To Gov. Okowa: Plight of scholars abroad
SIR: We are constrained to pen this open letter, to bring to your attention the plight, hardship and financial quandary students under the Delta State Scholarship Board, First Class Graduate Scholarship scheme, are currently faced with or plunged into.
As you are aware, the First Class Scholarship Bursary Scheme with the state’s most stellar students in focus, enjoys the benefits of top tier education and exposure, to make for human capital improvement and as investments for the future, in line with the ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ vision of a state excelling in all spheres.
In line with this vision, many graduates and professionals keyed into this program, convinced of the commitment and assurance of the state, both in advancing the education of its own, and making for future returns, with trained scholars, academics and internationally groomed professionals, making good the vision of taking the state to amiable heights in their chosen professions.
But alas, this has become a challenge and painful embarrassment by the day, as funds meant for this program have not been made available to most of us in the last twenty (20) months, with others in worse receipt states. Majority of us that are caught up in this are studying for our PhDs, with some in their final years, and others in their penultimate study years. We have explored all means to having this quagmire resolved, as enjoined by the board, with no indication of respite in sight, or any assurance to the contrary, and our conditions abroad have become dire.
At the moment, our Universities have served notice regarding default status of our fees, and have threatened, and with some others initialized, a withdrawal process, and nullification of students’ visas – and consequently, deportations. In addition, a blacklist of the confidence standing of the scholarship board is already in effect while assurance/award letters have been dismissed as lacking trustworthiness. Already, meeting up with bills and maintenance has been fraught with embarrassing defaults, with county court judgments/injunctions and demands from creditors becoming an unsettling reality.
We’re not unmindful of the state’s financial situation, occasioned by the drop in revenue and allocations, and this has been demonstrated in the lead up to this route with steady and forbearing persuasions, formal and informal.
Again, we are pressed to plead that you employ your good office in having this issue attended to, with prayers that the said funds are made available to us so that we could, at the very least, have tuition and basic commitments attended to. It will also save the state and ourselves disrupted programs and broken lives. We trust that both as a father and leader, our welfare would be paramount to the administration, hence this plea.
Thank you, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for the steps you would take to rectify this anomaly. May God bless Delta State.
• Delta First Class Graduate Scholars