In this write up, I want to talk about an angel in a form of a teacher and a civil servant that his roles manifest in the joy of people. This human builder and a pacesetter for a better Nigeria, is Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) because in him I found compassion, love, vision, empathy and undivided nationalism spirits for Nigeria and all Nigerians.

This writeup is not about praise singing or trumpet blowing but it is about appreciations for nationalism, and, also, as a pacilatative way to encourage other Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to put hands on deck and follow suit in the contribution of making a better country for all of us.

A Nigerian Hausa adage says, “to appreciate a hero is a must” and it takes courage and sacrifices for a leader to deliver on the requirements of service, most especially in Nigeria where tribalism, religions yardsticks and sentiments are used to dagger good works.

There are many people in Nigeria that worked and are working tirelessly to add to the beauty of this dear nation. The people are always passionate to contribute to the development of this country. These kind of people that have Nigeria in their hearts not in the mouth can sacrifice their happiness for others to be, and can sacrifice almost everything for the people to be happy. In their process of building a good society and a prosperous nation, they endure pains as they walk on thorns through the ways of progress. Sometimes, they are abused and sabotaged just because they want right things to be done, they endure everything and forge ahead to the promised point. Though, appreciated by few but their goals are to extend their favors to even their saboteurs because their target is for the comfort of all without exception.

For the good sacrifices of every good Nigerian that puts truth and sincerity above all and for the pains and the nightmare they undergo, my fervent prayers to those Nigerians will never cease to be with them, because they remain the light that shine the darkest ways through our progress. These good people are the freedom of other people’s turmoil and the progress of other people’s labor.

Truly, these kind of people are very rare to get but few are around us in form of ladders; God use them to extend his compassion and love to his helpless people. In the past we have Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Abubakar Tabawa Balewa, Herbert Macauly, DR Nnandi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo whom their sacrifices will never be forgotten in Nigerians’ hearts, in this moment, Nigerians will never forget to remember the Governor of Maiduguri as an outstanding performing governor in Nigeria. Babagana Umara Zulum is a leader that gave his life on many occasions for his subjects to smile and live. He is indeed a politician of unequal comparison. He is like a rain in August. He took many risks just for him to render his services in accordance to the scriptures of the land and the prayers of Nigerians and the guidance of God protected him.

The people that have this nation at hearts are in various places and they come in different forms; they are in forms of journalists, as politicians, as teachers, as farmers, as traders, as police, as  students, as civil servants and as soldiers that give their lives for others to live, in fact they can appear in any form for salvage the masses.

In this write up, I want to talk about an angel in a form of a teacher and a civil servant that his roles manifest in the joy of people. This human builder and a pacesetter for a better Nigeria, is Professor Idris M. Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) because in him I found compassion, love, vision, empathy and undivided nationalism spirits for Nigeria and all Nigerians.

Born in March 1958 at Bugaje, Katsina State, Prof Idris Bugaje holds a Bachelor’s and M.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University obtained in 1980 and 1988 respectively as well as a Ph.D. in Energy Engineering from the University of Newcastle-Upon- Tyne, UK in 1993.

After serving the NYSC with NNPC Refinery, Warri, Bugaje started his career with the Nigerian Paper Mills, Jebba from 1981-1983, Energy Research Centre, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto from 1983-1988 and Kaduna Polytechnic as Lecturer I and rose to the rank of Senior Lecturer and Head, Department of Chemical Engineering between 1988-1995. He joined the services of Ahmadu Bello University in 1995 and two years later left for the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1997-1999). He returned to ABU Zaria in 1999 as Reader (Associate Professor) from where he was appointed Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa in 2000.

At the end of his tenure in 2004, he proceeded to the University of Johannesburg, South Africa on a one-year Sabbatical in the Department of Chemical Engineering after which he returned to his employers; ABU Zaria and served from 2005-2008. While at ABU, Zaria, he was the Founding Chair, Renewable Energy Research Group (2006-2008), Head of Department of Chemical Engineering (2007-2008) and Dean, Faculty of Engineering (2007-2008).

Prof Bugaje was appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering in 2006 by the University of Maiduguri but joined only in 2008 to become Dean Faculty of Engineering in 2009. In 2011 he was appointed Director-General of the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria.

Upon the successful completion of his tenure at NARICT in 2016, he went for a one­ year Sabbatical leave with- the Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina and towards the tail end of the sabbatical, he was appointed Rector of the famous Kaduna Polytechnic in October 2017. In April 2021 he was appointed Executive Secretary of the NBTE.

A scholar of international standing, Prof Bugaje has over 68 publications (Journals and Books) and 64 as conference and seminar papers, with Google scholar citations as at January 2021 totaling 1086. Prof Bugaje’s major research area is Renewable Energy especially the area of Biofuels.

With five patents to his name, Prof Bugaje, a COREN Registered Engineer is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (FNSChE), Fellow Solar Energy Society of Nigeria (FSESN) and Fellow, Materials Society of Nigeria (FMSN). He has received several awards in his 40-year service to humanity.

On the day of assumption of duty as the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) Professor Bugaje unveiled a 3Ss Road Map for the Board, the 3Ss agenda namely; Scheme of Service, Skills, and the NBTE Spirit set to inject new life and fresh blood into the helpless NBTE.

In four months setting the ball running to the court, Prof. Bugaje succeeded in the creation of six NBTE Zonal Offices across the Federation to harness all NBTE potentials and for speedy delivery of services to reduce burden and redundancy of staffing.

To buttress his point on staff training and retraining, Bugaje indulged NBTE staff to Industrial Training Programs (SIT). The target is to boost staff competency and improve their technical know-how in the field of work. The training  which is of six-month to one year, with payment of full salary as well as additional allowances during the period was to take the NBTE to the upper level. However, as part of his vision to revolutionized the Board, Bugaje approved the training of the staff as facilitators for the implementation of Open, Distance and Flexible eLearning (ODFeL) and 118 staff were trained on cyber security.

As part of his mandate to resuscitate and adopt the technical and vocational education to its pipeline. The NBTE set 2023 as the deadline for all polytechnics in Nigeria to have established well-equipped and functional skills development centres to realized the Polytechnic and technical schools objectives. Upon this, Bugaje gave a new theme for the NBTE. The theme “Skills Not Degrees” is purposely to put all monotechnics and Polytechnics to their direction.

Under his guidance and directives, NBTE redesigned and reprogrammed modern and up-to-date teaching and practical curriculum for Nigerian technical and vocational schools.

As a law abiding Nigerian, staff of the Board are promoted in due time and at the right time as stipulated in the Civil Service Rule guidelines, for this all NBTE staff are very happy for having a leader whose feeling is not for himself alone but for all.

In his mandate, to reduce unemployment rate in Nigeria. Now as the NBTE E.S, Prof. Bugaje is using polytechnics and monotechnics to extend helping hands to out-of-schools children, and the training and retraining programmes of craftsmanship improved apprentice productivity (Panteka Market and others are case study).

The launched of a National Skill Qualifications, NSQ, level 3 for articulated vehicle driving for truck drivers, and lorry drivers among others is a great effort introduced by NBTE to sanitize our roads from accidents, and a golden opportunity for Nigerian truck-drivers to excelled in the world.

Another tremendous giant stride of Professor Bugaje in the NBTE, is the establishment of the NBTE TVET exhibition hall. The Institutions Research and Innovation hall is meant to showcase, exchange and disseminate knowledge on all research works that can be commercialized as a tool or key driver of the nation’s economy, also, the exhibition hall will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and innovations among all stakeholders, researchers, practitioners, regulators and investors and it will provide a platform to promote TVET Institutions Research and Innovation commercialisable research projects to groups that may have little or no knowledge of TVET Institutions Research and Innovation Research Projects.

Everything now at NBTE is working for the progress of technical and vocational education base on its mandate of practical education, and since the assumption of Professor Idris M. Bugaje as the NBTE Executive Secretary, everything has changed for good and as the ball keeps rolling Nigerian vocational and technical education will reclaim its glory for the country and for the people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *