The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has allocated the sum of N1 billion each to 12 Nigerian universities for the establishment of 12 TETFund Centres of Excellence to be sited in the universities.
Speaking during the allocation ceremony held recently at the TETFund office in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro outlined the need for Centres of Excellence to further drive the impact of R&D in Nigeria.
According to him, “the relevance of Centres of Excellence for capacity building in developing countries cannot be over emphasised. Centres of Excellence are potent instruments for nation building in so far as they have the potential to realise human resource development, improve organisational capacity and create an institutional and legal framework in the research and higher education field, including its effects on innovation and socio-economic development”.
Prof. Bogoro expressed his commitment to provide the support and guidance needed for the institutions to succeed in this endeavour.
“We are keenly aware of the perils inherent in the disregard of synergy and we all know the consequences of operating in silos”, he stated.
He urged the heads of the beneficiary institutions to ensure quality delivery of projects to be awarded.
Also speaking during the ceremony, the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of TETFund, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam expressed the BOT’s full support for the initiative to establish Centres of Excellence across the country.
“The TETFund Board of Trustees is very committed to advancing tertiary education in all ramifications. The Board of Trustees is committed to doing things differently in this country. The Board of Trustees is determined to prove that public agencies, public institutions can, and should and must perform”, he said.
The BOT Chairman appreciated the resources made available to the Fund by the Federal Government and also commended the initiatives of the founding fathers of TETFund.
“Those who conceived this dream of creating a special trust fund to cater for the most critical sector of our education, i.e our tertiary institutions, they have done well”, he said.
In his remarks, the Director, R&D Department of TETFund, Dr Salihu Girei Bakari stated that the Fund’s ultimate vision is to establish Centres of Excellence, not only in the 12 institutions but in all Nigerian Universities.
“Unless and until all Universities become Centres of Excellence, they may not be competitive enough to serve this country meaningfully”, he stated.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellors of the beneficiary universities, the Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof Lilian Salami thanked TETFund for the allocation and assured the Fund of their commitment to meet its expectations.
The TETFund Centres of Excellence are aimed at enabling universities carry out research and development programmes that would contribute to national development.
The twelve universities that are hosting the TETFund Centres of Excellence include two each from the six geopolitical zones of the country and they are Universities of Abuja, Benin, Ibadan, Maiduguri, Jos, Uyo and Lagos.
Others are Bayero University Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; and Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto.