Meet Arc. Sonny Echono: The Executive Secretary of TETfund

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of a distinguished ABU Alumnus, Arc. Sonny Echono, as the executive secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

Mr. Echono’s appointment is contained in a statement issued by the ministry on Friday and signed by its director of press, Ben Goong.

The immediate past permanent secretary, federal ministry of education who hails from Benue State will take over from the incumbent executive secretary, and another ABU Alumnus, Suleiman Bogoro, a professor of Animal Science, whose five-year tenure ends on March 18.

Who is Arc. Sonny Echono: The New Executive Secretary of TETfund?
Arc. Sonny Echono: The New Executive Secretary of TETfund
Arch. Sonny Echono: The New Executive Secretary of TETfund

Sonny Echono was born on the 16th December 1962 at Otukpo, Benue state. He had his early education at St. Mary’s Primary School, Otukpo before proceeding to graduate from St. Murumbas College, Jos as the best graduating student in the class of 1973-78 with a Division I in the West African School Certificate (WASC). He acquired his GCE A level at Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology, Makurdi in 1980.

He bagged a Bachelor of Science (2nd Class Upper) in Architecture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1983, Masters in Architecture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1985. He was awarded the Best Life project and followed this with the Best-All-Round Performance in the Nigerian Institute of Architects Professional Practice Examination in 1989.

He also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Management from the University of Calabar, an MBA from Benue State University, Markurdi in 2004, and a Masters in Procurement Management from the University of Turin, Italy, in 2011 among other qualifications.

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After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1986, Sonny Echono had a brief stint with the Benue State Housing Agency before joining the Federal Civil Service in January 1987.

Inspired by his father’s legacy of service and integrity as a quintessential civil servant, Ochono began his career in 1987 as Architect ad 1 with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing where he rose to Deputy Director 2005.

Within the said period, he served in different capacities including as secretary Implementation Committee on National Housing Policy, 1991-1994; Member/ Secretary, Special Project Task Force, 1992-1993; Acting Chief Executive Architect, 1993; Secretary Committee on Lands and Housing, 1994-1995; Assistant to Permanent Secretary, 1994-1995; Secretary, Ministerial Tenders Board, 2004-2005.

From 2007-2008, he was Deputy Director, Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU); 2008-2010 Director Procurement Federal Ministry of Defence; 2010-2011 Director Procurement Federal Ministry of Water Resources; 2011 Director Procurement Federal Ministry of Environment; 2014-2014 Director Procurement Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Architect Sonny Echono served as Director Procurement, Federal Ministry of Power 2014. Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture, 2014-2016. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications, 2015-2017. He was appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education in 2017 where he served until his retirement in 2022.

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A thorough bred Civil Servant, with nearly 35 years of exemplary service, Arc. Echono enjoys the admiration and respect of his peers.

He attended several management courses and workshops at top institutions across the globe including the University of Bradford, Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japan Institute of Development Studies, Indonesia International Law Institute, USA American Institute of Peace, USA Harvard Business School USA, etc.

The TETFund boss designate is the president of the Nigeria Institute of Architects, a body of professional architects founded to regulate the conduct of its members and ensure decency in the construction business in the country.

Membership of Statutory Bodies/ Council

  • 2015-2017 Chairman, Board of NIPOST
  • 2014-2015 Member/Chair board International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • 2010-2011 Member Board of International Institute of Tropical Agricultural
  • Insurance Corporation (NAIC)
  • 2010-2012 Council Member NESREA
  • 1993-2001 Council Member, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON)
  • 1993-2013 Member, Board of Architectural Education in Nigeria
  • 1993-1997 Member, Kings College Advisory Council

Professional Affiliations

  • 2017-Present, President Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA)
  • 2013 Fellow, Procurement Professionals Association of Nigeria (PPA)
  • 2009-2013 Fellow Nigerian Institute of Architects
  • 2009-2013 Chairman Disciplinary Committee, NIA
  • 1995-Present Member National Executive Council NIA

He is a recipient of several awards of excellence and commendation by the Federal Government as well as Professional and Management Institutions. He is widely traveled and has presented over 40 papers at national and international fora.

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Arc. Sunday Sylva Togo Echono is married and the union is blessed with children.

Described as an accomplished technocrat, Arc Echono brings to the job, a diverse wealth of experience spanning Infrastructure, business administration, procurement management, ICT, and the education sectors.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is an offshoot of the Education Trust Fund (ETF), which was established in 1998 as an intervention agency for educational institutions in the country.

TETFund came with the repeal of the ETF law in 2011 with the TETFund Act (2011) as “an intervention agency set up to provide supplementary support to all level of public tertiary institutions with the main objective of using funding alongside project management for the rehabilitation, restoration, and consolidation of Tertiary Education in Nigeria.”

TETFUnd derives its income from the two percent education tax paid from the assessable profit of companies that are registered in Nigeria.

The taxes that are collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) are remitted to the agency for the fulfillment of its mandate.

“The funds are disbursed for the general improvement of education in federal and state tertiary education specifically for the provision or maintenance of essential physical infrastructure for teaching and learning; institutional material and equipment; research and publications, academic staff training and development,” among other roles as may be deemed necessary by the board of tetfund.

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