Why we gave scholarship to ABU’s best graduating student, not others – NNPC

ABU Zaria
ABU Zaria gate used to illustrate the story. (Photo taken by Idris Ibrahim)

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said it awarded scholarship to the best graduating of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, and not to those of other universities, mainly because the university was the only one that invited the corporation to its convocation.

It also listed other criteria for the award.

NNPC awarded a full postgraduate scholarship to the 2016/17 best graduating student of the school, Al-Amin Bugaje, on November 26, 2017, a gesture that triggered agitation.

Mr. Bugaje, 23, bagged a First Class degree in Electrical Engineering with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA, of 4.93 to emerge the university’s overall best graduating student.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Maikanti Baru, announced the scholarship; noting that Mr. Bugaje would be sponsored to further his education up to Ph.D. level in any institution in the world.

However, in other universities, there were other students who bagged similar grades like Mr. Bugaje.

Samuel Ogunlana was the overall best graduating student in 2017 of Crawford University, Igbesa. The Political Science graduate had a CGPA of 4.94.

Similarly, Aarinola Olaiya, a 28-year-old from Obafemi Awolowo University emerged the 2017 overall best student from the medical school of the university and will become the first person to graduate with distinction in Surgery from OAU since 1989.

Also, Joseph Ogunmodede, the best graduating Law student of the University of Ibadan, 2015/2016 academic session had a first class degree.

When asked for the criteria for the award of the scholarship, NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu said the first criterion is that the student must have read science and technology based course.

“NNPC is a national oil corporation owned by the federal government of which you and I are stakeholders there. Sixteen years ago, we introduced the scholarship scheme by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and this is being managed by the group public affairs divisions. So any student drawn from the 774 local governments of this country that emerges first in NNPC quiz competition will definitely get the scholarship,” he said.

According to him, the corporation has been awarding scholarships on a yearly basis since 2001 for both primary and secondary school students.

“So we decided to go from university to post-graduate studies and we decided to experiment with Ahmadu Bello University. The student that emerged the best in Engineering incidentally was the over-all best graduating student, so, we picked that student,” Mr Ughamadu said.

He said another thing that qualified ABU for the scholarship was that the institution ‘specifically’ invited NNPC to its graduation. He said if other universities had invited NNPC to come for their convocation ceremonies, they may have gotten similar awards.

“There was a letter from the Vice Chancellor of the University inviting the group managing director of NNPC to the 40th convocation ceremony of which we were a there and witnessed this young chap who scored 4.93. We have started with Ahmadu Bello University, perhaps next year if there is any other university in the country that invites the group managing director to witness their convocation ceremony and the person emerges both in a science and technology related programme and is overall best student then we will do something,” he said.


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  • Bash

    Hope the GMD will be available for the deluge of invitations that will arrive his office henceforth!

    • dave jacob

      The Deluge will be a child’s play!!!

  • Bassey Frank

    This is a very unreasonable response. The truth is that Buhri kinsmen are controlling NNPC, so they can do whatever they like with it.
    The Scholarship is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is the NNPC GMD saying they were invited to all the CSRs they carried out in the country? Is the award not for human capital development of Nigerians? Must NNPC be “invited” before it could extend such gesture to other parts of the country? When GEJ introduced a scholarship scheme for outstanding Nigerian graduates ON MERIT, it was the Northerners that challenged it and demanded for Federal Character, the lousy avenue that has given them undue advantage over other better candidates in everything in Nigeria. It was this kind of development that led to the following skewed structure in NNPC:

    1. Shaibu Musa – MD, NNPC Medical Services
    2. Ibrahim Birma – Group General Manager, Audit Division
    3. Ahmed Katagum – Group GM Shipping
    4. Kallamu Abdullahi – Group GM, Renewable Energy Division
    5. Dr Bola Afolabi – Group GM, Research & Development
    6. Adeyemi Adetunji – MD, NNPC Retail Division
    7. Usman Yusuf – Group GM, NNPC GMD Office
    8. Bala Wunti – in charge of Corporate Planning & Strategy
    9. Umar Ajiya – MD, Nigerian Products Marketing Company
    10. Muhammed Abah – MD, Warri Refining Petrochemical Company
    11. Malami Shehu – MD, Port Harcourt Refining Company
    12. Adewale Ladenegan – MD, Kaduna Refining Petrochemical Co (dormant)
    13. Diepriye Tariah – MD, Integrated Data Services
    14. Rland Wubare – GM National Petroleum Investment Services
    NOTE: Maikanti Baru – still GMD, NNPC.
    Isiaka Abdulrasaq – GMD Finance & Services
    Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari – Petroleum Minister

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    Brainless reasons. There are other students of science-based courses from other regions of the country who graduated with first class degrees from universities in other regions of the country. Northerners are just getting the most from our warped system without contributing anything to the national purse. Little wonder, illiterate certificate forger and perjurer Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t want to hear about restructuring.

  • thisnigeria

    OMG! So the group managing director of NNPC must be bribed with invitation to a university convocation for the student of such university to qualify for NNPC scholarship? The government is fighting corruption indeed.
    And by the way, this group managing director is most likely to be an alumnus of ABU and probably why they invited him. And must he be invited every year by every tertiary institution in Nigeria? What time will he have to do his job or may be there is nothing really much to do as NNPC group managing director?

  • Abdussalami Yaro

    Yes, the last one has come for me leave the Nigerian social media fora, for good. I can certainly swear that, our problems, as a united country, will never be solved. The flames of hatred is daily being fanned with this kind of thinking passed to us through DNA, from our forefathers. I have been saying this, time without number, that this union between different nationalities, called Nigeria, is no longer workable. The best option to try, is to DISINTEGRATE peacefully. There is nothing one will do in this country, without giving it a negative meaning based on ethnic and religious line. Even if the NNPC MD is from the southern part of the country and he picked the present overall best student from ABU, I am will not be spared from criticism. Why? Because the university is from the North. In this case, NNPC should never have appeared to be apolygatic

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      NNPC belongs to the Nigerian state and any awards must be transparent and open to all. The man has no right to spend the money belonging to all Nigerians and obtained mostly from the South south in such an clearly non transparent manner.

      • Fada4Life

        There is what is called corporate social responsibility. …… Oga Dele you fall my hands this time

    • Defender

      As much as I agree with you that there is so much hatred and the country has become highly polarized. The reasons given by the NNPC is so weak and unacceptable. In a country like ours, any public official should always evaluate the consequences of their actions and inactions. It would have been more appropriate if the issue of inviting the GMD of the corporation did not come up at all. NNPC has a corporate-social responsibilities to fulfill, and these must cut across board. As such, I wouldn’t insinuate that the award was based on nepotism but rather due to insensitivity of our public office holders. It is high time we stopped high-handedness in our public offices. My take on this issue.

  • man

    what sort of response is this? what sort of people are this? after kachikwu expose the bilion scandal, this is just to see how we will response for their next criminal move.

  • man

    can someone remind this baru that nnpc is not his private company. so the board will approve this?

  • Rev

    Liars inc

  • Ayinde

    Talk as if NNPC is the personal Property of Maikanti so if he is not invited and their Graduating Student out perform that of ABU he would not be deserving. Mere Excuses.

    • FineBoy

      He is the CEO and he calls the shot.
      He was invited and not you.
      He gave an award which can’t be reversed.
      Try do same and you will be charge for deception.

  • Osasu Obaretin

    this report is inconclusive. the best graduating student in uniben for 2016/17 session ( igbo boy) read engineering and had 4.95 as CGPA.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    When Nigeria effects a change of baton at the federal level of government, many of these Nigerian institutions, that is, the NNPC and similar ones, will be visited and reasonableness will be employed in appointing their heads. Buhari has only succeeded in killing these institutions and parastatals by filling them with people from only his part of the country. What a shame!

  • Ezekiel. J.

    No excuse this is another Nepotism by Baru.

  • Arabakpura

    They have opened up another trouble! You will be tired of receiving invitations henceforth and prepare a budget for this scholarship because there will be many!