Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro in January, 2019 staged a comeback as the executive secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), replacing Dr Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, who took over from him in 2016.
Bogoro, who was first appointed as the executive secretary of the Fund in April 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan, was removed in February 2016 by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the charges that he misdirected the agency’s fund to Jonathan’s campaign in 2015.
However, not long after he was proved innocent, resulting to his second call as TETFund executive secretary.
On his second coming, the executive secretary made a solemn pledge saying, “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.”
So far, a look at Bogoro’s more than two years into his second coming proved he is building an enduring legacy projects across Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning.
Since his appointment as the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Bogoro has refocused board in pursuit of one of its core responsibilities of rehabilitating decaying infrastructure and the construction of new ones that are relevant to the development of learning in public tertiary institutions across the country.
This landmark transformation of processes and procedures at the TETFund is changing the narrative in Nigeria’s attempt to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of research development.
This could be seeing when last year he released N12 billion Research Fund to 12 universities, including the University of Abuja to support strategic and application-oriented research and expertise with potential industrial applications.
Moreso, as part of efforts to proffer solutions facing Nigeria technologically, Bogoro in September 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 country.
This paradigm shift from infrastructural development to content development, otherwise known as research and development, is a good path to follow, especially in today’s world where research is playing a key role in development world-wide.
To follow the path of development, Bogoro secured N7.5 billion to ensure that research and development (R&D) remains at the front burner of all national discourse.
The ES who spoke at an interactive session with directors of research in Nigerian universities after he assumed office, 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.
He therefore, entered into collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology in order to drive the Nigerian economy through science and technology with adequate funding as no country could thrive without science and technology.
Also, to ensure transparency and accountability in TETfund, 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 from inception in 1999 to 2019. And in line with President Buhari’s mantra for transparency, TETfund approved the commencement of monitoring of TETfund-sponsored participants to local and foreign conferences.
Although it is difficult to capture all what Professor Bogoro currently doing since his reinstatement as TETfund’s Boss, it will not be out of place to bring some of these achievements to the fore.
Bogoro has steered the process which led to the board receiving the draft executive bill for the establishment of the National Research and Development Foundation, NRDF.
The bill, according to him has laid down a foundation for driving Nigeria’s knowledge-driven economy.
He stressed that the document is clear on what it intends to accomplish, which is the establishment of a national research and development foundation that will coordinate research efforts in the country to usher it into a knowledge-based economy.
On receiving the bill recently in Abuja, the executive secretary applauded the committee for its efforts and said it was on a historic mission for the country, saying Nigeria’s economy cannot be competitive if it does not institutionalise research and development, R&D.
“When we lack the fidelity to implement our policies and lack the discipline to enforce our laws, it is precisely why Nigeria has failed. We have failed to attain our potential as a nation because of some of these areas.
“And let us admit collective guilt we shouldn’t be back-passing; so when we bring ourselves like this, those in government are there, the academia, of course, are there; the industry operators are there.
“We agree to come together to speak the same language, the ultimate outcome, we agree to be a more competitive Nigerian economy and the nation overall,” he said.
According to him, there was need to rejig and reflect over the issue of governance in government and academic institutions, adding that many times the area of appropriate governance at all levels has failed the nation.
He said the most competitive nations are those that have recognised and placed innovation and creativity as the lead element that drives society.
“The greatest of thinkers in history were those that drove the direction of their nations; the greatest of thinkers do things beyond the average persons,” he said.