Rescue Us From Academic Dysphoria, Kano Students In Cyprus Cries Out
Gyrating and turning in the expanding gyre, the falcon can’t discern the falconer; things fall apart; the center has caved in; Sheer despondency is loosed upon the nine (9) students sponsored by the Kano State Government to pursue master’s program at Near East University, Nicosia, Cyprus.
Monitoring the news of Thursday, July 22nd, my colleagues and I celebrated with pomp and ceremony the development that the Kano State Government has approved a certain amount of money for disbursement to its sponsored students studying in six countries for the settlement of their upkeep allowances, fees among others.
But our joy would later volte-faced into a state of frustration as we read the breakdown of the scholarship from the Friday, July 23rd edition of Daily Trust newspaper. According to the report, only fifty (50) undergraduate students from Cyprus were covered, making clear that the plight of postgraduate students under the scholarship scheme will continue in an endless nightmare.
But, before I forge ahead, permit me to chronicle the genesis of our quandary. Foremost, our predicament began right from Kano where we were persuaded or rightly put hoodwinked to buy flight tickets by ourselves with a promise of refunding by the government. It is about ten (10) months since we left Kano state for Cyprus; and yet despite our repeated appeals, we have yet to receive the refund of our flight tickets.
Secondly, by October 2015, all of us had surfaced in Cyprus to kick-start our academic programs. But you will be transfixed to learn that we had to persevere through and improvise till December before we would receive our upkeep allowance. Quite intriguingly, you will be gob-smacked to equally know that the allowance was never backdated to September or October but started reading from 16th December, 2015; and it was for a period of three (3) months.
By next week, we will have entered August 2016; nonetheless we are yet hopelessly waiting for an allowance we should have received in March 2016.
Despite all this obvious injustice, we accepted the oft-repeated economic rhetoric from government with stoicism and equanimity, hoping that in good time our patience will yield dividends only for us to be rudely jolted from our reverie in the most uncharitable and unfair manner.
Why our names had been yanked off the list of students to benefit from the just approved upkeep allowance is blurred and blank to us. That notwithstanding, we harbor some suspicions yet we demur to conclude that we are being placed in the legendary George Orwell’s stable where some animals are considered more equal than some.
The last time I listened to Mal. Salihu Tanko Yakassai, Director of Communication to our able Governor, he made innuendos that it was about time parents augmented governments effort. Yes, that is not a bad statement from a government image-maker.
I, for one, would never have bothered expending time and energy appealing to government if my parents had the wherewithal to make modest financial contributions to me. But facts remain sacred! We never bargained for this debacle. It’s needless to say that for most of us even as we try to grapple with the widow’s mite government remits to us, our struggling parents still look upon us to transmit same to them. So, this is the sad pass we currently have had to contend with.
Again, we are not oblivious of the shenanigans and perfidy of privilege abusers whose ultimate stock in trade is to divert the wheel of progress towards self- aggrandizement, and to ignobly kill government’s honest efforts to reach the common man. We beseech such officials to ensure equity for everyone and not just their children. Because by the time we start to expose them, I am not sure what magnitude of crisis management will resuscitate their battered image and career. Not even the PR transfer process can salvage them from ignominy, and for those of them with conscience, this is cause enough for worry.
Lastly, I will sign off by entreating all officials in whom the responsibility is vested to ensure that we receive our upkeep allowance about the same time every eligible student receives his/hers, so that we can also feel a sense of belonging and continue our academic activities without let or hindrance.
Sani Muhammad Uzairu writes from Near East University, Cyprus.