Not too long ago, the social media was ablaze with the celebration of Tochukwu Okafor who shone like a million stars when he carted away every award in the Faculty of Engineering from University of Benin.
His portfolio of awards on that occasion included: Best Graduating Student, University of Benin, Dean’s Prize to the Best Graduating Student in academic performance, Faculty of Engineering and Departmental Prize to the Best Graduating Student. Citizen Okafor also clinched the following awards: Nigerian Society of Engineers Prize to the Best Overall Graduating Student in the Faculty of Engineering, Arch. Aminu Abubakar Prize to the Best Graduating Student in the Department of Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Nicholas and Victoria Osifo Memorial Scholarship to the Best Graduating Student in Engineering.
He graduated with a stunning 4.95 CGPA in Engineering
We consider that performance as a very commendable one worthy of accolades from the Federal government and private organisation that have the pursuit of excellence as their hallmark. None of those is yet to come to Citizen Okafor even against the backdrop of uproars in the social media for the needful to be done.
But the call is not far-fetched.
The foregoing followed a development days after, when another fellow citizen, Al-amin Bugaje who graduated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU) and named overall best student with 4.93 CGPA from Electrical Engineering Department in the university’s Faculty of Engineering was immediately offered scholarship up to PhD level by the Group Managing Director, GMD of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr Maikantu Baru. He added that Mr. Bugaje will study in any university of his choice in the world.
We note that Tochukwu who graduated with a higher CGPA may have out of lack of relevant information been ignored by the GMD even as we must add that both of them graduated in Electrical Engineering.
However, we are fast to state neither of the two citizens merits the GMD’s largesse than the other.
We do not subscribe to arguments in some quarters that the GMD may not have had relevant information about Citizen Okafor’s feat which was in the public domain days before that of Al-amin. We also, do not see it as an oversight on his part.
Simply put, we consider it a costly mistake that questions the agenda of the GMD and NNPC as a whole.
In a nation where primordial sentiments easily override other considerations no matter profitable such are, making a public show of Al-amin’s academic feat which became public when Okafor’s had been in public domain days earlier smacks of ignorance. This is as result of the fact that that omission on the part of the NNPC is now been interpreted as deliberate attempt to further rub in the allegation of bias engendered by tribalism and sectionalism in the country.
For instance, and sadly too, not a few Nigerians see the mistake by the NNPC as fraudulent and corrupt. Some add that it was an open declaration of hate for the people and region Citizen Okafor hails from.
Though we totally reject any attribution to the foregoing effect, we do not subscribe to tendencies like the above that easily questions the conscience of our public officers. It is totally unacceptable and we hereby state that whatever is good for the academic pursuits of Al-amin must be same for Okafor’s.
In a nation state like Nigeria, public officers must purge themselves of tendencies like this. If they must venture out of the regulated domains of influence to make proclamations that are as far reaching as the one he made in the case of Citizen Al-amin, the NNPC helmsman must feel same way to do same to Citizen Okafor who scored a higher CGPA days earlier in a similar course of study.
Unless he wants watchers of NNPC affairs to read other motives to his alleged favour to Citizen Al-amin, the GMD must act fast to redress this questionable and may we add, costly mistake

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