8th August, 2012
The attention of the Arewa Consultative Forum has been called to a most curious list of candidates published in the newspapers this week who are said to have qualified for the award of a presidential scholarship for innovation and development. It is a project being implemented by the National Universities Commission.
The scheme is designed to train and develop young Nigerians to become entrepreneurs capable of creating jobs, wealth and progress.
However, although the list released by the NUC is on a state by state basis, it is not at all clear that the Commission wanted candidates to come from all parts of the country. The criteria used to select the candidates appear designed to exclude those from the Northern states. It certainly enabled the NUC to ignore the national consensus on inclusiveness and balance of competing demands among groups and areas of the country. If the NUC had permitted itself to be guided by the need for balanced development of Nigeria, it would not have nominated a preponderance of candidates for this vital programme from Southern states to the near exclusion of the North. Oyo state, for example, has 52 candidates while, Sokoto, Yobe, Cross River and the FCT have nil candidates each. The list itself is explanatory.
If it is a mistake, NUC should take immediate steps to correct it. As presently implemented, it is a disservice to the very objective for which the scheme was set up and to our aspirations as a people.
Anthony N. Z Sani
National Publicity Secretary
NATIONAL UNIVERSITIES COMMISSION
Presidential Special Scholarship for Innovation Development
List of candidates shortlisted, 2012
3. Cross River