Architect Sunny Echono, the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says the Fund was ready to forge a relationship with the Pan Afrian University to push the African Union (AU) agenda and that of the university forward.
Architect Echono stated this in Abuja on Friday while playing host to a team of the African Union Commission for Education led by Prof Mohammed Belhocine, the Commissioner for Education who came on a courtesy visit.
The Executive Secretary said the Nigerian Government has also been working to promote technology noting that the country is in the process of establishing a national institute in Abuja.
“I should also let you know that the government of Nigeria actually think in that direction promoting technology and we are in the process of establishing a national institute here in Abuja. There will be a post graduate institution intended to promote the technological transformation of our country,” he said.
“The Pan African university also fits into this general framework and we believe the partnership will be there for us to be able to learn one or two things to attract values to the faculties. It will also be a huge opportunity for scholars to troop into the university.”
“I like to assure you that within the framework that we have, we will give you the maximum support to make that building functional and be put to use quickly.”
Speaking on the request for construction of more classrooms and procurement of laboratory equipment for the Pan African University at the University of Ibadan, Architect Echono gave assurance that the request would be attended to.
“I am aware because I have had a different brief on the subject. The relationship at the university of Ibadan and the sequencing of your request. But I can assure you that as soon as we get the request, having done the most important thing of starting, we should be able to build on that and also forge the right partnership that will encourage or enable us to push the agenda of the African union and indeed the institution forward.”
Speaking earlier, Prof Mohammed Belhocine said the Pan African University needed some assistance from the TETfund in terms of more classrooms, laboratory equipment and other areas.
He commended the work TETFund has done for the Commission earlier in March, the building housing the Pan African University at the University of Ibadan was commissioned saying, “that wouldn’t have been possible without your support.”
“We are very grateful for that. We are sure that it will create better working condition for our Pan African University and Nigeria has been one of the advocates for the creation of this university which is now 10 years of existence,” Prof. Belhocine said.
“There are four institutes in Africa which we are operating. One in West Africa in Ibadan, another in East Africa which is in Nairobi, the other one in North Africa which Algeria. We have one also which deals with governance and humanities, social science in Yaunde, Cameroon Central Africa.”
“And we are yet to launch the last one which is the space sciences in South Africa. Some discussion about privileges and immunities and we hope we will submit it soon as the 5th institute.”
Prof Belhocine disclosed that at a meeting with the Minister of Education it was agreed that either the Ministry or the TETfund should write a letter to the University of Ibadan.
“We held yesterday a meeting with the Minister of Education and we discussed with responsible people over there. And Mr. Buhari was with us yesterday. And it was agreed that Tetfund or Ministry of Education will write a letter to the University of Ibadan because the request of PAULESI comes through the University of Ibadan. Sometimes, the management university of Ibadan is reluctant to send a request which is not related to their own interests if I may say. So our request is stalled there,” he said
He explained that the Pan African university is very important noting that it brings young Africans together.
“So far thanks to the foreign institutes that are already operating. We were able to join more than 1,500 masters in different areas of focus. And more 400 PhDs were trained. And these people come from 50 nationalities.”
“That is, the most important thing for us is not like technical performance measurement. It is how we are bringing young Africans together. And when you them together for about three to five years, it means they happen to know each other better than in cultures, languages and the beliefs of the African countries. And this will create the real idea of Pan Africanism. It will become part of them.”