By Richard Oriri
Gross neglect of public services is a common bane in Nigeria. However, tertiary institutions were the worse hit. A country graciously endowed with human capital was almost slipping into the abyss in terms of educational infrastructure development as successive policies to accentuate speedy turnaround were either neglected or undermined by those responsible for the implementation of generated frameworks.
This seeming downtown paved the way for incessant strike action by universities, polytechnic, and colleges. Young Nigerians were left stranded. The first holistic attempt by the President Jonathan administration to address the issue was marred by dents of irregularities as most of the agreements were superfluous.
At this point, the Federal Government needed a concrete blueprint capable of enabling formidable development in the sector, and particularly the tertiary institutions across the country to avert any form of setback through strike actions by academic staff. Of course, a revolution was required, and this set the tone for a renewed zeal to cater to the infrastructure development of higher education across the country. This was the anchor which reinforced the search for a new head for the Tertiary Institutions Trust Fund (TETFUND).
As an education trust fund, the agency is cardinal to the overall national growth. Its impact was expected to be visible across the country, but sadly since its establishment nearly two decades ago, the agency was not felt until the appointment of Arc Sonny Echono as Executive Secretary. A seasoned administrator and technocrat, Echono had the missing traits: commitment and unflinching patriotic zeal to transform the federal agency. These qualities have beamed, and Echono has surpassed expectations.
He is now reputed as one of the most effective and experienced executive secretaries whose tenure in TETFUND witnessed unprecedented revolutionary trends in infrastructure development in universities,polytechnicsc, and colleges across the country. Understandably though, his sterling career through the ranks in the civil service must have spurred him to edge ahead of those who manned the agency before him.
For instance, his exploits as a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education where he ensured the standardization of both physical and human infrastructure in all unity schools in Nigeria were evidence of his passion and preparedness to take Education to the greatest height in the country. For the records, Arc Echono has over the years remained a reliable administrator whose public service experience surpasses the normal ascription of a reclusive persona common with most public servants.
Trusted beyond imaginable comprehension, Architect Echono served in numerous sensitive positions before exiting the regular civil service to become the Executive Secretary of TETFUND. As a civil servant, he worked as a procurement director in not less than five federal ministries, including the Ministry of Defense, Water Resources, Environment, Agriculture, Rural Development, and Power. Arc Echono distinguished himself as a technocrat whose enviable reputation is worth emulating.
Indeed, Nigeria is a country so tainted with packs of individuals whose vocation resides in criticizing milestone achievements, but the fulcrum of Arc Echono’s accomplishments in his current position as the Executive Secretary of TETFUND remains unblemished, and this is evident in the rapid infrastructure development in our higher institutions across the country.
Today, our university, polytechnic, and college lecturers are proud of their teaching tools and working environment. It is on record that shortly after taking over from Professor Suleiman Elias Bagoro on the 30th of March 2022, Arc Sonny Echono initiated the sponsorship of not fewer than one thousand tertiary institution teachers to advanced programs in foreign Universities to hasten human resource development in tertiary institutions across the country.
Oriri is KaftanTv analyst based in Abuja..