June 12, 2009

Why I reviewed grants on overseas scholarships —Sylva

Yenagoa—Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State yesterday explained his administration’s decision to review grants on overseas’ scholarships for indigent students and employment into the state civil services, saying it was to help in developing existing education and business sectors in the state.

The governor noted that though previous administrations and the present had expended huge funds on issues of scholarship in foreign institutions and grant employment to natives without any use for such manpower, the present administration has decided to divert such funding on foreign study to the state- owned university and encourage self-employment opportunities in the state.

Speaking during his weekly phone-in programme, “Relax with Governor Sylva” on the state owned radio station, Glory FM, the governor pointed out that the increasing number of applications for state government scholarship for natives to study abroad has worked against the development of the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU).

He said government would have done better in its development effort if it had channelled the yearly revenue spent on payment of scholarships abroad to develop the NDU so that Bayelsa students could get qualitative education at home.

“Yearly, we received hundreds of application for overseas scholarships from Bayelsans, if we channel these huge financial resources we spent on our students scholarships abroad to the development of our own university, the institution would be a world-class university,” he stated.

The governor noted that the NDU has potentials to compete among the best, with its array of tested academics, stressing that all that it needed was a committed and well structured financial support, so that it could provide the much-needed platform for human capacity development.

Sylva, who spoke on a wide range of ills that had worked against the efforts of his administration at positioning the young state, also blamed some section of the citizenry for sabotaging the efforts of his administration to bring democracy dividends to the door step of Bayelsans.

The governor specifically lamented the out cry of many natives that his administration was not doing enough to empower the citizens, challenging his detractors to check out the names of contractors his administration had so far awarded projects in the last one year.

Sylva explained that the problem with many Bayelsans was that of laziness, saying that many people in the state don’t want to work, but want government to provide free money, which he had constantly reiterated his administration’s determination to stop.

“Many of our people don’t want to work, check out the contracts we have so far awarded, they were all awarded to Bayelsans, but do you know that many of them turn around and sold them out to outsiders?”

And the same people would come and say government had not done enough,” he said.

He called on the people to join hands with his administration to develop the state, stressing that infrastructural development was one area of priority his administration would continue to pursue vigorously.

On employment generation, the governor said the onus of evolving a culture of employment drive laid with the people who, he added, had to determine what they want.

According to him,   many Bayelsans have remained unemployed because they are “too selective.”