Indigenes of Lagos State who are beneficiaries of Lagos State government scholarships and bursaries have never had it so good. In the past, students used to beg the state government to pay their outstanding scholarships and bursaries. However, under the new leadership of the Lagos State Scholarship Board, transparency and accountability have become the modus operandi.
The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Scholarship Board, Mr. Abdul Rahaman Lekki, has been instrumental in ensuring that the board’s operations are above board. Lekki has also made significant progress in clearing the backlog of scholarships and bursaries, as well as applications that were yet to be attended to.
In the last year of his appointment, Lekki and his team ensured that the initiative was established with the belief that every outstanding individual, regardless of background or socioeconomic status, deserved the opportunity to pursue their dreams through education. The board has also resolved to empower the next generation of trailblazers, problem solvers, and visionaries in the state.
Lekki has explained that the Lagos State Scholarship Board was established in February 1968 to support the well-being of indigenous students in higher institutions within and outside the country through the provision of scholarships and bursaries. Over the years, the board has steadily performed this responsibility, and in the last year, about 20,000 students have benefited from scholarships and bursary awards. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has also within the same time period approved a 100 percent bursary increment for tertiary institutions students.
In addition to the increase in bursary awards, the board has also made significant progress in clearing the backlog of scholarships and bursaries. In the first quarter of 2023, the board released a total of N678,455,000 for 8,475 scholarship and bursary beneficiaries. This includes N164,500,000 for 792 2021/2022 Fresh Scholarship Award Undergraduate, Masters and PhD (Batch B), 2021/2022 Subsequent Scholarship Award for Undergraduate and PhD, and 2022/2023 subsequent scholarship award for undergraduate and PhD recipients as well as the 2022/2023 Governor’s Discretionary Awards.
The board has also made progress in reviving foreign scholarships, which had been suspended in the state since the twilight of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola’s administration. Lekki explained that the board has been brainstorming on how to revive foreign scholarships through creative means. The board has decided to research foreign-funded admissions and discovered that there are thousands of foreign admissions across the globe. All you need to do is prepare your students’ proof for those funded admissions.
The board is also in the process of expanding its scholarship base to include special scholarships for people living with disabilities and the multi-dimensionally poor and vulnerable. In order to ensure that all its operations have the backing of the law, the board is currently reviewing its Law in collaboration with the Law Reforms Commission for updates and to capture all its new initiatives so that all its operations will be within the ambits of the Law.
Lekki’s main objective is to make the Lagos Scholarship Board a reference point in the next two years. He sees the board, in the next two years, as the reference point of tertiary education funding in Nigeria, especially for Lagos State. He sees it as the saviour of university education or tertiary education in Lagos State.
He also sees the Scholarship Board, in the next few years, being able to work on both scholarships and student loans. As they speak we already have a student loan initiative, even before the Federal Government announced its own. They have almost concluded it. All they need to do is to get more creative. Ideas rule the world. It is only those with ideas that hold the key to the future. So, they will keep thinking creatively to be able to conceive ideas that can take the Board to the pinnacle of the sector in the country and sustain it for years to come.
A beneficiary of the Lagos State scholarship, Mumuney Maryam is particularly appreciative of the support from the government, saying the scholarship has inspired and stimulated academic excellence in her. She said, “I am a 400-level student of Public Administration at Lagos State University. I was opportune to receive a scholarship from the Lagos State Indigene Scholarship program. The process of applying for the scholarship was challenging, and I wasn’t sure if I would be selected. I had to go through a lot of paperwork and spent a lot of time and money to complete the application process. I almost gave up, but I am glad I didn’t.
“The scholarship did not only cover my tuition fees, but it also provided me with financial support”
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