By Our Correspondent
Following widespread outcry from parents and students studying in many tuition-paying federal universities, Jigawa State Governor Mal. Umar Namadi graciously agreed to review the state’s long-standing scholarship award policy by directly offsetting the entire cost of registration for all Jigawa State indigenes studying in selected Universities.
However, this came after the registration process had already begun.
By the time the new Jigawa State policy came into effect (commendably not long after HE’s pronouncement), students were almost immediately issued letters of authorization by the Jigawa State Scholarship Board to present to their respective university bursary departments in order to proceed with registration.
Unfortunately, however, the Bursary Department of Bayero University Kano (BUK), which has the highest enrollment of Jigawa state university students, refused to honor the letter on the grounds that (as of last week) the BUK authorities had not reached any agreement with the Jigawa State government regarding the settlement of registration fees. As a result, all such students were turned away and refused to be allowed to proceed with registration. As of the time of writing this brief, I have been reliably informed that BUK has closed its registration portal.
Based on the above, I have made the following assumptions:
Given the bureaucratic processes involved in withdrawing government funds, particularly of the huge magnitude that the Jigawa State government is committing, the Jigawa Scholarship Board should have proactively engaged the authorities of the relevant universities in order to reach an understanding that would allow affected students to
proceed with their registration upon producing a letter of authorization from them. Unfortunately, this was not done.
I am not even sure that the Jigawa State government, given the speed and holistic manner in which they agreed to settle the registration issue (even the university authorities are aware that many students will ultimately be unable to pay), should have seized the opportunity to extract some discounts/concessions from those select universities, which would have significantly reduced the size of the burden.
High-ranking Kano State government official confided in me that the 700 million naira paid by KNSG for 7,000 BUK students was the product of an agreement reached with BUK to allow every Kano State student to pay a flat rate of 100,000 naira, regardless of their course of study. Imagine how much the JGSG would have saved if it had done the same.
Although it may seem belated, it may not be too late for the JGS Scholarship Board to engage in constructive dialogue with the select universities in order to allow Jigawa State indigenes to proceed with registration upon producing their letter of authorization, convincing them with a credible payment schedule.
The Jigawa State government may also attempt to extract some appreciable discount from all of the select universities, similar to what they did to Kano. I am not sure if it is not too late, but there is no harm in trying.
We pray that Allah SWT will continue to guide and support Governor Mallam Umar Namadi, in his determination to ease the hardship that is weighing heavily on the good people of Jigawa State. With Allah’s support and guidance, no obstacle is insurmountable.
Bala Abdullah Gaduwama, from Ramin Hudu Quarters, in Hadejia Metropolis, of Jigawa State.