A member of the House of Representatives, Bassey Dan-Abia, from Akwa-Ibom State, has accused the special adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, of nepotism in the selection of beneficiaries of this year’s special scholarship programme for youths of the Niger Delta.
The lawmaker said that youths ofAkwa Ibom State, the biggest contributor to the nation’s oil revenue, were marginaliised in the selection and demanded for an immediate review of the process.
He said the scholarship scheme which was put together to assist brilliant students in oil producing states to acquire university education, was skewed against his state while other states, especially Bayelsa and Ondo, where Kuku hails from, were unduly favoured.
Dan-Abia said in a pressed statement on Sunday that out of the 254 names released by the office of special adviser on Niger Delta, only three slots were allocated to Akwa-Ibom, while Bayelsa State got 101 slots, Delta State had 55 slots, Ondo State won 43 slots, Edo state got 10 slots, Imo state got 10 slots and Rivers state got 28 slots.
“What is the volume of Ondo State’s contribution to oil wealth that the state should be given preference far and above Akwa Ibom state in the scholarship scheme?” he questioned.
A key requirement for the special scholarship is a minimum cut off mark of 180 at the University Matriculation Examination conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB.
“Is the office of Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta telling Nigerians that only three persons from Akwa Ibom state scored 180 and above in the last JAMB examination? Is it that not a single girl of Akwa Ibom origin scored as much as 180 in the examination?” Dan – Abia queried.
He noted that the least person among the three selected Akwa-Ibom beneficiaries scored 211 marks, while in other states which received more placements, candidates got as low as the minimum 180 cut off mark.
The lawmaker also pointed out that although the scheme is meant strictly for students who sat for and passed the JAMB examination, “a student from Edo state who obtained Direct Entry form was allotted a slot on the scheme while two others from Ondo State were also given the privilege.”
He therefore requested that a review of the scholarship programme be carried out in view of the lopsided selection against the state.