TETfund’s admission into science granting council in Africa

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By Fatai Ibrahim

“The final test of a true leader is that he leaves behind in other men and women, the conviction and the will to carry on.” – Walter Lippmann.

It was the legendary Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician, Robert Nesta Marley, who said in his song that Africans must unite. A fervent and unapologetic pan-Africanist, Marley strongly believed in Africa’s unity and his beliefs on pan-Africanism were rooted in his religious beliefs. On March 6, 1957, the great Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the foremost president of Ghana, in his independence broadcast said, “The Independence of Ghana is not complete until there is independence for other African countries”. Nkrumah advocated African solidarity among African countries and even called for United States of Africa. Nkrumah would forever be remembered for his strong commitments to the promotion of pan-Africanism, African unity as well as African personality. His zeal and vision using science and technology for developmental strides led to the construction of the Akosobo Dam in Ghana in the 50s. The dam, today, produces most of Ghana’s hydro-electric power making Ghana to enjoyed 10 years of uninterrupted power supply and even supplies countries around Ghana.

Taking the above into considerations, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), under the visionary and dynamic leadership of the erudite Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, places emphasis on science, research and technology and has become a reference point in the entire continent to other African countries. It is no gainsaying countries across the continent have been coming to Nigeria to understudy the TETfund model and template in order to boost and promote their education system.

The idea of using science, research and technology for development in Africa is realisable as well as achievable, considering the big brother role and afro-centric nature of Nigerian foreign policy. The profile of TETfund has risen in the eyes of the international community in Africa and beyond hence, one is not surprised seeing scholars from Ghana and Tanzania, among other countries, coming to understudy it and how Nigeria has turned its higher institutions of learning as centres of excellence where the best of infrastructure and content development are provided for lecturers and students with conducive learning environment.

Prof. Bogoro recently confirmed this when he said, “The centres of excellence are organizational environments that strive for and succeed in developing high standards of protocols and methodical benchmarks in the field of research, innovation, capacity building, teaching and learning”… he added that “the relevance of this centres of excellence in capacity building in developing countries cannot be over emphasized, as they are potent instruments for nation building”. Aljazira Newspaper Friday November, 2021. In a related development Prof. Bogoro pontificating further said: “In academic staff training and development, we have scholars funded exclusively by TETfund for Master’s and PhD programs across the world, there is no parts of the world where you don’t find our scholars. They are scattered in South and North America, Asia up to Australia, Malaysia, UK, Germany and of course United States as well as across Africa”.

According to Bogoro The great apostle of Research and Development (R&D) “The above is a reflection of the Fund’s achievements, because the main purpose of academic staff training is to ensure all those employed as lecturers in Nigerian public tertiary institutions of learning (universities, polytechnics and colleges of education) have minimum qualification of PhD”. Prof. Bogoro stressed further, “We have gone far in contents component and we have planted TETfund on international map. We have gone far, working our protocols to eventually sign MoU with Fulbright scholarship. They told us very clearly that they took time to evaluate and assess TETfund and they characterized it as a creditable organization, even in managing scholarship as it were, both locally and overseas and they felt this is a creditable partner they can work with.”

Interestingly, TETfund holds the largest research grant in Nigeria today and it is noteworthy to add that TETfund has emerged as the only organisation that was picked up by the Commonwealth Science Granting Council in sub-Sahara Africa for its ‘superlative and outstanding performance’. It was also recognised as the only organisation representing Nigeria as having creditable research grant management. As no country in the contemporary and industrialised world can do without infrastructure i.e (roads, bridges, buildings, transportation – aviation and rail). “These can only be achieved through science and technology innovations. It is often said the most competitive economies and nations in the world are those that prioritise science, technology and research. And it is scholars who have passed through institutions and who enjoyed grants and supports from government that come up with innovations that have changed the course of their countries for better”. Prof. Bogoro reiterates.

However, “little by little bird built its nest,” proverbial African adage “Africa can have a new beginning in science and technology and this can be achieved by setting the ball rolling now. The Chinese of this world, the Japanese of this world, the Singaporeans of this world all embraced the economy of 21st century which is knowledge-based. I have reflected in my personal closure that we hardly sit down and talk of research. Have we asked the questions about; how do I solve the problems out there in the next community near me, in my state and in my geo-political zone, the nation and Africa as a continent? Prof. Bogoro Executive Secretary TETfund asked a rhetorical question for all to ponder on.

In this regard, it is good and quite revolutionary that TETfund has taking the right steps in the right direction by laying great emphasis on science, research and technology and under Professor Bogoro, it has become a model and a beautiful bride for other African countries to embrace. It is crystal clear, even to a blind person that Bogoro a true son of Africa and the Ekwueme of Aboh Mbaise, a man of his word) and his management team in TETfund as well as his team of scholars from other parts of Africa are vigorously pursuing the vision of using science for development in line with the dream of Late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for a progressive Africa.

On the final note, “if you can dream it, you can actualized it” so said Disney and if TETfund under the unique leadership of Prof. Bogoro can successfully lead other African intellectuals in solving myriads of problems bedeviling the continent of Africa, using science, research and technology, then one could say without any iota doubt that he deserves to be recognize as the new Osagyfo (Redeemer) of Africa in science, research and development. On this note, on merit, I am appealing to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to re-recommend Prof. Bogoro to President Muhammadu Buhari for another 5-year tenure extension, so that the prolific scholar and his winning team can consolidate on numerous giant and revolutionary initiatives that have been put in place in our public tertiary institutions in Nigeria, for the common good of all Nigerians in line with the latin maxim salus populi suprema ex lex, meaning the good of the people is the supreme law.

Fatai Ibrahim Esq is a great alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of law, University of Abuja, Nigeria

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily