Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has said the overseas scholarship scheme of his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, was a scam.
Mr. Ganduje was the deputy governor to Mr. Kwankwaso. Both men have however been pulled apart by unresolved political differences.
Mr. Ganduje said instead of following due process to secure admission for the students, the government of Mr. Kwankwaso engaged the services of “a contractor”, who collected money from both the government and the institutions and turned the admission exercise into a racket.
“When they want to pay the bursaries of the students, they give the contractor, who in turn takes his share before remitting the money to the students. Similarly, when they want to pay the school fees, they send the money to him to take his share, then give the rest to the institutions”, the governor claimed.
The governor made the allegation while receiving the new leaders of the National Association of Kano State Students, NAKSS, on a visit.
He said such arrangement was fraudulent and unacceptable to his administration.
Mr. Ganduje said his administration would regularise the state’s scholarship process to make students continue with their academic endeavours without stress.
“While some state governments are bringing their students back home because of economic recession, we are sustaining the foreign scholarship scheme until our children complete their studies and return home,” the governor assured.
He said his government inherited a huge liability of unpaid scholarships for students in foreign universities, pointing out that although effort was made to settle some of the debt, about N3 billion is still being owed to the institutions.
On local scholarships, he berated his predecessor for not paying the teeming Kano students for four years running, saying so far, the outstanding claim by students in private universities alone is over N2 billion, apart from the amount due to students in public universities and other tertiary institutions.
Speaking on the Northwest University also initiated by the past administration, the governor noted that the project was at a standstill for two years, before his assumption of office. He said his administration has since asked the contractor to return to site and work is now progressing smoothly.
Mr. Ganduje urged the students to shun the machinations of those he said obstructed education instead of promoting it. He said there was evidence that the same people were in a group allegedly plotting against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his remarks, the new president of NAKSS, Aliyu Maikasuwa Rano, said students from the 57 chapters of the association fully supported the state government in cancelling the free education policy of the state, because it was unrealistic given the nation’s economic situation.
In a related development, Mr. Ganduje donated a new bus to the state chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, to facilitate its activities.
The donation was received by the council’s president, Kabiru Ado Lakwaya, who thanked the governor for the gesture.