Chancellor Tasks PhD Students On Innovations, To Fund Research
Young PhD graduates of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, have been given what perhaps could be the biggest challenge of their academic career, with the Chancellor of the university, Dr. David Oyedepo, urging them to come up with innovations that can solve some of the myriad of problems plaguing the society.
The Chancellor, who laid down the gauntlet at a meeting with the young PhDs, promised to make funds available to them to identify problems and find solutions.
While attributing current challenges faced by Nigeria to lack of capacity to get jobs done, Dr. Oyedepo lamented a situation whereby PhD holders, who should be finding solutions to problems, seem to lack the thinking capacity.
“I have come to provoke your potential,” he said. “There is more inside you than the earned certificate. If you cannot think out solutions to problems, your PhD is a complete waste.
“When we say Doctor of Philosophy, we are saying master of thinkers; someone committed to finding solution to life’s problems. And until our learning translates to thinking, our PhD is zero.
“There is no make-up PhD at Covenant University. The first PhD here won a Microsoft award, one out of six in the entire world. That has not excused us from a lifelong demand of being a thinker.
“All that we have done going through the rigour of PhD is to ignite our thinking capacity. It’s so important that we have what it takes to recreate our country and the world. What it takes is to make thinking our career.”
Africa, Oyedepo noted, has unusual potential, with Nigeria having more PhDs than four European countries put together. He, however, wondered why Nigeria was not getting similar result as the Europeans.
“Because we are not thinking,” said the Chancellor. “Our forefathers found crops that are culturable; they cultured their foods. They found solution to their own problems, but we are creating problems.
“The gas turbine (at CU) was not working because Shell was on strike. So why can’t students of Chemical Engineering build reserves? Why do we look at problems as if we are not concerned?”
The young PhDs, he warned, should not allow their potential be confiscated by their certificates, but be part of a thinking army to find solution to problems confronting the society.
Giving a recipe on what must be done to be able to come up with solutions to problems, Oyedepo admonished the students to have effective management of three resources at their disposal, which are Person, Time and Task.
He said: “There is nothing extraordinary on its own, it is man’s extraordinary input that makes it extraordinary. And there’s nothing mystical about excellence, it is a product of man’s tireless commitment to excellence.
“To make global impact in any field is at the cost of high level discipline. Just like continuous training is the only way to sustain impact in the field of sport; in the same vein, continuous training is a vital requirement both to generate impact and sustain relevance.”
Funding for research, the Chancellor revealed, would be made available only to the young PhD holders “because they are the future”, while modalities for accessing the funds would be made known very soon.
“You must translate your paper into product,” Oyedepo emphasized.
Aside the young PhD holders, also present at the gathering were the Vice-Chancellor Professor Charles Ayo, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Taiwo Abioye, the Registrar Pastor Olamide Olusegun among others.