The first National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Anietie Okon, yesterday rejected the list of 254 names published by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta as beneficiaries of the Special Scholarship Programme for students from the Niger Delta region who passed the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The Office of the Special Adviser on Niger Delta on August 1 reeled out the 254 names of beneficiaries of the special scholarship programme for students from the region who passed the UTME with Akwa Ibom State getting three slots, Bayelsa State 102, Cross River State three, Delta State 55, Edo State 10, Imo 10, Ondo State 43 and Rivers State 28.

Reacting to the list, Okon, who in a chat with journalists alleged that the list was lopsided in nature, said the composition was “a clear affront on the psychic of Akwa Ibom State people which is unacceptable and capable of fracturing the commonality of purpose of the people of the state and the region.”

According to him, “We are forced to question whether the office of the Special Adviser on Amnesty is still representing the collective interest of the people of the region given the persistent exclusivity that has become evident in the execution of the brief and mandate of the office.”

He therefore called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently draw the attention of the Special Adviser on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, to what he termed “a grave and unacceptable anomaly with its attendant capacity to undermine the intent and standing of governments and the leadership of the region.”

He wondered why Akwa Ibom State, the leading oil producing state, is allocated only three slots and Edo State, which is described as “cradle of knowledge” got only 10 slots while Bayelsa got 102.

Okon averred that such action was a “confirmation of the narrow understanding of the dynamics of our political survival realities and an unfortunate exhibition of misplaced callous insensitivity as well as political naivety,” adding that the move could “damage the cohesion and vibrant shared common interest of the people of the region.”

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