Arc Echono, ES TETFund

President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), GFCR, has approved the appointment of Architect Sonny Ochono as Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). 

He takes over from Prof. Suleiman Bogoro whose five-year tenure ends March 18, 20022.

This was contained in a terse statement made available last Friday by the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Mr. Ben Goong.

Architect Echono retired as Permanent Secretary, FME in January after spending 35 years in service.

The statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Arc Sonny T. Echono as the new Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). 

“He takes over from Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro whose five year tenure will end on 18th March 2022.

The man who many described as an accomplished technocrat brings to the job, diverse wealth of experience spanning Infrastructure, business administration, procurement management, ICT and the education sectors.

Prior to his appointment, he had served as Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education and Member, Board of Trustees of TETfund among other important national assignments.  

The newly appointed Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arch. Sonny Echono was born on the 16th of December, 1962 at Otukpo.  His father, the late Emmanuel Ochepo Echono, was a devout Catholic.  He had his early education at St. Mary’s Primary School, Otukpo before proceeding to Jos, then capital of Benue-Plateau State, to complete his primary and secondary education at St. Theresa’s and St. Muramba’s College, respectively.

At the latter, he led the Debating Society and Quiz Club, and was the best graduating student in the class of 1973-78 with a Division I in the West African School Certificate (WASC). He also excelled in soccer, basketball and volleyball.  

Following the demise of his father in 1978, Sunday abandoned his desire for academic pursuits abroad and later enrolled at the Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology (MUCAST), Makurdi for his ‘A’ Levels/IJMB. He was admitted to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1980 to study Architecture and graduated with a BSc. (2nd Class Upper) in 1983 and an M.Sc. 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. 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.

He was inspired by his father’s legacy of service and integrity as a quintessential civil servant. Between 1987 and 2005, Sonny Echono served in various management capacities at the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing including: Secretary, Implementation Committee on National Housing Policy -1991 to 1995Secretary, Special Projects Task Force – 1992 to 1995 Secretary, Committee on Lands and Housing-1993 to 1995 Chief Executive Architect in charge of Administration of the Department-1993 to 1994 Special Assistant to Permanent Secretary-1999 Head, Council Affairs and Parastatals- 2003 to 2004 Secretary, Ministerial Tenders Board- 2004 to 2005 With the advent of procurement Reforms in Nigeria, Sonny Echono was among the first set of civil servants deployed to the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU) or Due Process Office in February, 2015.

By 2016, he was appointed Head of Team ‘A’ with responsibility for procurement review and certification of projects for Ministries of Works and Housing, FCT Administration, Transport, State House, Defence, Police and all the Security Agencies.

His quest for personal development has seen him acquire the following additional qualifications while in Service: Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) – University of Calabar-2002 Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Benue State University – 2004 MSc, Procurement Management – University of Turin, Italy – 2011.

A thorough bred Civil Servant, with nearly 35 years of exemplary service, Arc. Echono enjoys the admiration and respect of his peers. During the period, he has been at the epicentre of Policy Formulation and Reforms in the Nigerian Civil Service and its agencies including: Review of Administrative Guidelines in the Nigerian Civil Service Harmonization of Financial Regulations with Public Procurement Act 2007 National Housing and Urban Development Policies National Maintenance Policy National Building Code and Fire Safety Code Procurement Reforms and Due Process Guidelines for Nigeria Modernization of the Nigerian Armed Forces Review of Federal Government Projects Implementation Framework/Manual Agricultural Transformation Agenda-Policy/Implementation National ICT Sector Roadmap and e-Government Master Plan, Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan, etc. Arch. Sunday S. T. Echono was appointed as a Permanent Secretary in the Federal Civil Service in October 2014.

He has served as Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (2014-2015), Federal Ministry of Communications (2015- 2017), and until his new appointment retired as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education (2017 to January 2022).Prior to his appointment as Permanent Secretary in October, 2014, Arch. Sonny Echono served as Director of Procurement in five key Ministries namely-Defence, Water Resources,Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Power. His Service to the profession of Architecture in Nigeria is equally impressive.

From being Secretary of the Admissions Committee in 1991, he rose to the position of Honourary General Secretary (HGS) in November 2001.

He chaired the Disciplinary Committee of the Institute for two successive terms from 2009 to 2013, when he was elected to the position of the 3rd Vice President. He attained the pinnacle of the profession when he was elected in November 2019.

He also served on several Boards and Councils including -Board of Architectural Education in Nigeria (BAE),Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, National Environmental Standards, Regulations, Enforcement and Administration (NESREA), International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) etc.

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

He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Founding Member and Trustee of the Procurement Professionals Association of Nigeria.

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 travelled and has presented over 40 papers at national and international fora. He had an impressive outing at the helms of affairs at the federal level. His humility, qualifications, influence, in-depth knowledge of governance was also unparalleled. Architect Sonny Sylva Togo Echono is married and the union is blessed with children.