Akwa Ibom students and the state government may soon head to a collision course following the endorsement of Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term in the office by some students and over unpaid entitlements to students of the state origin.
This is as National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given the state government a seven-day ultimatum to pay outstanding bursary entitlements to students of Akwa-Ibom State origin in the tertiary institutions.
It is alleged that since the inception of Emmanuel administration in 2015, Akwa Ibom students in the tertiary institutions have not been paid N5,000 per student as bursary award.
Recall that some Akwa Ibom students had on Thursday, January 10 organised rally and endorsed Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term in the office, some students who waited for hours without seeing the errand person said to have collected the governor’s N31 million largesse to give them went on rampage in some streets.
A press release issued by in Uyo on Saturday, January 12 and signed by Comrade Danielson Akpan, NANS President, said they were aware of the purported students’ endorsement rally organised by the Senior Assistant on Students Matters to Governor Udom Emmanuel in connivance with those he called cult leaders in Akwa-Ibom State whose pre-occupation is to constantly praise sing with intent to defraud the government in exchange for filthy lucre.
The students issued a five-point demand to Akwa Ibom government to meet or be ready for a showdown with the students, asking the Governor to tender an unreserved apology to the people of Akwa Ibom state and Nigerian students for his administrative ineptitude which hitherto has jeopardised the academic future of all indigent Akwa-Ibom students on the altar of self aggrandisement.
The demands include Otobong Aquila and her cohorts should tender their unreserved apology in written form to both the leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and National Association of Akwa Ibom Students (NAAKISS) and publish same on national dailies for the grand deception and impersonation of Akwa-Ibom Students and the shame her fraudulent actions has wrought on Akwa-Ibomites.
Others are payment of the entitlements of workers vis pension arrears, leave bonuses, gratuities e.t.c without further advancement of lame excuses and publication of the debt profile, federal government monthly allocation, Internally Generated Revenue of the state as part of rendering account of stewardship to the people, ordering the Governor to desist from wasting our common patrimony on trivialities.
In a press release entitled GOVR. UDOM EMMANUEL STOP INSULTING THE SENSIBILITY OF AKWA-IBOM STUDENTS, Akpan noted that Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel out of desperation has twice in the last two months attempted to procure students endorsement with almost #100m through his SA on Student Matters and some cultists claiming to be students without any notable students leader leading any known students structure either in Akwa-Ibom State or Nigeria at large.
“The first attempt was during the International Students Day Celebration in November, 2018. The event was a flop as over #30m given through the SA Student was diverted into private pocket of the official and her cronies. Again, on 10th January, 2019, about #40m doled out by Governor Udom through Aquila Otobong for a solidarity walk was diverted leading to disruption of public peace and destruction of properties in the state for several hours before the police command was able to restore nomalcy. Surprisingly, this is Mr. Udom that has near zero achievement in the education sector.
“It is evident that since assumption of office nearly 4 years ago, no student of Akwa-Ibom origin has received bursary neither has any been granted scholarship. Our special students particularly in Medical and Law schools were not only neglected but made to suffer untold hardship in the pursuit of their highly expensive professional careers.
“Undoubtedly, it has become an embarrassing strategic fraud often initiated and executed by the SA on Student Matters, Ms.Otobong Aquila to merely assemble miscreants, cultists and thugs in the name of Nigerian Students just to extort the government for diversion into her personal pocket and that of her cronies. This infuriated the genuine students within the state to come out and challenge the governor for playing pranks with their future,” he lamented.
According to him, “It smacks our sensibility that the Governor could physically stoop so low, identifying with fraudsters and miscreants to always embarrass the great state of Akwa-Ibom and her responsible citizens. No wonder the deep animosity the students harbour against Governor Udom’s government. Isn’t it ridiculous that a Governor who claimed to have sacked 5,000 recruited secondary school teachers that would have boosted education development of the state due to paucity of funds can now dole out millions of naira monthly to procure imaginary endorsement from students?
“It is ungodly for Governor Udom to shamefully claim that gratuities, imprests, leave bonuses and pension arrears were jettisoned based on excuses of paucity of funds can now turn around to spend millions of naira in purchasing the support of these important citizens he brazenly abandoned since assumption of office.”
Akpan observed that “before the government of Mr Udom, Akwa Ibom indigenous students enjoyed constant bursary payment, regular scholarship, reasonable allowances for Medical and Law students. Under the previous administrations, particularly, under H.E Godswill Akpabio, all tertiary institutions in the state were well funded, infrastructural development of campuses was a topmost priority and workers welfare indeed was paramount.
“Unfortunately, none of these aforementioned is in place under Mr Udom, as he can best be judged as the current worst governor in education development in Nigeria.”
He warned that Nigerian students will automatically engineer a massive shut-down of government activities if government fails to comply with their demands.