By Emmanuel Afonne
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, the immediate past Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has urged Nigerians to pray for the emergence of patriotic leaders in the 2023 general election.
Bogoro made the call in Abuja while giving an acceptance speech following his investiture as the winner of the 2021 Nigerian Prize for Leadership (NPL).
“With patriotic statesmen and women, youths, politicians, professional, community and religious leaders, we can collectively change the narrative and redirect our country and Africa,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was also an opportunity for the second conferment of the NPL Fellowship on 17 deserving young Nigerians who distinguished themselves in various sectors of the economy.
NAN also reports that the investiture was deferred as Bogoro was not available to receive the price on Dec. 12 last year as required by the NPL status, hence the 2022 event used to present the price to the winner.
According to Bogoro, leadership requires that one must be patriotic and can be trusted, while the citizens complement the role of leaders by being law abiding.
“If this happens in Nigeria and because of our numerical and economic advantages, it will be Nigeria against the rest of Africa; it will have a ripple effect on other countries in Africa.
“We do not have to plunge ourselves into an unfortunate situation or other countries of Africa before we provide the desired leadership required of Nigeria in Africa and for the rest of the world.
“If leaders treat each other with respect and a sense of fairness in our day to day life in both public and public sector, we will achieve a lot, and the major tribes in the country will turn around the fortunes of the country if they can work together,” Bogoro said.
He expressed gratitude to the NPL for finding him worthy for the award which he believed was made possible by some of the actions performed while he was in office as TETFund boss.
Bogoro noted that the level of transparency at which TETFund was administered under his watch, made Nigeria one of the six African countries holding research grant for the International Science Granting Council.
“I never knew I was one of those been evaluated, assessed and screened for this prestigious award. Nobody from the committee hinted me to the extent that one of my directors sent about 100 video clips of my activities in Tetfund and other places.
“Those are some of the information submitted that led to my selection. None of them was associated with wrongdoing.
“It reminds me of the general TETFund National Research Fund (NRF) which after my leadership as the Executive Secretary was last year evaluated along with other research grant platforms in Nigeria by the International Science Granting Council.
“Based on the transparency, grant selection, merit-base screening process and non- interference from my office, TETFund was selected as the institution in Nigeria that will hold and manage its research grant henceforth.
“This made Nigeria the sixth country in Africa to earn such a status and it was all about transparency, merit and integrity of the process of grant management in TETFund.
“I can swear to any holy book that in my academic career, I never compromised my standard for anybody,” Bogoro said.
He further said that during his tenure he was able to upscale the NRF from the annual N500 million to N8 billion with the assistance of the board and the approval of Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the award had established a high standard, worthy of being copied by other merit award platforms in the country and beyond.
Earlier, the Chairman, Governing Board of NPL, Prof. Anya O. Anya, said that the NPL as a product of vision and commitment of some eminent Nigerians was determined to chart a new course aimed at identifying, and reinventing new culture of leadership in the country.
The new culture, he said, would be driven by values and a new mindset anchored on integrity and the pursuit of excellence ready to confront the challenges of the twenty-first century.
“Nigeria is currently going through a challenging period that will bring with it the rebirth of our nation.
“The Nigerian Prize for Leadership believes that these pains will produce a new generation of Nigerians that will deliver a new Nigeria.
“While it is important to celebrate excellence in leadership, it is equally important, if not more important to invest time and resources to raise a strong and credible successor generation of leaders for our nation, on a sustainable basis and across different sectors of our society.
“Our mission is to institute and project a truly Nigerian leadership prize that will inspire Nigerians to lead a life larger than self, driven by the interest of community, nation and humanity.
“It is our hope that it will grow to be the highest, most reliable, and prestigious single leadership prize in Nigeria shorn of politics, ethnicity and religious bias,” Anya said.
He urged the Federal Government to declare Dec. 12 of every year beginning from 2023 as a National Leadership Day, to demonstrate government’s disposition to redefine the character of leadership in Nigeria.
Dr Ike Neliaku, Executive Secretary of the NPL Governing Board, said nine leadership barometers were used to select the winner.
“The NPL did a very rigorous work using the nine leadership barometers that is used to measure performance in leadership. Before now there was nothing like that because awards are given to people based on whatever is their government doing.
“But we said that leaders must be measured and these barometers were developed by the best brains in Nigeria led by the late Prof. Ayo Ibidapo Obe and so many other prominent Nigerians.
“So, the measurement that was deployed was based on barometers of vision, creativity and innovation, competence, character, sacrifice, impact on society, governance, role modelling and mentoring as well as incusivity and diversity,” Neliaku said.
He said the barometers were the things they believed were very important to the country’s operating environment.
Prof. Jerry Gana who served as chairman, prize presentation, and former governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda were present at the occasion. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma