OON award and Bogoro’s unforgettable legacies at TETfund

“The more we are humbled by grace, the more we shall be exalted by glory” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

The recent conferment of national award on Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, the immediate past Executive Secretary of TETFUND, a great apostle of research & development, by President Muhammed Buhari is a welcome development. There is no doubt that this sagacious and erudite scholar was duly recognised and awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) Mr President for his immense and invaluable contributions in deepening research and development geared towards knowledge-driven economy and innovative technology in our ivory towers. This action by the president is apt and legendary.

The tenure of Professor Bogoro as executive secretary TETfund remained its golden era with numerous achievements which had direct impact on the students in the ivory towers and with attendant human, infrastructural and material development to the glory of God and the benefit of humanity. Bogoro’s tenure placed high premium on research and development and it is not a surprise that since he left, his imprints have remained on the sands of time.

It was Shiv Khera, an Indian author and activist, who said “Success is no mystery”. With this in mind, Bogoro’s tenure achieved so much because of its consistency in applying principles in consonance with the Change Agenda of the Buhari administration in supporting research and development and putting Nigeria on the global map. The former TETfund boss said, “In spite of the fact that research and development is central to a country’s development, in Nigeria there is absence of a national platform for the regulations and strengthening of research and development.

It is in this vein that TETfund under my leadership propelled by my vision continues to advocate the establishment by law, a National Research and Development Foundation that will ensure a coordinated national framework for the sustenance and implementation of R&D. Such foundation when established shall promote an effective interface between universities, government and the private sector especially the industrial sub-sector of the economy.”

He went further, “In Nigeria today, outside the National Research Fund from TETfund, there is no other visible research funding outfit and that was why we created a research fund and centres of excellence and we are determined that a committee will be put in place in the next two years to work with government and advise it on the idea of establishing a National R&D Foundation for Nigeria, cross cutting, cross disciplinary research platform that will look at funding of research in research communities as well as tertiary institutions led by universities.”

It was in this direction that the chairman, Economic Advisory Council to President Buhari, Dr Doyin Salam, poured encomiums on Professor Bogoro for his sterling and visionary leadership at TETfund. Dr Salam described TETFUND under Bogoro as a shift from infrastructure to content development and a worthwhile development that needs to be intensified to build manpower and capacities in Nigeria educational institutions geared towards solving national problems.

The key research areas of Bogoro’s TETfund included but not limited to capacity building, peace studies, agriculture, food security, power and energy information and communication technology, telecommunication, entrepreneurship, environmental issues and wealth creation.

“The most successful leader of all leaders is one who sees another picture not yet actualised”, that was the saying Mary Parker Follet (1868-1933) regarded as the ‘mother of modern management’. Follet was one of the first theorists to actively write about and explore the role of people in effective management and importance of learning in promoting positive human relations. Bogoro who holds a title, The Ekwueme of Aboh Mbaise (a man of his word), a great teacher who has never stopped learning said more of his achievements at TETfund, “We have planted TETfund on international map, we have gone far ,working our protocols to eventually sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Fulbright Scholarship. They told us very clearly that they took time to evaluate and assess TETfund under my watch and they characterised it as a credible organisation, even in managing scholarship as it were, both locally and overseas and they felt this a credible partner they can work with.”

Also under the leadership Bogoro, TETfund, emerged as the only organisation that was picked by the Commonwealth Science Granting Council in the entire sub Sahara Africa for its giant strides in research and development. So, the OON award bestowed on this great Nigerian by the president is as a result of Bogoro’s tenacity and commitment in deepening research geared towards knowledge-based economy and technology innovation. His legacies can also be seen in the academic staff training and development. He said, “In academic staff training and development under my watch, we have scholars funded exclusively by TETfund for Master’s and PhDs programmes across the world.”

In justifying Bogoro’s tenacity to research and academic staff training in United States in March this year and like a prophet not recognised at home, the Morgan State University in a document released on 18th March 2022 and signed by Prof. Hakeem Tijani, Office of the Global Partnership in Africa, titled “Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro we know”, said “He secured 25 percent tuition fees discount on each student sent for the post graduate studies, also secure waivers too on GMAT, TOEFL, no 3rd party evaluation of transcript. He as well started a postdoctoral training for faculty staff across tertiary institutions in Nigeria sent to us. He established vibrant R&D with our institution exposing Nigerians to resources and knowledge in the emerging knowledge economy and started professorial visiting positions at Morgan State University, among others.”

With the conferment of the prestigious OON on Professor Bogoro, a great son of Nigeria, an indefatigable apostle of national unity and integration, a bridge builder and an illustrious son of Africa, it is our hope this award will bring more good tidings to you and your entire family in your greater service to humanity, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. It is our fervent prayer that soon you will be recommended for a United Nations job as an embodiment of knowledge and based on your achievements at TETfund. Surely, as in the immortal words of Ibn Batuta, a 19th Century historian, your tenure as the Executive Secretary of TETfund remains “the Golden era of the Fund.”

Fatai Ibrahim,
former President, Kwara State Students, University of Abuja