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.

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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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