Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro yesterday staged a comeback as the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). He replaced Dr Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, who took over from him two years ago.
Daily Trust reports that Bichi’s sack became known to the staff of the agency yesterday only after Bogoro appeared in the morning with his letter of resumption.
“He has since taken over the affairs of the fund. He has also addressed the management staff on arrival this morning,” a top official of the agency told Daily Trust.
The Ministry of Education later issued a statement confirming President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the reinstatement of Bogoro as TETFund boss.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, according to the statement, said the re-instatement of Prof. Bogoro is with immediate effect, with the same terms and conditions as it were in his previous appointment and as stipulated in the TETFUND staff conditions of service.
A letter signed by the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Education addressed to Prof. Bogoro dated 21st January titled “Re-Instatement of Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund,” said: “You shall be eligible for re-appointment for further term of 4 years only subject to satisfactory performance.”
The president urged him to utilize the opportunity to re-focus the Fund and render its performance more responsive to the expectations of the present administration.
The Director of Public Affairs of TETFund, Ebikwo Benn, said Bogoro was reinstated to complete his tenure.
Mixed reactions trail Bogoro’s re-appointment
Daily Trust reports that the reinstatement of Professor Bogoro as TETFund boss has elicited mixed reactions in his home-state Bauchi, especially among politicians.
Professor Bogoro, a former lecturer with the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), was first appointed as the Executive Secretary of TETFund in April 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan but was removed in February 2016 by the Buhari administration.
While some welcomed his re-appointment saying it was because of his “outstanding performance” as the head of the agency, others see it as “a strategic political move to strengthen the chances of the ruling APC in Bauchi State.”
Professor Bogoro was reportedly appointed by Jonathan following his nomination by former Bauchi State Governor Adamu Muazu who served as PDP national chairman during Jonathan’s tenure up to the 2015 elections.
After he was removed from the position in 2016, he went back to ATBU and continued with his teaching job until yesterday.
While Prof. Bogoro hails from Bogoro Local Government Area, Muazu is from neighboring Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area in the same Bauchi South Senatorial district.
Muazu, alongside notable politicians from Bauchi State, recently joined the APC after what sources described as “high profile political scheming”.
Ex-Governor Isa Yuguda, also from Bauchi South, equally joined the APC few months ago.
Sources said before his defection to the PDP, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, had “near absolute control” of the political scheming in Bauchi South.
It was gathered that the speaker’s defection to the PDP had reduced the influence of APC in the senatorial zone, but the APC was trying to use Muazu and others to reclaim their firm grip of the area.
A top APC official in Bauchi State said Prof. Bogoro is well grounded in Bauchi South.
“As an appointee of APC government, I have no doubt he would justify the responsibility given to him. Yes, Dogara is very strong but Prof. Bogoro would march him step by step.
“Prof. Bogoro is an elder in Bogoro, the hometown of the speaker and he too has empowered hundreds of people from across the divide and they would definitely support him to succeed,” he said.
Speaking to our reporter on telephone yesterday, a lecturer with ATBU, Simon Yalams, who is a close associate of Prof. Bogoro, said “Although some people may give the appointment a political meaning because it is the political season, to me his appointment has to do with his track records during his first tenure as the head of TETFund. He is my colleague at ATBU and I know the kind of person he is.”
Also speaking, a former commissioner in Bauchi State, Dr. Audu Ghani Bogoro, said anybody who knows what Professor Bogoro had done as TETFund boss would be happy to have him back there.
He, however, said that some people would definitely look at it from the political angle, even as he insisted that merit should always override political sentiments.
‘Why Bichi lost out’
Though no reason was given by the ministry for the unexpected termination of the appointment of Bichi, sources told Daily Trust that several factors must have come into play.
They said Bichi, who is the Director General One2Tell10 Buhari Support Group, had disagreements with the education minister over the handling of the fund, and was flouting orders from the ministry.
Others said he was too involved in politics, especially in his home state of Kano and therefore unable to discharge his functions without distractions.
Bichi was a special assistant to the education minister before he was appointed as TETFund boss in 2016. He was not available for comment yesterday.