Inspiring Change, Driving Progress In Tertiary Institutions

L-R: Executive secretary, TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono; chairman/CEO National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Ekpo Nta, Esq, and president, National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma, at the 5th NAAT national delegates conference at the University of Abuja, recently

The executive secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Arch. Sonny Echono’s journey of excellence has reached a new heights as he received another well-deserved award, recognising his outstanding achievements and significant contributions.

From pioneering initiatives to transformative leadership, Echono’s visionary leadership and dedication to driving progress has not only inspired change but also set new standards of excellence in tertiary institutions across the country.

This latest accolade is a testament to his relentless pursuit of excellence and serves as a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have on their agency and beyond.

With a keen eye for emerging trends and challenges in higher education, Echono is spearheading initiatives that are preparing students for the demands of tomorrow’s workforce.

Through strategic partnerships with industry leaders and innovative internship programmes, he has bridged the gap between academia and the job market, empowering graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in an ever-evolving global economy.

In recognition of his excellent leadership style which have resulted in elimination of corruption and improved service delivery to Beneficiary Institutions, accolades have continued to pour in for the Executive Secretary.

The latest of such recognition recently came from the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) which conferred an Award of Excellence on the Executive Secretary for exemplary leadership in the education sector, quality assurance and service to humanity at its 5th National Delegates’ Conference held at the University of Abuja in April.

Speaking during the award ceremony, the National President of NAAT, Comrade Ibeji Nwokoma commended the Executive Secretary for his contributions to the education sector and particularly the tertiary education sub-sector where he oversees the affairs of TETFund.

He noted that his interventions in tertiary education as it relates to academic technologists has resulted in the establishment of modern laboratories and upgrade of existing ones in public tertiary educational institutions in the country, as well as scholarships for members of the association.
Speaking after receiving the award, the Executive Secretary expressed appreciation to the President and members of NAAT for the recognition, noting that the award would further stimulate the Fund’s management to greater productivity.

While acknowledging the central role being played by the association in the management of workshops and laboratories in various academic institutions, Arc. Echono assured that the Fund would continue to provide support for acquisition of relevant equipment and resource infrastructure, noting that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved an intervention for the purpose.

Recently, Echono was also recognised as Outstanding Public Servant of the Year by Champion Newspapers Limited.

On the occasion, he said due to the critical role the agency is playing in bridging funding gap and also providing critical infrastructure among other things in the nation’s tertiary institutions, it must not be allowed to become a victim of official corruption or mismanagement.
He added that it was in the light of that he instituted reforms that would place the agency in a better stead to deliver on its mandate.

“Since we came on board, we have embarked on a number of reforms to further make the agency work better and deliver on its mandate to the good people of Nigeria. We are aware of the role TETFund plays in the provision of infrastructure and critical facilities in our higher institutions, as well as the training of academic and non-academic staff.

”We are glad that testimonies from beneficiaries – schools and individuals, are positive and encouraging. However, because it is an agency that is known to be achieving a lot, and one that is responding to things in positive manner, we attract the attention of a lot of people.

“Of course, the magnitude of and the nature of reforms that have been implemented are also going to affect some people adversely. We expect that such people would not feel comfortable. But as a public servant, one requires to know that one must develop thick skin to baseless issues and move on and do the best you can, ” he said.

He added that the award by the newspaper house would galvanise him and his team to work harder and make the agency record more feats.
On whether the agency is not being stressed by the increasing number of institutions that it has to cater for, Echono said TETFund was up to the task.

“Yes, more public higher institutions are being set up that would need us, but we are up to the task. We have the arrangement to take care of the institutions. For instance, if a state has more than one university, we alternate our commitment among them. If we take care of A today, tomorrow, it will be the turn of B,” he explained.

Echono also gave the assurance that projects embarked upon by the fund would not be abandoned, as efforts would be made to complete them.

This is just as he previously received the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON, from former President Muhammadu Buhari and was awarded a fellow of the Nigerian Association for Educational Administration and Planning (NAEP), amongst several others.

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