I got into the university the year Dr. Clement Isong was elected governor of old Cross River State, and for a good part of his four-year tenure, I enjoyed a scholarship of N600 (six hundred naira) per session. There was also a bursary of N400 (four hundred naira) for other Cross River students who did not have the scholarship. For me, the Isong scholarship provided the needed oxygen for my university education. The amount was enough for feeding, books and other personal needs. We were the happening guys at UNN then. Only Bendel students were so lucky because their governor, Prof Ambrose Ali, also provided such a generous scheme for them. May the Almighty God bless Dr. Isong for his thoughtfulness.
So I was almost overcome with emotions, when the Akwa Ibom State APC governorship candidate, Nsima Ekere, unveiled his blueprint yesterday and announced that he would, as governor, offer a bursary of N25, 000 to each Akwa Ibom student in tertiary institutions in the country. I remembered how helpful and important ‘the Isong money’, as we called it, was for my education, and how eagerly I looked forward to it every academic year. Similarly, I am very certain that the N25, 000 ‘Ekere money’ will be a major source of succour to the 40,000 Akwa Ibom students in tertiary institutions.
On paper, our government is supposed to pay a paltry N5, 000 bursary to each student these days, but Udom Emmanuel has never paid this. Even if he had been paying, this is just too dismal to make an impact. It is therefore important that parents and the students themselves should support and vote for APC in this election because N25,000 will help definitely a child graduate. If I could still remember the Isong scholarship over 30 years since I graduated, I know that in another 30 years, an Akwa Ibom man (or woman) will pay his own tribute to Nsima Ekere for his N25,000 bursary.