Collaboration is widely described the world over as the key to the future of higher education in this new era of cooperation as no institution can fully maximize its potentials and fulfill its cardinal objectives by existing in isolation or working independently without collaborating with other institutions with shared values to achieve a common goal.
Strategic partnerships and collaboration can potentially give the needed boost in terms of strength, capabilities, and reputation of the participating institutions aside from the numerous opportunities they both present. When reputable and well-established institutions partner together, the outcome of such a formidable force helps each party to also gain more visibility and international recognition, and reposition them for greatness, among other mutual benefits.
It is in light of the above, that the Management of the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), National Assembly, Abuja on Tuesday, 25th July 2023 (today). The aim is to increase their cooperation in capacity building in the areas of legislative and democratic studies, parliamentary administration and legislative drafting, including the exchange of staff and where necessary, students, between the two Institutions, amongst other objectives.
The NILDS is a capacity-building agency of the National Assembly which provides technical and development services to the legislature and other institutions of democracy in Nigeria. Its programmes are structured towards strengthening the capacities of legislators and legislative staff through the provision of requisite research and analytical support to the National Assembly.
Giving his opening address before the signing of the documents, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, who was overwhelmed with joy for a dream come true, said that the partnership was the culmination of several strategic engagements between the officials of the two Institutions starting from 2021 when he was exploring frontiers of programmes expansion that would deepen FUL's impact, which can be achieved through the expansion of the scope and focus of the University's postgraduate training.
He said, "As an institution, we were challenged by the existing weak curriculum sync between Nigerian universities and some specialised, highly sensitive, yet ignored contemporary fields such as parliamentary and legislative studies, which require the training of expertise in order to strengthen their operations and functions. We were, therefore, motivated to introduce industry-tailored, top-notch professional programmes to fill this existing gap.
"As the premier and preeminent institution for the training of expertise in Legislative Studies and parliamentary administration, NILDS became our natural preference. Apart from enjoying the exclusive statutory and legal privilege of being the only institution with the mandate to train skilled manpower in this area, NILDS also boasts of a rich reservoir of highly qualified academics and intellectuals who can deliver on our quest."
Speaking further, Prof. Akinwumi noted that FUL Management through strategic thinking was convinced that for effectiveness and impact, the programmes need to take easy access, location, and proximity to the target prospective students into consideration. While expressing his appreciation to the Director General (DG) and the Management of NILDS for approving the partnership, the VC assured of FUL's firm commitment both to excellence in the running of the programmes under the partnership and to the terms of engagements as credible institutional entities. (Read the VC's full address here)
In his remarks also, the DG of NILDS, Prof. Abubakar O. Sulaiman stated that at a meeting held recently between the Governing Council of the Institute and the leadership of the National Assembly, the need for collaboration with a University came up and he strongly recommended FUL, and when questions were raised in objection to why Lokoja out of all the Universities, he responded that he found the University credible to partner with based on its pedigree, insisting that FUL ranks as one of the best in Nigeria.
He specially commended the resilience, doggedness, and humility of the Vice-Chancellor who despite the initial hitches remained determined, focused, and committed to the success of the cooperation. Prof. Suleiman equally thanked the Governing Council of FUL and Management for giving the necessary backing and providing the enabling environment for collaboration.
While assuring FUL Management of the Agency's readiness to make the partnership work, the DG urged them not to compromise the high standard of the Institute but ensure strict adherence to the agreements to justify the confidence reposed in them, adding that the collaboration was a golden opportunity for FUL which other Universities are craving for.
With the signing of this all-important MOU, the two Institutions have officially agreed to jointly run Ph.D. Programmes in Legislative Studies, Parliamentary Administration, Legislative Drafting, Elections and Party Politics, Constitutional Law and Constitutional Development as well as to award certificates and also collaborate in other academic matters. Both parties will ensure to promote learning and services to humanity and to produce high-quality graduates equipped with the required knowledge and skills for effective legislative service delivery and deepening of democratic culture for national growth and development.
Members of Management who witnessed the signing in Abuja included the Registrar, Dr. (Mrs.) Rebecca Aimiohu Okojie; the Provost, College of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Gbenga Ibileye; Director, Institute of Governance and Development Studies (IGDS), FUL, Prof. Rotimi Ajayi; Deputy Director, IGDS, Dr. Tosin Olagunju; and a representative of the Legal Services Unit of the University, Barr. Cynthia Esievo, amongst other officials. See more pictures here
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