From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
The immediate past governor of Kwara state, Dr Bukola Saraki has donated his N45 million pension arrears as the former governor of the state for a scholarship scheme to assist indigent students in the tertiary institutions in the state.
Saraki who kicked-off the scheme titled “Abubakar Bukola Saraki Students Foundation (ABSSF)”,
said, he would start it with 100 students and would continue like that annually.
The former governor in a statement by his media aide,Mr. Bamikole Omishore said “this scholarship initiative by Senator Saraki is aimed at improving the access of promising young Kwarans to scholarships for their education; enhancing the effective engagement of students in academics; creating opportunities for under-privileged students to participate in the learning process; and, promoting civic engagement amongst scholarship recipients to better their respective communities.
“Senator Saraki, who served as a two term Governor of Kwara State, and as the Chairperson of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) during his tenure, has also announced that he will be donating his accrued pension arrears from the time of his governorship, (45 Million Naira) which he has not taken a kobo of, to kick-start the start-up funding of the foundation.
“Senator Saraki has also committed his future pensions from his time as a governor towards this initiative, to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the program.
“Recipients of the ABS scholarships will also be mandated to dedicate at least 4 hours of their time each month in the development of their immediate communities.
“Under the guidance of ABSSF supervisors in the various institutions, recipients will be tasked with developing community programs such as after-school tutoring classes for primary and/or secondary school students in the community. The aim of the ABSSF is to maximize the impact of the scholarships for not only the benefit of the recipients, but also the benefit of the recipients’ immediate community.
“The official launch of the ABSSF was announced in Kwara on December 19, 2014, concurrently with the birthday celebration of the Senator.
“To ensure that the ABSSF is well-funded even after the initial start-up funding is covered by the Senator’s pension, the programme will be incorporating an ‘Adopt a scholar’ initiative for friends and associates of Senator Saraki to help contribute to the program. Each year, these friends and associates will receive a profile of scholar in the program, with an itemized list of the scholars needs and be asked to adopt the entire cost of funding the scholar for the year, or adopt segments of the associated cost of sending that scholar to school.
“Senator Saraki hopes that other well-meaning Nigerians will see this as a call to action to promote opportunities for young Nigerians in their communities”.