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PFN president, Obaseki urge TETFUND to extend funding to private varsities

By Waliat Musa (Lagos) and Michael Egbejule (Benin City)
22 November 2021   |   4:01 am
The President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, have called for a review of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment, etc.) Act of 2011, to enable private tertiary institutions benefit from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, have called for a review of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment, etc.) Act of 2011, to enable private tertiary institutions benefit from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

Delivering the inaugural Archbishop Benson Idahosa Memorial Lecture at the Legacy Campus of the Benson Idahosa University, Benin City on the Role of Faith-based Universities in National Transformation, Oke noted that faith-based universities had made significant contributions, not only in the area of human resource development but in other aspects of national development by becoming major drivers of economic advancement in Nigeria, as graduates from their institutions play outstanding roles in the different sectors.

A statement by Simbo Olorunfemi, Director, PFN Media Affairs, quoted Oke as citing, in particular, the contribution being made by graduates of faith-based universities in the area of financial technology solutions and entrepreneurship development in the country. He mentioned some of the graduates of faith-based universities such as Paystack founders, Sola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi; Sycamore founders, Babatunde Akin-Moses and Onyinye Okonji, as well as founders of Piggyvest and Thrive, among others.

Oke expressed the view that the huge and sacrificial investment in human and material resources by proprietors of the private institutions, which has created a more conducive teaching and learning environment in the universities, as well as stable and predictable academic calendar they run, are partly responsible for the level of success being recorded.

He submitted that greater progress could be made in the development of tertiary education if support offered by TETFUND is extended to private tertiary institutions.

He suggested that the way private sector players in banking, aviation, agriculture and other sectors have received different forms of support and funding, so too should education, which, according to him, is a more critical sector, with foundational role in driving national development.

IN his remarks, Obaseki argued that the contributions to TETFUND were not from government alone, saying “it is derived from taxes paid by Nigerians across the country. So, I think private universities should also be eligible, even if you have to put conditions, such as some standards of excellence.”

He noted that to encourage excellence in universities, the right thing to do is to open up the fund for both private and public universities.

He said: “Today, it is clear that Nigerian men of God have dominated the African continent. That foresight manifested his (Idahosa) push for a faith-based university. Can you imagine what university lectures would have been without faith-based universities?”

The Archbishop Benson Idahosa Memorial lecture is the first to be held in memory of the iconic preacher and founder of the Church of God Mission International, Archbishop Benson Idahosa, who was described by T.L. Osborn as the greatest African Ambassador of the Apostolic Christian faith to the world.

In attendance at the lecture were three former national presidents of PFN, Pastor E. A. Adeboye, Pastor Ayo Oritesjafor and Rev Felix Omobude.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the university, Prof. Pat Utomi, commended Oke for the lecture and stressed his call for the expansion of the TETFUND window to accommodate private tertiary institutions.