A former President of Federation of Iwoland Students Union (FILSU), Obafemi Awolowo University Chapter, Comrade Sefiu Oladipupo has challenged the guidelines set aside by the State government of Osun in selecting beneficiaries of the bursary award programme rolled out by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Oladipupo, in a statement made available to OSUN DEFENDER yesterday, accused Oyetola of not sincere on supporting students, noting that the idea of using bursary to settle political supporters is a very poor concept.
He said Oyetola wanted to use the bursary to boost his chance at re-election, urging the Governor to be genuine about helping the students and not trying to use them for political benefits.
It would be recalled that the state Commissioner for Education, Hon. Folorunso Oladoyin, had few weeks ago said a total of 3,100 students benefitted from the bursary award, meaning that 100 beneficiaries are drawn from each of the 30 local governments and the area office.
But Oladipupo questioned the selection process of the beneficiaries, challenging the government to explain the public how it arrived at 3100 students and their identities.
He said: When the Commissioner for Education in Osun state announced that students in the state will begin to receive the bursary, I hurriedly went for the records to serve my curiosity. The thought that Governor Oyetola is supporting students after more than three years of neglect is enough prompting.
“Let us start with the numbers. According to Oladoyin, a total of 3100 students benefited from the bursary, meaning that 100 beneficiaries are drawn from each of the 30 local governments plus the area office. But the question that must agitate minds is how did the government arrived at that?
“As a one time students leader and an alumunus of two tertiary institutions in the state, Federation of Iwoland Students Union (FILSU), Obafemi Awolowo University chapter with the lowest number of an association of Iwo indigenes in tertiary institution has a population of almost three hundred (300) students. Let us not talk of the population of Iwo students in polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
“Oladoyin tried to answer that question when he explained that beneficiaries were drafted after “rigorous vetting and validation of the names of indigent Osun students spread across Nigerian tertiary institutions in the country.” What he however failed to tell the public is the arbitrariness that defines the whole process.
“Before now, bursary was seen as an intervention by the government to lighten the burden of learning in our environment, given the harsh economic reality facing many students.
“But that was not what happened. Students who had waged hope on getting the intervention were left disappointed. And this was because the process that produced beneficiaries was faulty, or to be blunt, political.
“Although Oladoyin wanted to pretend that that was not the case when he said “the list was generated by the association and validated by the Ministry of Education to fish out fake students”, what happened was entirely the opposite. While student bodies were allowed to nominate certain numbers as eligible beneficiaries, a larger percentage were rooted through the ruling party.
“It was so bad that some students dismissed the bursary as a mere political cover, as most of the beneficiaries are either members of APC or are believed to be favourable to the re-election bid of Oyetola.
“This is not to say that bursary is a wrong idea but the truth, as we can tell from the most recent experience, is that Oyetola is not sincere about supporting students. The idea of using the bursary to settle political supporters and raise new ones is a very poor concept.
“Oyetola will indeed be interested in exploring any opportunities to boost his chance at re-election, however, there should be a limit to the exploitation of the weak.
“Students deservedly need help and Oyetola as the Governor, should be genuine about helping them, not trying to use them for political benefit.
“Certainly, the talk of bursary to Osun students was nothing but the usual trick to deceive the public and send a false impression about the Oyetola government”.