Investigation – How Unqualified Applicants Won UI’SU 2023 Bursary Scheme

By: Aduwo Ayodele

Revealing, this piece exposes the underhanded ordeals, now uncovered, which went through in the recent 2023 disbursement of UI’SU bursary scheme to indigent undergraduate students a financial aid scheme initiated by the incumbent leadership of the University of Ibadan Students’ Union, led by Samuel Samson Tobiloba (Team Rebirth) administration.


The outing of the UI’SU 2023 Bursary Scheme started on Wednesday, August 02, 2023, when a call for ‘knowledgeable, connected, experienced and committed individuals’ who would make possible a seamless coordination, selection and disbursement of the annual bursary scheme to indigent students was announced by the UI’SU across the Union’s social media platforms.

As a sustained initiative since 2019, the goal of the scheme has been to raise financial support for students who were underprivileged to clear their queue of fees. The Union’s effort simply aimed at “subsidizing school fees for indigent students”.

In realizing this, the august call for members into the Bursary Committee by the Union led to the eventual formation of a team led by Alabi Adewale, a 500-level student from the Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Technology, who served as the Committee’s Chairman. The committee, which Alabi Adewale led, was vested with the responsibility to coordinate the clear-cut process of raising and disbursing funds to the targeted beneficiaries.

With a call requesting for donations beginning on September 23, 2023, the eventual online application to benefit from the scheme, coming afterwards, commenced on October 24th, 2023.

Hinged on the need to thin the overwhelming number of applicants received, the Bursary Committee initiated a two-way selection process. First, the Committee arranged for an examination which all applicants were to sit for, from which successful students will be qualified to transition to the next phase of the selection process.

The second stage, scheduled to be an interactive session, had applicants who had a face-to-face dialogue with the Bursary Committee, to conclude the processes. This stage required that applicants present convincing reasons about their needs.

In the end, at an event where the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Adminstration, Professor Aderonke Baiyeroju, as well as the Dean of Students, Professor A. Abiona, were in attendance, over 1.5 million naira was awarded to seventy-one indigent students, as an assistance in the payment of their school fees.

For most of the beneficiaries, the fund was used to clear a unit of the fees or added to fund raised through other means.

Despite the nobility of the goal, questions have become necessary to ask regarding the procedures for the qualification of the scheme. These worrying questions are essentially findings arising from the discovery that individuals below passmark, as well as individuals whose details cannot be proven all through the legs of the processes, were in the final list of the beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries below cutoff

The idea to hold an examination for applicants of the UI’SU bursary scheme was primarily conceived to sieve out some applicants from the large number of interested applicants who had applied for the scheme.

The bursary examination result, made public few days after the examination was conducted, shows only a list of four hundred and eighty three (483) students who sat for the examination.

Also, the Students’ Union had made it formally known that the passmark for those who would qualify to the next selection process were students who scored twenty-six (26) and above.

However, with twenty-six (26) announced as the pass mark, there have been, surprisingly so a discovery that some students who scored below and far below the score metric were among the shortlisted beneficiaries of the bursary scheme. This set of students, for one, had ranges of score between twenty-five (25) and fifteen (15), all falling below the score criterion required. This act raises a question about the integrity of the entire leadership of the Students’ Union.

Based on Indy Press’ inquiry, eight (8) individuals scored below the passmark. The details of the individuals are as follows;

Beneficiaries Without Examination Result – (with no known exam score)

Based on findings, there are eleven beneficiaries whose details regarding the first selection cannot be found or requires to be proven. This set of beneficiaries details cannot be traced to the examination result that is in the public domain. The absence of which leaves doubt around the idea that they truly sat for the bursary examination, which was the first selection procedure. The details of these individuals are as follows;

Typographical Misprints

Quite a number of details have also been observed to be wrongly made while imputing data about the beneficiaries. These include wrong attribution of names, matriculation number, and course of study.

Reactions to the Inquiry – Bursary Committee Chairman & President of the Students’ Union 

When quizzed about the lapses observed in the process, the Chairman of the Bursary Committee, Alabi Adewale noted that the defects as have been discovered were a byproduct of fatigue or heaviness of the task on the few committed members in the Committee, as well as the absence of computerized system to facilitate effective data management.

“I won’t lie to you this issue of people’s names not being on the list, but they got the bursary is something I can blame on fatigue. Because if we had a well structured, computerized system, all these discrepancies will not be showing” Alabi Adewale responded.

On the other hand, while responding to the same question on the set criteria qualifying applicants and beneficiaries, the Students’ Union President, Samuel Samson Tobiloba noted that the selection process was a bit dynamic.

“When I was invited to the house about the bursary, I specifically made it open that the selection was dynamic and was based on the requirements of the funder of each of those bursaries, because we got funds from different people” the President of the Students’ Union responded.

“On the issue of people scoring low, I don’t know specifically those that you’re referring to, but it is very possible that maybe they are the people recommended by those who gave us the money – they gave us instructions. Like some people said the money they are giving was particularly for students from their faculty or department and I really can not stop that, but most of these students are people that applied” he added.

“There are people that we know are genuine indigent people, and they didn’t pass the cut off mark, but that did not stop us from inviting them for the interview, because the essence of most screening process is to ensure that genuine indigent people got the money, not because they are people that don’t know book, we just want to find a way of screening some people out because the sample size was very large.”

“Then on the people that didn’t write the test, I think it should be primarily two people, and they are those that didn’t get #20,000 or #15,000, they got sixty- something thousand naira. One of our major sponsor stated that those are people that he had selected himself before and he want them included in the disbursement and this is someone that gave us as much as one million naira (1,000,000), so, who am I to say no to it. And they are students you can verify even one of them is in Faculty of Pharmacy, the other person is from Microbiology and they got the full payment for their fees.”

“More than seventy people got bursary scholarship, I don’t know most of them. I don’t know what could have happened. As much as possible we tried to (cuts in) I’ll find out who they are and how they got it” the Union President concluded.

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