Bogoro’s Focused Leadership At TETfund:  Two Years On – By Ibrahim Fatai

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It was Dido, an American Philosopher, who once posited that, “A man that conquers his word, is he who says I will do and he does what he said.”
Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro on his reinstatement two years ago as the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) while addressing TETfund staff made a solemn pledge when he said, “My reinstatement was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria and I pledge to manage the fund to the point of it becoming a reference point for other institutions to follow.” That pledge made by Professor Bogoro of making TETfund a reference point is in line with Dido’s assertion.  Interestingly, in the last two years under Prof. Bogoro’s leadership, TETfund has built and commissioned enduring legacy projects across the length and bread of Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning.
 The N12billionTETfund Research Fund released to 12 universities (which also included the University of Abuja) was to support strategic and application-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications. According to the terms of reference within a five-year period, the University of Abuja is expected to blaze the trail as Centre of Excellence in Public Governance and Leadership. As an alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of Law, on behalf of other great Alumnus of the Unity University (UniAbuja), we say thank you to the entire Management of TETfund Board for this great and wonderful opportunity for considering our university worthy of this fund. And like Oliver Twist, we are asking for more !
From 1st January 2019 till December 2020, 4798 scholars have been sponsored from Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education across the nation for Masters and PhD Programmes globally by TETfund. In consideration of the realities associated with the duration for the acquisition of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD Degree) sponsorship courses by the Fund, under Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro dispensation, it is now for a duration of four years and no more three years, which is a commendable feat. It is under the same period under review TETfund has Sponsored academic and
non-academic staff of beneficiary institutions to attend 11, 719 academic conferences/workshops,  which was attended by various public higher institutions across Nigeria and also teaching practice supervision by the agency numbering 16, o13.
 As part of efforts to proffering solutions facing Nigeria technologically, Professor Bogoro on September 24, 2020 inaugurated a 162-member of TETfund standing committee on research and development with the mandate to drive technological development and innovation that would generate solutions to most of the challenges facing our great country. It is believed that this paradigm shift from infrastructural development to content development or what is otherwise known as research and development is a good path to follow especially in today’s world where research play a key role in global  advancement. It is in line with this direction that Bogoro’s TETfund was able to secure a sum of N7.5billion (previously N5billion) from President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to hit the ground running and to ensure that research and development (R and D) remains at the front burner of all national agenda. A man who knows his onions and who wants Nigeria to be at par with other countries, Professor Bogoro made a recommendation of a minimum annual budgetary threshold of one billion USD ($1 billion ) as the funding portfolio for the Research and Development Foundation that will drive the nation’s technological development.
Speaking at an interactive session with Directors of Research in Nigeria Universities immediately he assumed office in 2019, Bogoro said TETfund leadership will provide N10 million to each of its beneficiary institutions for capacity building, academic staff training in the areas of research and proposal writing. With this mindset, the Collaboration between TETfund and the Ministry of Science and Technology is geared towards driving the Nigerian economy through Science and Technology with adequate funding as no country in the world could thrive without science and technology. On Research and Development Foundation, Professor Bogoro gave insight on some contemporary examples of countries doing well and for Nigeria to emulate in our quest for greatness on Research and Development.
Bogoro, in his keynote address at the  inauguration of TETfund’s Research and Development (R&D) Standing Committee on 24th September 2020 at Congress Hall,Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, by the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, Professor Bogoro said , “In Malaysia, taxes  are imposed on rubber, palm oil and timber to fund their research institutes for rubber palm oil and forestry. Same scenario obtains in tea production in Sri Lanka. Kenya also has special taxes on the tea, coffee and sugar industries to support her Research Foundations in those products. Reforming our tax laws in Nigeria is imperative for us to reap the full benefits of this national foundation. We can as well leverage the corporate social responsibilities of the organised private sector to fund this evolving Foundation.”
Under Bogoro, 70 percent of university lecturers are now PhD holders. TETfund has invested a lot on training of lecturers bearing in mind that physical infrastructure alone could not bring about the desired quality of tertiary education delivery in the country. In the same vein and to ensure transparency and accountability in TETfund, Professor Bogoro inaugurated an Impact Assessment Committee made up 100 percent non-TETfund staff to independently monitor and assess the impact of the Fund’s intervention activities right from inception 1999  upto 2019. And in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s mantra for Transparency, TETfund approved the commencement of monitoring of TETfund-sponsored participants to local and foreign conferences.
On book development, Bogoro’s TETfund also established Academic Publishing Centres (APC) designed for the
nation’s scholars in the six geo-political zones and ordered the immediate payment of tuition fees to TETfund
scholars stranded abroad. Manuscript development and journal publications are also part of focal point of
Bogoro’s visionary leadership; he supports text books production by lecturers as well as transformation of PhD thesis to text books.
At the Polytechnic level under Bogoro’s watch, TETfund intervention include fabrication and technical intervention which are the fulcrum of technological development of any nation and at the Colleges of Education, micro teaching laboratory equipment as well as teaching practice equipment are well on ground. And at the university level, funds for entrepreneurship training which is the new normal on youth empowerment was also provided by Bogoro’s leadership with the support of the management team and every member of staff.
While it will be difficult to capture all what Professor Bogoro Legendary Leadership has achieved since his reinstatement as TETfund’s helmsman in January 2019, it will not be out of place to bring some of these achievements to the fore.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Professor Bogoro commissioned a 350-seater capacity lecture theatre at
The Polytechnic, Ibadan and a 150 /250-seater lecture hall which was converted to a 400-seater hall.
He also commissioned the iconic 300-seater Technical /Engineering Drawing Studio at the First Technical University, Ibadan and commended the duo of the vice chancellor, Professor Ayobami Salami and The Polytechnic Ibadan Rector, Professor Kazeem Adekunle Adebiyi for a job well done.
At Federal University Lokoja, Bogoro commended the management of the university for progress of work done so far in the institution which included the Council/Senate Chamber, rebuilt blocks of laboratories and Classrooms, Students Multi -Purpose Hall and  Lecture Theatre A and B .At the University of Lagos, the TETfund Executive Secretary and his team commissioned the iconic TETfund Academic Publishing Centre, the Faculty of Engineering Lecture Theatre and the remodelled UNILAG Medical Centre.
The Commissioning of the Academic Publishing Centre (APC)  and other completed projects at the University of
 Calabar on 27th  and 28th February  2019 are also worthy of note. The idea behind the Academic Publishing
Centre according to Bogoro is to “promote reading culture” in university communities.
Not left out is the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State where legacy projects were commissioned between
 January 23rd and 25th 2020 as well as commissioning of special intervention projects on November 1st 2019 at
 the University of Jos on 24th April, 2019. At Gombe State University, Professor Bogoro and his team commissioned the ICT Centre and also commissioned enduring projects at the University of Benin between 26th and 30th November 2019.
Apart from the commissioning of the High impact Projects at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State,
TETfund at the same university also constructed and furnished the Department of Linguistics, Administrative
Building and Communication Studios, construction  and furnishing of Dentistry Department, 41 offices, 8 capacity meeting room and Conference Hall as well as  construction and furnishing of academic building for Crop and Soil Science Department. The erudite scholar also commissioned projects at Unijos, Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi, Federal Polytechnic,  Bauchi , Bauchi State University,  Gadau, Gombe State University, Gombe, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, University of Benin, Delta state Polytechnic, Ugwashi Uku, Delta State University, Abraka, Nnamdi Azikiwe University,  Awka, Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State Polytechnic,  Umuagwu, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Kwara State University, Malete and University of Ibadan. If in two years Professor Bogoro can put these lofty initiatives on ground  at TETfund, it means he has brought a
 new lease of life to tertiary education revitalization which is in tandem with the Change Mantra of President
 Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) which means, he has kept to his promise of turning things around in our tertiary
institutions of learning across the country and shows that TETfund is in a safe hand with Bogoro and his team.
Therefore, it will not be out of place to end this piece with a quote from Vince Lombardi who says, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Professor Bogoro, you and your team should “carry go”.
  *Ibrahim can be reached through fataiib5@gmail.com*
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