Hon. Sunny Orishedere
Hon. Orishedere: In line with the policy trust of the board which include providing financial assistance to delta students in public and private higher institutions in Nigeria, the board since it inception in 2009, have been assisting students of Delta Origin. N11,000:00 were paid then but now N20,000:00 each in 2014/2015 session. A total number of 12,612 students received payments in 2015/2016 session, while 12,168 students applied in the just concluded 2016/2017 session, which application ended 17th of this month (March) we hope that verification and payment will be completed in April. More so, in the next few weeks, online application for the 2017/2018 session will commence.
Advocate: What categories of students are involved in this scheme?
Hon. Orishedere: The Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Board is also in charge of scholarship in the state, the categories of scholarship include, First Class for students with first class, Overseas for areas of state interest, Undergraduate and Postgraduates for local and foreign students. We also have for Children of deceased civil servants and the physically challenged.
Advocate: How much do a student of Delta Origin earn in a session?
Hon. Orishedere: Just as stated above, it was N11,000:00 in 2009 but presently it is N20,000:00 each
Advocate: Does the scholarahip run throughout the period of the benficiary schooling or it depend on field of studies?
Hon. Orishedere: Well, the foreign students is between 3 to 5 million naira, local postgraduate is between N200,000 to N500,000. Once you are able to meet the necessary requirements, the scholarship runs through the period of studies.
Advocate: What are the processes involved for beneficiaries of this scheme and what are the requirements and methods do you apply in the selection of bonafide Deltans in tertiary Institutions?
Hon. Orishedere: All would be beneficiaries of all categories of bursary and scholarship usually applied online through our website. The requirements include; you must be a student, must be from Delta State, you must have a valid National Identity Card or equivalent, you must have your bank verification number, BVN, you must also have a JAMB admission number, personal account details.
Advocate: How is your board funded and can you tell us the yearly budget of your board or the sum allocated to your board yearly?
Hon. Orishedere: The Board is wholly funded by the Delta State Government, our budget is determined by the level of commitment yearly, and also the numbers of application received.
Advocate: Government efforts are most time frustrated by corrupt persons and sometimes become a barrier from such incentives in getting to the grassroot or the real beneficiaries. What is your board doing to check mate such practices and viz-a-viz to curb hijackers?
Hon. Orishedere: There maybe sharp practices like other sectors in the past, but as soon as this present board members came in, several measures were put in place to ensure sanity and to rid off such practices. We then introduced online registration, BVN, National ID number, Physical Verification of Applicants and provision of personal accounts details. And all payments are made directly into individual accounts. So any false BVN and Account details will be easily detected and cannot receive such money. Also, with the linking of applicant’s records to the NIMC database, an applicant who is not a Deltan can’t registered.
Advocate: Do you have any difficulties or challenges running the board?
Hon. Orishedere: Well our problem is funding which was as a result of the economic recession. This has made it impossible to award new scholarship to deserving Deltans. Though we are still looking into it, but it shall be mainly for local if funds are available. Emphasis shall be on state’s special needs for foreign students.
Advocate: Can you give us the exact numbers of Deltans in tertiary institutions that are under your pay roll?
Hon. Orishedere: Presently the numbers of Deltans in higher institutions going by our records and application received in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 session, the numbers toggled between 12,000 and 13,000.
Advocate: As the director general of Team S.M.A.R.T, can you briefly tell us your aims and objective or what you do?
Hon. Orishedere: We in Team SMART, our aim is to showcase and sensitize the people on the activities and successes of the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s SMART AGENDA to all nooks and crannies of the state. To bridge the gap between the elected and the electorates, and also mobilizing support for the Party PDP.
Advocate: How would you described Governor Okowa and are you saying he deserves a second term?
Hon. Orishedere: Okowa is a God sent to liberate Delta State, a man with good heart and determined to excel anytime any day. He has done wonderfully well and deserves second tenure to consolidate on the good works he is doing.
Advocate: What are the indices or projects can you point out that will make you think Deltans should support Governor Okowa second term bid?
Hon. Orishedere: In the past 34 months he embarked on 187 roads out of which over 80 have been completed. Lots has been achieved in our institutions, the health sector, micro credit scheme, and discipline in the public service. We need his second tenure for the completion of Warri/Sapele Road, Oyakromo Bridge, Trans Ode Itsekiri Bridge, completion of Flood Control Project at Asaba, completion of ongoing Ultra Model Secretariat at Asaba and above all to set a road of progress that others will follow in Delta State.
Advocate: Do you for see any rival or stiff opposition as regard the 2019 governorship election in Delta State?
Hon. Orishedere: I do not for see any rival, although opposition is one ingredients of democracy, we do not have a rival not to mention stiff one, we only have other political parties.
Advocate: Is Team SMART rooted in all local governments area in the state?
Hon. Orishedere: Team SMART came on board in January 2016 and today it has become a house hold name in Delta State. We have structures across all the wards, LGAs, Federal Constituencies, Senatorial and at the State level.
Advocate: What is your charges to your fellow Deltans?
Hon. Orishedere: I appeal to Deltans to believe in our State and also believe what God is using Okowa to do now and also in the future. I therefore urge Deltans to get their voters card to vote Okowa come 2019 and also to break the jinx of discontinuity that has taken the state backward in the past.