FEW days ago, the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) disbursed a sum of two hundred and thirty million naira as bursary and scholarships to students of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas in higher institutions of learning across the country.
NO fewer than 5,393 students from the OSOPADEC’s mandate areas benefitted from the bursary and scholarship scheme.
ACCORDING to OSOPADEC Chairman, Olugbenga Edema, beneficiaries included 199 Post-Graduate Students, 2,751 university under-graduates, 900 polytechnic students, 581 students in the Colleges of Education and 962 Health Institutions’ students.
EACH of the doctorate students got N150,000, Masters and Law students N150,000, while undergraduate students got N40,000.
OSOPADEC was established by the laws of Ondo State CAP.106 in 2001 to intervene in the development of the oil producing areas of the state.
ITS mission is to administer exclusively the 40 percent of the 13 percent oil derivation fund accruing to Ondo State for the development of the Commission’s mandate areas.
IT continually seeks to improve access and quality of education of mandate communities by executing programmes to strengthen and increase the teaching workforce, improve teachers’ education and educational systems with focus on learning, teaching, school management and responsiveness to children’s needs.
OSOPADEC provides a platform for community economic development initiatives towards tackling issues like unemployment, poverty, job loss, environmental degradation and others.
THE Commission also facilitates healthcare and social services to the underprivileged, physically challenged, aged, the abused and the most vulnerable in its mandate area.
THEREFORE, the disbursement of scholarship and bursary to students from its catchment areas of operation falls within its mission to improve the educational system in its mandate areas.
WE commend the State Government for this initiative, as education can be described as the bedrock of society’s development, and OSOPADEC should be seen as ameliorating the challenges faced by students.
BESIDES, education funding should be the collective responsibility of all stakeholders, as human capital development will benefit the society in the long run.
HAVING said this, we note that the cumbersome processes involved in the screening and confirmation of applicants prevented the commission from meeting its June target for the disbursement of the awards.
WE feel the delay may not be unconnected with the commission’s nascent digital initiative, which could have speeded up the process.
GLADLY, the commission is aware of this drawback and is presently digitalizing its operations to incorporate the bursary and scholarship scheme.
IT should also direct efforts to areas of potential benefit to Ondo State, by awarding grants to promising individuals engaged in research in critical sectors of the state economy.
FOR instance, the world is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and OSOPADEC can be part of the process by funding research grants in artificial intelligence, marine technology and solar technology, among others.
FURTHERMORE, the Commission should be more flexible by extending its gesture to brilliant students outside its mandate areas.
AFTER all, indigenes from all parts of the state benefitted from the cocoa boom, so OSOPADEC could spread its small percent of its largesse to deserving people outside its mandate areas.
THE ongoing hostel being built by the commission for Adekunle Ajasin University is commendable and it should do more in this direction.
FINALLY, we commend the administration of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the support he has given to the Commission.