By Mahmud Bashir
Public tertiary institutions in Nigeria have been bedeviled by poor funding; a situation that necessitated the establishment of the Tertiary Education TrustFund (TETFUND).
This malaise has long emerged as a critical challenge to the promotion of a good tertiary education standard, maintenance of physical infrastructure, training of lecturers and funding of research in the country among others.
The challenge has caused friction between the staff tertiary institutions and the government, leading to obstruction of academic work and calendar. Higher institutions of learning in the country have often resorted to strike actions to press home their demands for better working conditions and funding of education.
To address the problem of funding specifically the tertiary education, TETFund was established as an intervention agency under the TETFund Act, 2011. The Act repeals the Education Tax Act Cap. E4, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Education Tax Fund Act N0 17, 2003, which were the enabling legal foundation of ETF (TETFund, 2017).
It’s critical areas of interventions includes sponsorship of lecturers for post graduate studies, funding constructions and refurbishment of educational facilities, promoting of creative and innovative approach to learning; promotion of higher education books and funding libraries and provision of learning equipment.
Part of which TETFund has drawn a Policy Document in the area of academic pursuits;
Academic Staff Training & Development (AST&D); Conference Attendance intervention (CA), Institution Based Research (IBR) intervention, National Research Fund (NRF), Academic Manuscript into books (AMB) Intervention and Academic Research Journals (ARJ).
These interventions are deliberate actions towards preparing Nigerians for global competitiveness with the end goal of building a knowledge economy and increasing the country’s global presence.
For those who have been following the strides of operational works of TETFund in recent times, concise and determined efforts have been going on in repositioning building the agency as the Hub intervention of tertiary education in Nigeria.
The recent inauguration of the Four Merged projects sponsored by the Fund which include a one Laboratory: Workshop block for entrepreneurship development Centre, a one female hostels, one male hostel and academic office building for college of agronomy, at the Joseph Saawuan Tarkaa federal university, Makurdi Benue state is a testament of architect Sunny Echono’s leadership quality.
This was further proven by President Muhammadu Buhari’s representative at the ceremony, Hon, Aminu Suleiman Goro, stating that ‘TETFund under the current Executive Secretary has performed exceedingly well in the provision of critical infrastructure, academic staff development, book publication, research and development among others’.
These testimonies and commendations bear striking parallelism to Echono’s track record of experience spanning infrastructure, business administration, procurement management and the education sector. His appointment and assumption of office has been greeted with cheers from many stakeholders, owing to his inspiring career in the civil service.
The recent courtesy call by the governor of Anambra state Professor Charles Soludo, at the Fund headquarters also commended the executive Secretary of the Fund and his management for performing credibly well in view of the limited resources available to the fund. Compare to the massive needs of the higher education sector. He added.
With this, it is evident that TETFund under the leadership of Architect Sunny Echono is strategic, focused and unassuming, and productive for every stakeholder in the Nigerian project. We can boldly attest that president Buhari appointed an overseer of educational agency who is always thinking on his feet and whose commitment are sincere pursuits of the overall good of the nation.
It is therefore, important that all good spirited Nigerians should accord the Executive Secretary TETFund, architect Sunny Echono the support to sustain the patriotic service to our fatherland.
A Public Affairs Commentator, writes from Gombe state.