted and protected at all times. We sincerely appreciate AANI’s role in the campaign to ensure the National Institute is accorded its proper recognition in national affairs.

 

  1. The National Assembly, through the Senate and House Committees on Inter-Governmental Affairs, which have oversight responsibilities over the National Institute, has been very supportive. We appreciate and will continue to cherish the cordial relationship between the Institute and the National Assembly.
  2. Your Excellency, let me place on record the immense support of the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the National Institute. His Excellency, the Vice President, despite his very tight schedules, has always paid special and vibrant attention to the affairs of the National Institute. The recent approval for payment of Peculiar Allowance to our Research Staff has greatly boosted their morale and has resulted in higher productivity.  Most importantly, the role of the Office of the Vice President in the ongoing effort to amend the NIPSS Act to give it greater focus and impact, is another demonstration of the government’s determination to place the National Institute on an enviable height in contributing to national development.

 

  1. While I do not intend to bore you with the numerous challenges that confront the National Institute, please permit me, Your Excellency, to draw your attention to critical human resource gaps in the Institute. In particular, the Directorate of Studies, which is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the Senior Executive Course, urgently needs the services of senior, experienced and reputable academics and bureaucrats to join the Directing Staff team.  We, acknowledge the appropriate steps taken to actualise this and hope that action would be concluded by the end of this year to enable us commence the next course with the full complement of directing staff.  Secondly, the National Institute premises is littered with dilapidated infrastructure, especially staff housing and operational vehicles and equipment. We will, therefore, be very grateful, if Your Excellency would approve special financial intervention to address the replacement of operational vehicles and the rehabilitation of vital infrastructure.

 

  1. Once again, I welcome you all. While I wish you a pleasant and joyful graduation ceremony, it is my sincere prayers that God will take you back to your respective destinations, peacefully.

 

  1. Thank you very much.