Candidates shortlisted to sit for the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID) aptitude test were selected based on their eligibility and not in favour of any particular geopolitical zone, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Julius Okojie has said.
Okojie, who monitored the aptitude test which held in Abuja yesterday, told journalists that the claim by the Arewa Consultative Forum that northerners were deliberately excluded from the list was untrue as the selection process was computer based.
Okojie said the members of the committee overseeing the project consisted of one professor who made first class from each geo-political zone and representation from the Federal ministries of Education, Women Affairs, Science and Technology.
He said, “Some states in the south did not also have students. It was a computer based assessment it just selected those who had first class irrespective of the CGPA. It would be interesting to know how many people applied from such places. Don’t forget in the North once a student has a first class he is almost always on scholarship. If you didn’t apply you cannot be shortlisted and if you didn’t have a first class you won’t be taken.”
A list of shortlisted candidates by states of origin which was made available to Daily Trust showed that Yobe, Sokoto and FCT did not have candidates. While states like Adamawa, Kebbi, Borno, Plateau and Taraba had only one candidate each.
However, states like Bayelsa and Cross River in the South-south had two candidates shortlisted.
Okojie said out of the 432 students shortlisted for the aptitude test, Federal Government would select and sponsor 100 for postgraduate studies in 25 top universities in the world.
He said provision has been made to ensure that 2% of the candidates are the physically challenged.
The students with specialization in sciences are expected to work as academic staff in any public university or research institute for a minimum period of five years upon completion of their studies.
- Daily Trust