In his habitual way of discrediting his predecessor’s policies, Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has succeeded in pressuring the State Bursary And Scholarship Board, to finally terminate the 1st Class Graduate Scholarship Scheme which was given birth to by former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan led administration, HardReporters can authoritatively report.
The termination which has dashed the hope of about 233 MSc and PhD Delta students studying under the scheme in various institutions across the globe, was one of the big achievements of the Uduaghan’s administration which was given unprecedented attention and accepted by all Deltans.
It would be recalled that the Delta State 1st Class Scholarship Scheme was initiated by the Uduaghan’s administration in 2010 with the aim of training indigenous first class graduates up to MSc and PhD levels in topnotch research based universities in the world and since the initiation of the programme it was reliably gathered that, over 100 Delta state first class graduates have benefitted from the scheme.
However, immediately the Uduaghan led administration ended, the scheme began to experience series of set back from the incumbent governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration because of lack of interest, leading to the scrapping of the scheme before mounting pressures on the board to terminate and laid it to final rest.
In a letter of termination titled “Suspension Of 1st Class Graduate Scholarship Scheme” with Ref No DT/SB/611T2/52, signed by Comrade Elijah Ologe, Executive Secretary, Delta State Bursary And Scholarship Board, and obtained by HardReporters, gave prevailing economic situation bedeviling the state as its excuse of stopping the scheme.
The letter which read in parts said:
“I wish to convey the Boards’ resolution as it pertain to the 1st Class Graduate Scholarship Scheme, that due to the prevailing economic situation bedeviling the state, the scheme is hereby suspended. The Board is however aware of the fact that, most beneficiaries solely rely on this Scholarship for the payment of their tuition and other fees.
“Notwithstanding, the Board has to lay bare the plight of the state government as it can no longer cater for the scheme as a result of the financial downturn in the state. We regret any inconveniences this action may cause you. Signed by Comrade Elijah Ologe, Executive Secretary.”
A member of the board who spoke with our correspondent on the phone, said, the termination of the scheme followed pressure mounted on the board by the governor.
“Governor Okowa gave paucity of funds as an excuse but the truth is that he’s not interested in the programme which was conceived by predecessor. It will not cost the state much to continue with the programme. In recent times, the state has received several billions of naira but were channelled to other private activities. The governor is busy amassing wealth for his second tenure hence he’s doesn’t want to release fund.
“Few weeks ago, retirees protested over their entitlements. The governor is not bothered about anything. Even here in the board we are been strangulated with the same excuse of recession and economic situation meanwhile, Okowa and his men are busy amassing wealth. We all know that the state has money but in the hands of few persons close to the governor especially his relations and cronies. Its unfortunate.” the board member lamented.
Our correspondent reported that Governor Okowa had during his 2017 quarterly media interaction with Journalists in May at the press center, government house, Asaba, made it clear that government was no longer interested in the programme because of shortage of funds.
“Yes, it was a programme we met on ground but we are sorry to say, that the state government can no longer continue with that programme because of the current economic crunch.” Okowa stated.