Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro has disclosed that about N5 billion has been budgeted to enhance research development in the country.
Prof Bogoro disclosed this in Sokoto at the weekend during his two-day working visit to Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. The TETFund boss was in the university to inspect some of the projects funded by the agency.
Prof Bogoro explained that the fund would go a step further to improve the content component of interventions, as the Federal Government is ready to approve same amount or put an increase in subsequent budgets.
He said that TETFund is gradually moving its focus from physical infrastructures to research content, adding that more funds will be given to research, journal publication, library development and academic staff training.
“At TETFund, I made it clear to my Board of Trustees that our interventions should be moving gradually from physical infrastructures to content components. And in all these components like research, library development, journal publication and academic staff training, I rated research as the topmost priority.
“So, we made a case on that to the Board of Trustees, and they all agreed that we should put up to N5 billion for R and D (Research and Development). We put the amount in the budget through the Minister of Education and sent to Mr President who graciously approved it.
“As it is now, we want to see the pace; we are having concept note and successful assessment from applications we have received, in order to justify it. We don’t mind that from next year, we either maintain the amount budgeted or even double it if necessary,” Prof Bogoro explained.
He appreciate the assiduous working relationship between his office and that of the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC), adding that, such synergy was needed to uplift Nigerian universities’ standard at the global stage.
According to him: “For too long in our country, people had believed in political creation of the universities but I believe in quality and rating of the existing universities. We have universities that are competitive in Nigeria. We can sink money and expand their facilities to admit more students massively.”
He also stated that in collaboration with NUC, the TETFund was set to establish TETFund Centre of Excellence, with two or three centres built in each geopolitical zones.
He, however, praised President Muhammadu Buhari for reinstated him as the Executive Secretary, after what he described as an “appropriate investigation” to the circumstance that led to his removal.
He described his removal as ‘wrongful’ disengagement, adding that his reinstatement was “unprecedented” in the history of federal service.
He commended the management of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, for putting in their best in uplifting the institution’s academic standard, and hailed the appointment of the vice-chancellor, Lawal Sulaiman Bilbis.
The executive secretary also promised to put the university’s needs among top priorities of the TETFund in next year budget.
Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Lawal, Sulaiman Bilbis, in his remark described the TETFund boss as a man with indented integrity. He recounted that TETFund under Prof Bogoro’s leadership was recording a lot of successes due to his uprightness and transparency.