Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Otunba Sam Erejuwa has assured the students of the mandate areas of the Commission’s total commitment and prompt payment of their bursary.
Erejuwa gave this assurance during an interactive session with the students under the umbrella of the National Association of Ilaje Students (NAIS) and the Federation of Ese-Odo Local Government Students (FELGOS) in his office on Wednesday.
The Chairman commended the students for towing the path of peace and for exhibiting a high level of maturity while demanding for their legitimate rights. He further assured that the Commission will never divert what is meant for the students’ welfare for other purposes.
He reiterated that in spite of the dwindling resources in the state, the interest of the students will never be mortgaged; saying the leadership of the Commission will meet with the state Commissioner of Finance and Accountant General for necessary action.
The Chairman promised that all things being equal, the next tranche of payment will hopefully be made before the end of next week. He implored the students to remain calm as their interest will always be well represented before the government and also be carried along when and where necessary.
Otunba Erejuwa appreciated the State Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN for his passionate concern for the students and the generality of the people in the mandate areas.
Speaking earlier, the students’ body through the President of the National Association of Ilaje Students (NAIS), Com. Omotade Moses Segun related their discussion with the Department of State Services (DSS) during their agitation late December where the department pleaded on their behalf before the state government.
The result of the parley according to him was the promise of an inclusion of additional sum of fifty million Naira (N50millon) to the monthly allocation of the Commission for the next four months. The amount, Omotade said was to be disbursed in batches to pay the outstanding 2018/2019 edition of the bursary scheme. He therefore appealed to the leadership of the Commission to do the needful based on the earlier agreement with the government.
In his reaction, the Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Victor Koledoye applauded the students for adopting intellectual engagement rather than protest in their agitations. He however regretted the inability of the Commission to pay as agreed. This he said was due to paucity of funds as against the notion that the funds have been diverted for other purposes.
The climax of the interactive session was the presentation of an outstanding award to the Chairman by the students, having unanimously passed a vote of confidence on his leadership. They wished him a successful and accomplished term in office.
It will be recalled that the Commission recently flagged off the disbursement of N274 million for the 2018/2019 bursary award. The payment covered 5,712 students of Ilaje and Ese-Odo origins in various higher institutions across the country; including 268 postgraduate students, 58 graduates in law school, 3,052 University undergraduates, 1,158 Polytechnic students, 348 students in Colleges of Education and 838 students in Health Institutions