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Published On: Tue, May 27th, 2014

NASS, NUC and contending issues over presidential scholarship

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NUC_NASSBy Maryam Garba Hassan & Umar Muhammed Puma

The House of Representatives, last week ordered the halting of award of foreign scholarship to some shortlisted candidates after the release of the 2014 batch list of successful Nigerians for the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) by the National Universities Commission (NUC) following controversies which trailed the process.

The release of the list by the PRESSID which attracted criticisms by Nigerians, in some quarters showed that 17 northern states were sidelined in the exercise, with the region producing only seven out of the 100 successful candidates said to have qualified for this year’s scholarship.

But the Executive Director of the NUC, Professor Julius Okojie, who is also Chairman, Implementation Committee of the scheme has insisted that due process was followed in the selection even as he said that successful candidates met the minimum requirements for the scheme, initiated by President Good luck Jonathan.

In his own reaction, he said, “The 39 candidates happened to be the best among the best and the essence of the scheme was to train professionals to drive the transformation agenda of the present administration and the goals of the vision 20:2020”,.

According to Okojie the candidates, upon graduation, would return to Nigeria to work for the government for five years before taking up any other appointment.

However, the criticisms were noted and studied by the House of Representatives which ordered stopping of the process of the awards of foreign scholarship to the Nigerians while it summoned the Chairman of the scheme and NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie for explanation on the matter.

It would be recalled that 2000 candidates applied for the scheme but only 623 candidates sat for the screening of the edition of the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) on the 10th of December, 2013 with only 36 passing the examination.

The candidates had applied for selected programmes in engineering, technology, sciences, basic medical sciences, medicine and economics among other fields, where the country was experiencing shortfalls.

Successful candidates of the scheme were asked to apply to study in any of the top 25 universities in the world approved for the scheme as indicated on the NUC’s Website.

The list has however continued to draw attention following concerns over the selection process of the successful candidates.

According to a document obtained by Peoples Daily, 19 out of the 36 states of the country recorded no single candidate in the final list of the candidates to be given the special scholarship.

The document showed that the entire states of the north-west and north-east regions recorded zero candidates; while north-central have 7 out of the 104 overall candidates for the scholarship scheme.

The states’ candidates list showed Abia having 4, Akwa Ibom 3, Bauchi 0, Benue 1, Cross River 0, Ebonyi 0, Ekiti 5, Gombe 0, Jigawa 0, Kano 0, Kebbi 0, Kwara 1, Nassarawa 0 and Ogun state 17.

Others are Osun 15, Plateau 0, Sokoto 0, Yobe 0, Adamawa 0, Anambra 7, Bayelsa 0, Borno 0, Delta 9, Edo 4, Enugu 7, Imo 7, Kaduna 0, Katsina 0 and Kogi 3. Others are Lagos 5, Niger 0, Ondo 5, Oyo 7, Rivers 4, Taraba 0 and Zamfara 0.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Education Rep. Aminu Sulaiman, while reacting to the list’s lopsidedness said the only seven candidates that qualified for the scholarship were taken from the North Central, “that is why we collectively agreed that the exercise must be put on hold until further investigation on the matter by the committee.

He said what happened in the selection process negates provision of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.

Rep. Aminu noted that the executive director of the National Universities Commission, okojie tried to interpret the provision of section 14 of the constitution by saying that the scholarship scheme was not part of that provision of the constitution.

“And I asked, what is his duty as a member of that committee? He is not discharging his duty as an agent of the federal government, is that not the duty he is exercising as part of the government and does that activity give him laxity not to respect the provision of the constitution of the federal republic?

Members of the committee were also not convinced as they expressed disbelief saying there was no criteria that is above the provisions of the Constitution, and therefore what the implementation committee did, stands to be “null, void and of no effect.”

The House has argued that no policy, no matter how well intended should violate the Constitutional provision of the federal character laws.

One of the aides of the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity said, the committee is still expecting the record of all the candidates that applied for the scheme from all the states of the federation and local governments and the report of the committee’s final meeting that decided on the released list as requested by the committee.

When asked whether the selection was done “purely on merit and not a deliberate attempt to short change any part or state of the country, Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Rep Aminu Sulaiman responded with barrage of questions. “Are you telling me that no student from the 17 states of the north merited the foreign scholarship? What are the criteria for arriving at the so called merit? How did they arrive at the so called merit decision? What is the scope of each participant? Adding, if it is on merit, we want to scrutinise the panel to know whether they are the best Nigerians, is it not also proper to know from you (journalists) that these are the people who merited the scholarship? He asked.

The Federal Character Commission on its part, while making clarification on the matter through its Secretary, Barr. Rex Ogbuku said the scope of the Commission covers only area of employment and promotion. In other words, the commission has no power to influence any program of an executive.

“Our primary responsibility has to do with appointment into the federal service and promotion, in line with federal character principle, we don’t deal with issues of scholarship, a President or Governor can decide to issue scholarship at his discretion”, he said.

Meanwhile, our investigations revealed that the House of Representatives committee on education has written to the NUC stating its position, asking it to also send the compiled list of candidates that applied for the scheme in the first place, those who sat for the exams and the marks obtained by each of the candidates at the end of the exercise.

Below is a list of the candidates offered the award by the NUC

S/No SURNAME FIRST NAME OTHER NAMES

1. OYEDOKUN JAMES TIMILEHIN

2. JACKSON INIMFON NSIKAK

3. OBONG-EREN UDUAK SANDY

4. ALABI-BELLO MUTIU ADEOYE

5. ODERINWALE TEMITAYO

6. ALIMI OLUBUKOLA SINAT

7. OWOEYE KEHINDE AYODEJI

8. BELLO ADESOLA TEMITOPE

9. ABDULWAHAB OWOYEMI IBRAHIM

10. BABARINDE OLUWATOBI FIYIN

11. UMUKORO CHARLES EGUONOGHENE

12. ONUOHA OGECHI BLESSING

13. UDEANI CHUKWUDI KENECHUKWU

14. BANDELE GIL OLAKUNLE

15. DADA MAYOWA JEREMIAH

16. JAMABO MIEBAKA

17. ATUCHUKWU CHIMALUME CHIBUZOR

18. AZUATALAM DONALD TOCHUKWU

19. BRAIDE SOYE SOBIOBO

20. NWODO MARTIN NNAMDI

21. NTUBE NZUBE STEPHEN

22. ALI REX NDUBUISI

23. OLANIYAN RICHARD AYOOLA

24. OYENI JUDE OBIAJULU

25. NNADI NNEKA CONCILIA

26. ADEWUMI OLUFUNBI MOTOLANI

27. MADUKA KEVIN OGOCHUKWU

28. EKWONU CHIGOZIE EMMANUEL

29. ONI OLAWOLE STEPHEN

30. JAYEOBA OLUWATOBI ADEWALE

31. AKINTAYO ADEDOTUN JOHN

32. DUROWOJU BOLUWAJI

33. FADAHUNSI OLAMILEKAN NOAH

34. ECHOMGBE KININYIRUCHI DAVID

35. OGANA NNABUIFE JOSEPH

36. IJEH IFEANYI PURITY

37. IDOKO EHIKOWOICHO AGBENU

38. UZOCHUKWU EBUBE CHIDINMA

39. LADIPO OLALEKAN AZEEZ

40. OLUKOYA OLUWAFEMI SAMUEL

41. OJO TEMITOPE

42. OLAYIWOLA GABRIEL OLUWOLE

43. UGWUANYI NDUBUISI RICHARD

44. MBADIWE SOMADINA CHUKWUKA

45. GIWA BABATUNDE HALAR

46. OLATUNJI OLUWATONI SEGUN

47. EMEDIEGWU LOTANNA ERNEST

48. UGWUOKE CHIBUIKE INNOCENT

49. NKWOCHA ELAINE ADAKU

50. OGBUNUZOR CHRISTOPHER CHINEDU

51. SHEKONI IDRIS ABIODUN

52. TOFADE TAYO OLUWASEYI

53. UDOH ETIM GABRIEL

54. IGBOKWE NNEOMA

55. MALIFE CHUKWUDIUTO UDECHUKWU

56. OGUNJEMILUSI RAPHAEL BUNMI

57. OKOROAFOR SOMTOCHUKWU CHIKAMSO

58. EZENWAJIAKU CHINONSO EMMA

59. BADMOS SAKIRU BABATUNDE

60. FOLARIN OLUSEGUN OMOTAYO

61. ADEYEMO AFEEZ TOMILADE

62. IMEDIEGWU CHIKWESIRI TOLU

63. KAREEM MUJEEB OLADIPUPO

64. ADEWOYE VICTOR TOLUWASE

65. ODUNOLA OLAWUNMI ESTHER

66. NNABUKO UCHENNA CHIOMA

67. IGENEGBAI VALENTINA OMOZE

68. AGBEBI TOLULOPE

69. AWORO OLUWAFEMI JOSEPH

70. ADESANYA MICHAEL ADEWALE

71. ADEYELU TOLULOPE TOSIN

72. AKINOLA OTITOALEKE GIDEON

73. TAJOMAVWO AUGUSTINE ERUTEJIRI

74. OKAFOR EZEWUZIE EMMANUEL

75. EPEBIYI TAIWO AJIBOLA

76. OLUWASANYA PELUMI WONUOLA

77. OYEKANMI SAMUEL DAMILOLA

78. IFANIYI AKINWALE

79. HASSAN BABATUNDE IDREES

80. OLUSOJI MOYINOLUWA JULIANAH

81. OFUEGBE JAMES KAYODE

82. OGHENEKOHWO TEGA PHILIP

83. OGBO EREZI, RUTH

84. SOMIARI IBUBELEYE

85. OSAHON ISAAC NEWTON

86. ADEKOYA TITILOPE EBUNOLUWA

87. SOYEMI ADELEKE EMMANUEL

88. ADEOYE OMOTOLA AYISAT

89. ADELEKE MARIAM OLAIDE

90. AKERE AISHAT MOJISOLA

91. BAKARE FOLARIN OLANREWAJU

92. ADELEYE DEBORAH NGUNENGEN, TITILOPE

93. IRINYEMI AYANFE STEPHEN

94. OLADIRAN OLADAYO ABIDEMI

95. BABALOLA OMOTOLA JAMES

96. IDUGBOE OKUNDAIYE STEFANO

97. CHUKWU OBINNA ALEXIS

98. TESLIM-BALOGUN ADEYANJU ASHABI

99. ALAYO QUAZIM ADEGBOLA

100. SHONEYE AYOOLA STEPHEN

101. IJAROGBE AYOOLUWA IFEOLUWA

102. OLARENWAJU OLAJUMOKE OLUWABUNMI

103. ADEYINKA TITILAYO RUTH

104. OSSAI ENWELIKU CALVIN

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