Nigerians on social media have continued to react to claims by a first-class graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and current doctoral student of the University of Toronto, Chidozie Ojobor, that President Muhammadu Buhari sacrificed merit for federal character upon his election.
Ojobor had revealed how he and several other first-class graduates of institutions across Nigeria were shortlisted to take the Presidential Special Scholarship (PRESSID) designed by former President Goodluck Jonathan, exclusively for first-class Nigerian graduates who wanted to further their studies in any university across the world.
According to him, he had taken the examination with 16 of his colleagues who were also Graduate-Assistants at the UNN and being a computer-based test, each of them got to know their scores immediately.
He said in February 2015, the list of 101 successful candidates shortlisted for the scholarship programme was published in the national dailies.
Ojobor said he had already applied to Princeton University, Imperial College London and University of Toronto and had high hopes of clinching the $250, 000 (about N50,000,000 at the time at the rate of $1/N200) worth of scholarship.
He said there was, however, a twist in fate when Jonathan lost the presidential election to Buhari. Ojobor said shortly after Buhari was sworn in, he complained that there was no single northerner on it.
He alleged that Buhari kicked against the list because he considered it as an agenda of the South, which made him and others to lose such a huge opportunity.
How Buhari Rejected List Of Beneficiaries Of Scholarship Initiated By Jonathan Because There Was No Northern Beneficiary — First-Class Graduate
The scholarship was worth about $250,000 per person (tuition and living expenses inclusive across 5 years).
His revelation has continued to generate backlash as many Nigerians said such further demonstrates the president’s penchant for nepotism and ethnocentrism in his appointments.
Social media user, Adeyeye Olabode, claimed he knows about the scholarship scheme and the role President Buhari played. He stated further that nepotism will stunt the growth of the country.
He wrote, “The truth is that the North is still backward with education, and they must not drag the south backwards too. I know about the scholarship, and I knew so many beneficiaries of it until Buhari came and stopped everything.
“Things like this will not make Nigeria develop because we are talking about academic excellence, and they are still thinking about the quota system. In foreign countries, we have seen how so many Nigerians are excelling academically. How many are from the North? Anything that requires merit, let’s forget about dominance again.”
For Kelvin Igwe, merit has always been sacrificed not only in the academic world but even in other aspects of the economy.
He wrote: “Any nation that short-changes merit for quota system will fail. For instance, the federal high court judge nominated for ICC that doesn’t have basic knowledge of court proceedings, in the midst of eminently qualified judges.”
Adegbola Oluwatoyin said, “How can a people who have no regard for excellence and education produce first-class? It’s obvious in the way Nigeria is being governed. Can’t you see mediocrity everywhere? They can never give what they do not have. Religion does not produce excellence, they should embrace education unto transformation and abandon fanaticism and extremism.”
David Ologun opined that the Northern region is causing underdevelopment for the country.
He wrote, “Do you now expect a country that is run by nepotism and mediocrity to develop and advance… Anyone saying that north and south should be governed under one system of government should consider himself or herself as a terrorist… The north is dragging every region back.”
Emeka Okoye sympathetically wrote: “My brother, I’m personally sorry about what you people went through. It’s most unfortunate that we found ourselves in this mess. As you can see, the man who robbed you people of that opportunity, is a man who never had any certificate. He never went to school and as such, he doesn’t know the value of education. He didn’t know the meaning of losing a country’s best to another country. We are already suffering from the effect of capital flight caused by a bunch of mediocres in the position of power.”
Chris Chukwuchebe said, “Simply because his own Northern brothers didn’t pass the exam. So the position of a successful candidate was eventually given to a failure. Nigeria will never move forward.”
Bamituni Abamu explained, “What people have to understand was that this scholarship was different. It was based on merit for first-class students who were required to take an exam. No different cut off mark.
This means even first-class graduates from the North also took the exam but unfortunately failed. There was no nepotism in this. It was based on merit and not the quota system or federal character. The only nepotism came from Buhari. Those students were supposed to come back and help build Nigeria but Buhari has set us back once again with his nepotistic and bigoted views.”