Delta state government has again awarded scholarships to 412 post graduate and undergraduate students with a warning to the National Association of Delta State Students to stop threatening government functionaries as the state government was religiously committed to the programme.
The state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who gave the warning while presenting a cheque of about N74 million to the chairman of the state scholarship Board, Monsignor Buchi Aninye for distribution to the beneficiaries of the scholarship said government would not tolerate any act of intimidation from any student union body.
He stated that his administration have the capacity to deal with any student union body creating problems for the state saying “NADESTU should be of good behaviour and desist from threatening government functionaries”.
The governor explained that his administration was committed towards the development of human capital and as such do not want students in the state not to harness their potentials as a result of financial difficulty.
His words “This programme is to ensure that our youths do not use the excuse of financial difficulty to prevent them from going to school and attaining their God given potentials”.
Governor Uduaghan observed that the scholarship scheme process was transparent and based purely on merit saying “In this scheme lobbying is not allowed. It is purely on merit and it gives opportunity to all youths in tertiary institutions”.
Dr Uduaghan explained that there was no agreement tied to the scholarship scheme stressing that the awardees were not under any bond to work for the state government after their education.
He charged them to be good ambassadors of the state wherever they find themselves advising that they should always project the image of the state positively.
He also charged banks in the state to give scholarship to students as part of their social responsibility programmes to their host communities.
In his address, the Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha said the second phase of payment to awardees shows the state government’s commitment, sincerity and determination to religiously implement the scholarship programme.
He explained that the scheme was to give financial assistance to Delta state students studying in Nigeria Universities in order to up lift the standard of education in the state.
He said the scheme was not put in place for political reasons but to show the government passion for developing human resources.
“We need development but I think that in order to be properly developed we must be free. We cannot be truly free unless we are educated,” he said.
Prof. Eghagha said the sum of N645 million Naira was disbursed for the payment of bursary award for 2011 while about N100 million was disbursed last year for the award of scholarship to 367 undergraduates, 106 masters and 45 PhD students.
In a brief remark, the chairman of the scholarship board Rev. Fr. Buchi Aninye commended Governor Uduaghan for living up to his promise of sustaining the scholarship scheme saying that “It is not a political gimmick but the scheme is real and used to develop human capital”.
He charged the awardees to make good use of the opportunity by studying hard to graduate with good grades as the state governor also have a scholarship award for students who graduate with first class degrees.
Responding on behalf of the awardees Mr. Princewill Okereka a PhD student commended Delta state government for developing human capital and promised that they would not betray the confidence reposed on them
He informed the governor that all awardees in the scheme formed an Association known as “Delta state Awardees Association to contribute their quota in the development of the state.