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With Prof. Bogoro, TETFUND is working again

His surprised reinstatement on the 21st of April, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari elicited different reactions in divergent quarters. While there were those who felt…

His surprised reinstatement on the 21st of April, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari elicited different reactions in divergent quarters. While there were those who felt aggrieved for the implied loss of a cash cow which, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, meant for them, a broad spectrum of key players and the general public were however, excited that Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro had been vindicated and a sort of atonement done. There was a wild jubilation by all cadre of staff over his return to the office.

First appointed in April 2014 by President Goodluck Jonathan, Professor Bogoro, an erudite and globally respected Scientist, was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 over allegations of mismanagement of the Agency’s funds to the tune of N200billion. The staggering sum was reportedly diverted into the campaign of the then ruling PDP presidential election. Over time, investigations revealed that the allegations were spurious and baseless. Because, TETFUND is viewed as a “gold mine” on account of the massive funds that accrue to it, they are a legion of gold diggers that would go any length to have control over the agency. The ungodly, phantom accusations were cooked up by dubious persons who wanted Professor Bogoro out of the way, by hook or, crook. The mess that was made of the agency after Bogoro’s exit tells much of the devious intentions of the purveyors of the lies leveled against him.

No doubt, President Buhari, who took the ultimate decision and his Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu who would have recommended it, should be similarly celebrated for demonstrating the strength of character and the moral courage to own up to an act of misjudgment with its attendant grievous hurt inflicted on an innocent victim of malice and vendetta. No one else has captured it better than Bogoro himself when he said: “I lack words to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me a medal no Nigerian has attained before now.” Very true indeed, a very special medal it is.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, was established by an Act of 2011, replacing the Education Trust Fund, ETF. It has the statutory responsibility of, among other functions, the development and maintenance of:  physical infrastructure for teaching and learning; institutional material and equipment;  research and publications and, Academic Staff training in addition to its intervention on other areas considered critical to the development of public tertiary institutions. To who much is given, much is said to be expected.  About 4 months after the gold medal, that is, his reinstatement, how far has he gone in keeping is vow to, “do everything to manage the Fund’s affairs very well?”

Testimonies by key stakeholders in the period since January to date, portray Professor Bogoro as having an astounding records of achievement in the realisation of the goals for which the agency was established. Under his watch, especially since his return, the TETFUND has been reinvigorated for the discharge of one of its core responsibility of rehabilitating decaying infrastructure and the construction of new ones that are relevant to the development of learning in the nation’s public tertiary institutions. This is physically evident in the number of lecture halls, libraries and laboratories rehabilitated or newly constructed that bear the name and logo of TETFUND in institutions of higher learning across the country.

A leader and a founding father of the University of Ibadan-based Think Tank for Translating Research to Innovation, Evidence for Policy and National Development, Professor Bogoro is reputed for his belief in the translation of ideas, hypotheses or theories into practical and beneficial empirical materials. No wonder, he has been pushing a programme that seeks to advance the nation’s tertiary institutions to put more emphasis in the conduct of research, innovation and development activities. In the initial part of his appointment, he created the Department of Research and Development, R&D, at the TETFUND headquarter with the duty of stimulating, supervising and coordinating research and development activities in the public tertiary institutions.

In furtherance of its statutory obligation of training academic staff, the TETFUND has a program of scholarship for upgrading the capacity of the academic staff of the nation’s tertiary institutions in local and foreign educational institutions. Under the program, Academic Staff Training and Development, AST & D, there are presently 24,194 of such scholars pursuing various post graduate degrees in universities outside the country. However, due to the challenges of fluctuations in the nation’s foreign exchange as well as the non-compliance with the Fund’s guidelines by the home institutions of the scholars, many of the beneficiary scholars have been stranded midway through their courses. Failure to find a solution to the problem implies termination of the studies of the scholars and, of course, a colossal waste of the resources already expended by the country.

To redress the challenge of the scholars on the TETFUND AST&D who have been stranded in foreign countries, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro recently led a delegation of management and board members on a verification trip to Britain where there are 500 of such scholars. In an interactive session with the beleaguered scholars, Bogoro stated: “TETFUND cannot turn a blind eye to your travails, hence the fact -finding trip to correct the non -responsive posture of the last administration at the Fund.” At the end of the day, evidence of the scholars’ indebtedness was collaborated by their various institutions. There has been a lot of jubilation and commendation following this singular achievement of Professor Bogoro.

President Buhari’s decision to recall Professor Bogoro was definitely informed by the confidence he has in the capacity and track record of the TETFUND Chief Executive to deliver. And so far, there is no gainsaying the fact that from a state of doldrums, stagnation and loss of focus that the TETFUND went through in the two years that Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro was away, the agency is once more, back on track and working.

 

Ahmad wrote this piece from Kaduna.

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