As a keen observer of good governance, I am persuaded to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very cumbersome and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Kogites and the right thinking members of the society who are residents in Nigeria.
Since the issue is of utmost concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and writing through this medium would help to bring an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be able to resolve the issue of epileptic payment of salary and the delayed bursary payment that have bedeviled our dear state in recent times.
One of the hallmarks of a good government is the ability to meet the needs of its citizens as at when deemed fit. This is sine qua non to the betterment of any democracy in the world whether it is being practiced at the federal, state or grassroots level.
In 2017, the indigenous students of Kogi state across the federation registered for the annual Scholarship Scheme otherwise known as Bursary orchestrated by the Kogi State Government since the inception of the state in 1999. This system provides source of livelihood to the beneficiaries who constitute the indigenous students of Kogi state across the various tertiary institutions in the country.
It would be recalled that, the registration fee allotted for the exercise was fixed at the rate of N650.00 per student. The payment, which was done online through inter-switch mode of transaction and other various options made available allows the students to be bonafide beneficiaries of the supposed Scholarship Scheme provided by the state government.
Meanwhile, the New Direction government under your watch had earlier paid about 85% of the students who registered the previous year (2017) a token of N15, 000.00 for Law and Medical students respectively while other category of students received N11, 200.00 on 23rd of May, 2018 to be precised. This indeed was a welcome development on the part of the students, and Your Excellency earned a big applause for such a philanthropic move by your administration.
However, the narrative began to change dimension as soon as the students perceived the scheme as a way of gaining their goodwill particularly in relation to the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state. This has led many public commentators and analysts within and outside the state to perceive the system of payment as a political propaganda because, the premium value placed on the system of payment could not longer be envisaged as true within the confines of the scheme.
Bursary as the English dictionary succinctly put, is a monetary award made by an authority in return for the grant the individual is usually obligated to be given while studying at a period of time. Grant in this context suggests a transfer of property by deed or writing; especially, an appropriation or conveyance made by the government as a grant of property or of money; also, the deed or writing by which the transfer is made. Mr. Governor, this simply tells us that the payment of bursary in this context ought not to be optional but a matter of necessity that every responsible government in line with its mandatory obligation to the citizenry must do liberally.
Unfortunately, the modern terminology for 'bursary' in this part of the world rather suggests an act of 'I pay you, you pay me back' (i.e the payer expects to get a favour in return for the bursary paid to the payee) instead of the normal obligation that the government ought to fulfill without any hidden motive attached. The system has been bastardised so much so that we see the perceived abnormalities as normal while the normalities are alien to our culture. Oh! What a mumbo-jumbo! At this juncture, it is safe to say that, the true identity of bursary has been lost, and those that should clamour for a paradigm shift are the major perpetrators of this very unholy act.
To put into perspective, the students across the country took to the social media handles recently with the question on the bear, 'When will the bursary be paid?'. This protest is aimed at pressing home their displeasure over what they felt as 'impeachment of their fundamental rights', and in turn beckoned on all the stakeholders concerned come to their rescue. This every right thinking member of the society believes to be just course that should bring all together irrespective of political affiliations, religious beliefs, class, status, ideologies or norms to fight against the perceived injustice. the students ought to enjoy the dividend of democracy by getting what is constitutionally right to them as at when deemed fit, and shouldn't be something to politicise on the part of the government of the day.
Without mincing words, I write to draw your attention to the pressing issue at state, which I believe should be taken with kid glove if only the goodwill of the students must be well earned. Thus, the quest for good governance will not be achievable until the needful is done to tackle the root of the problem that must be reconciled around these two side of the coins - either the students get the supposed bursary arrears or the refunding of their hard earned money spent during the registration process would be best options for your government to choose. May God grant you the wisdom and political will to address the issue at the right time. Amen.
God bless Kogi!
God bless Nigeria!
God bless Africa!
August 2, 2019