President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday began moves to woo states controlled by the All Progressives Congress in the South-West by allocating more presidential scholarship slots to them ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, who inaugurated the 2014 Presidential Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development in Abuja, announced that more scholarship slots were given to Ogun and Osun states, regardless of the fact that they are controlled by an opposition party.
Wike, who spoke at the ceremony where 104 first class students were selected nationwide to study in top 25 universities around the world up to Masters and PhD levels, said Jonathan had demonstrated that he was a detribalised politician from the scholarship selection process.
He said the President’s home state, Bayelsa; Vice-President’s state, Kaduna; and the state of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ebonyi, were deliberately left out in the scheme while more slots were allotted to some states controlled by the opposition parties, particularly Ogun and Osun states.
According to the minister, the Presidency also ignored the federal character principle, preferring to consider merit alone.
He said, “I have to let people know that this is the kind of leadership that we are talking about. How many Nigerian today will be sitting in his position as the President of this country, how many Nigerians today will be sitting as the Vice President and will see that where funds will be allocated to students from other states without their own states benefiting?
“For the sake of transparency, I want to tell you that some of the opposition states got the highest allotment.
States like Ogun got 17, Osun got 15, it is easy to sit down here and criticise, but this has shown a man that uses practical example to show his kind of leadership.