Tetfund @10: The Strides of the Apostle of Research and Development, by Tahir Ibrahim
Tetfund recently celebrated its 10 years of service, having gone through a lot of changes in its functions, duties, coverage and composition. It had existed under different names before now, but the amendments to the act establishing it, have turned it into a Tetfund, with more coverage of tertiary education in the country. At the Tetfund at 10 event, its Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, was introduced as the apostle of research and development. A very apt description, narrating how he has turned the tide of the impact of Tetfund from infrastructure to research. Bogoro was first appointed by the previous administration and barely 2 years after, the new administration of PMB had relieved him of his duties as the ES of Tetfund. Not long into the PMB administration, Bogoro was once again re-appointed by the PMB administration to head Tetfund. This is a glaring testimony of the quality of stewardship he brings to the running of Tetfund. The staff of Tetfund rolled out the red carpets for him and welcomed him back to their fold, amidst great celebration.
At Tetfund at 10, it was disclosed that 152, 838 infrastructural projects had been executed across the country. 30, 000 lecturers have also been sponsored for Masters and PhD programmes. 68, 000 academic and non-academic staff of tertiary institutions have also been sponsored to attend local and international conferences. Tetfund has also supported 71, 263 lecturers, under the Teacher’s Supervision Programme. Over 2 million books and 152, 000 E-resources have been procured by Tetfund.
Where the apostle of research and development comes in, is in the improvement of funds for The National Research Fund which had started with a seed money of just 3 billion naira in 2011. Bogoro saw to the growth of this fund by well over 50 percent, to an unprecedented 8.5 billion naira in 2021. So far, 9 billion has been accessed by lecturers to fund their research activities. Tetfund played a significant role in Covid 19 research. Tetfund approved four mega research clusters for Covid 19 vaccines and drug research, as well as for security and dairy research. The clusters had within the range of 250 million, to 450 million to fund their research activities.
Prof. Bogoro has achieved near global fame among education sectors’ stakeholders, as the most pushful advocate for research in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. It is in recognition of his efforts that Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti named its research centre after him. This particular university is not even a beneficiary of Tetfund’s interventions, and so cannot be accused of repaying him for any interventions in their school. Speakers at this event said Bogoro had earned for himself the appellation of Senior Advocate of Research, SAR. Bogoro is laying emphasis on advancing learning through research.
True to Bogoro’s advocacy for improved research and development, the Federal Government just received a draft executive bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation, midwifed by Tetfund. Bogoro who received the bill on behalf of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, thanked the Justice ministry for drafting its staff to the exercise. This is a clear drive in turning Nigeria into a knowledge driven economy. At the event, Bogoro stressed that Nigeria’s economy cannot be competitive if it does not institutionalise Research and Development. He said that the most competitive nations are those that have placed innovation and creativity as the lead elements that drive society. The Chairman of the drafting committee Prof. Yadudu, commended Prof. Bogoro for putting in place the committee, and for his vision for the Research and Development Foundation. He also said that the country stands to reap bountifully when the bill is passed. “This is a bill which seeks to establish a National Research and Development Foundation to institutionalise, mainstream, and commercialise research and development; promote innovation and support enterprise development for job and wealth creation, for a knowledge driven economy. This is the key thing” Prof. Yadudu said.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.