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Osinbajo highlights collaboration between Universities, Philanthropy as he commissions Adebutu Auditorium In UI, SDGs at UCH

When private philanthropy is combined with public good especially in higher education, the impacts are far reaching, and the benefits are for everyone, according to…

When private philanthropy is combined with public good especially in higher education, the impacts are far reaching, and the benefits are for everyone, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this at the commissioning of the N350 million KAAF Auditorium, Department Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics, at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.

He also spoke at the University College Hospital in the same town where he commissioned significant rehabilitation projects.

According to the Vice President, the commissioning at the University of Ibadan highlighted two important things – “relevant ideation, research and teaching, and the power of philanthropy in supporting development ideas.”

Noting that “the most advanced nations on earth have the best universities,” Prof. Osinbajo said “they all indeed have traditions of investment in research, and the best examples are those countries where private and public investment in education is robust. Research in those best practice countries is directed at solving health, technology, engineering, and a myriad of societal problems.”

He added that beyond just being called an ivory tower, the university is the place where the best ideas and solutions are produced and finetuned for use of the public.

“We must now engage with government and the public sector so that relevant research must benefit our people.

“We now have to hone research in public health nutrition, nutrition and agriculture linkages. We must pay attention to food fortification, Nigeria has the local capacity to manufacture Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF); energy, vitamins and mineral rich foods used to treat severe acute malnutrition in the country.

“We also have the potential to produce enough RUTF for the whole of Africa. And the projections are that the price of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods is projected to increase. We must research the cheaper options and formulas and I am aware that the department played a pivotal role in the National Food Consumption and Micronutrient Survey and is a Centre for Excellence for Food Composition in Nigeria. We must now engage with government and the public sector so that relevant research must benefit our people.”

The Vice President commended the work already done in food fortification by food manufacturing partners such as Dangote and BUA, even as he urged them to consider funding research in this area too.

Speaking on the significance of private philanthropy driven by public good, the Vice President observed that, “the most advanced nations on earth, especially liberal democracies, have traditions of private philanthropy contributing massively to the development of universities and research.”

Also highlighting collaboration between government and private sector/philanthropy in developing education and other sectors, the VP stated that “Government budgets alone can hardly scratch the surface of our numerous developmental needs.

“Private capital must kick-in and positively directed philanthropy is the best course to take. But the coming together of philanthropy and the needs of universities requires forward looking individuals who understand this synergy.

“The best universities in the world, some of the universities that are doing well are the universities where there is aggressive fundraising. Many of the best universities – Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, all have departments dedicated solely to aggressive marketing of the universities.

“There has to be aggressive marketing, no government in the world can ever fund universities to the extent that is required, it has to be aggressively marketed. It is the private money that sustains universities,” the VP added.

Speaking further, Prof Osinbajo observed that “Private individuals in developing countries have several causes and people daily making requests of them, so the university must be aggressive in sourcing for philanthropists.”

As the VP noted, “a whole active, well resourced department in the university to chase-up donors is the best practice,” and then commended “the efforts of Prof Tola Atinmo who pioneered the request to Chief Kensington Adebutu in 2012 and Dr Oladejo Thomas Adepoju who, in 2018 as the acting Head of Department, continued the plans and showed the donor the initial drawings and estimates.”

According to the VP, while lauding Chief Adebutu’s philanthropic contributions to the building and education development, said, “in my conversations with him, you can tell that his concerns are about national development, education, public healthcare etc. And I know that this sort of support for education is exactly what he loves to do. I am glad that he has continually set the pace in supporting human capital development through his huge donations.”

Highlighting the significance of the Kensington Adebunkunola Adebutu Foundation, KAAF Auditorium, Department Of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in UI, the Vice President recalled the efforts of the Nutrition Council of Nigeria, which he chairs, in addressing the challenges of human nutrition in the country in the last three years.

“Malnutrition and food insecurity make it harder for children to learn and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce. But worse is the mental and physical stunting. Imagine a generation of adults who suffer arrested physical and mental health, and the social and economic burden on their families, their communities and the nation. Imagine the implications of approximately 50% of Nigeria’s population being at risk of irreversible mental and physical stunting if we do not get it right? So I think the work of this foremost nutrition department is well cut out for it.”

Also speaking at the formal commissioning of the rehabilitated parts of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the Vice President noted that “the comprehensive rehabilitation and furnishing of the hospital will guarantee effective service delivery to poor and vulnerable Nigerians. It will equally reduce out-of-pocket expenditure at the point of service delivery.”

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