The Education Endowment Fund for students in Cross River State, came into existence after the maiden One on One series of interviews with Agba Jalingo that featured the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Florence Obi as guest on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
Viewers and concerned minds stressed the need for the public to donate and support students in the institution due to the increment in service charges (school fees).
Citizen Agba Jalingo began reaching out to different people who pledged sums for students from Bekwarra, Calabar Municipal, Obanliku and Obudu Local Government Areas.
Member representing Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwara federal Constituency, Hon. Legor Idagbo, donated N1million for the fund for students from his constituency.
Stanley Boyce Nsemo donated N300k for 6 students from Calabar municipality after paying for 4 by himself.
Queen Benny Akpana Gabriel donated N100k for two female students from Obudu.
Austin Makumobi donated N36k from the US to support one student.
Totalling N1,436,000. (One million four hundred and thirty six thousand naira only.)
The Application Process:
Following the confirmation of donations, Citizen Agba Jalingo reached out to TechShack, an ideas and innovation hub which set up a Google form to collate the following information: Name, e-mail address, Institution of Study, Faculty, Department, Matriculation Number, Year of Study, Phone Number, Date of Birth, Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), Local Government of Origin, Reason for Application and a space was provided for the applicants to upload their Certificate of Origin. Applicants were also asked to select one from seven social services to volunteer during vacation to show that the fund was not just a gift. The link went live on Sunday, January 16, 2022 at 6:55AM.
Use of Data:
Despite the introductory note stating that the fund was meant for students of the University of Calabar, there were some applicants from other institutions.The Faculty, Department and Year of Study on the form was merely a psychological phase to weed out non students who may want to apply.
The phone numbers and e-mail addresses were for contact purposes only. While the Local Government of Origin was for elimination purposes as well, with the Certificate of Origin
confirming that the applicant was from a particular community or ward. The certificate of origin, unlike other government issued identity cards, states the community, village or ward of origin in a particular Local Government Area.
The link was decommissioned on Monday, January 17, at 12:31PM. A total of 183 valid responses were obtained. The link was decommissioned to enable the setting up of a team to filter and process the beneficiaries.
Percentage of Applicants by LGA Of Origin:
Calabar Municipal -14 (7.7%)
Bekwarra – 98 (53.3%)
Obanliku – 23 (12.6%)
Obudu – 48 (26.2%)
More than 81% of applicants were between 200 and 400 level, while 12.6% are in their 100 level. The remaining 5% were either in 500 level or postgraduate school.
Furthermore, 59 applicants, representing (32.2%), choose to volunteer in Community Water Sanitation and Hygiene activities while 52 (28.4%) will organize studies for SSCE/UTME applicants. The remaining were scattered across other social services to volunteer during vacation.
Following the decommissioning of the application link, a Team Lead at TechShack, Jonathan Abang Ugbal and a lecturer from UNICAL, Oluwadamilare Eludire, were mandated to carry out a balloting exercise to select winners.
Mr. Ugbal on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, reached out to the following; Messrs Maxwell Effiong, Patrick Obia as well as Margaret Unimnebeshi and Dorathy Adie, to constitute a five-man team for the ballot. The balloting was carried out at the conference room of the Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ).
The Team sat down, and the names were separated by Local Government Areas and numbers written into pieces of paper. These were folded and mixed, with a team member picking one, handing over to another to unveil. The number is then confirmed by others and showed to the camera as a quality assurance measure.
The number is then traced and details confirmed by team members. The Team Lead, will then open the drive link where the applicant uploaded the Certificate of Origin, which will then be confirmed by at least two other team members.
Those disqualified uploaded faint certificate of origins, other documents or certificates that were not theirs.
Two contacts were published for the beneficiaries to contact. They were 08134585365 belonging to Jonathan Abang-Ugbal and 08060662558 belonging to Eludire Oluwadamilare.
28 winners (7 from each of the four Local Government Areas) were selected by ballot and their names and relevant details were published in the early hours of Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
However, it was discovered that many had paid their fees, prompting a second balloting on the evening of Wednesday, January 19, 2022. By this time, Ms Margaret and Mr. Maxwell were absent and were replaced by Roland Igboke of the Canaan City Institute of Technology.Those who called in and said they had paid their fees were replaced by the same balloting system. This time, the winners were called immediately to ascertain whether they had paid fees or not, since the last day for payment was Friday, January 21, 2022.
On Thursday and Friday, beneficiaries printed their fee payment schedule from the University’s portal and brought to the TechShack office, where they were then transported to their respective banks and the fees paid. Due to the late payment fee of NGN5,000 added by the varsity’s management, all the fees, excluding one, were above the NGN50,000 allotted for each beneficiary.
The beneficiaries were asked to provide the difference which ranged from NGN2,050 to NGN5,050 – an action that was appreciated.
The system generates a unique bill number for each student and if the student has paid fees, it rejects. The Team filled the bank tellers to ensure it was the fees of beneficiaries that were actually paid and not cronies or proxies, as some beneficiaries tried to trick the Team.
However, for the three postgraduate students, two paid the difference of NGN64,000 and NGN84,000 while one hopes to pay before the end of the month when the portal closes for postgraduate students for payment of fees.
Several beneficiaries called to ask for a cash transfer to aid the repayment of loans they obtained for fee payment, which was declined as the intent was to aid those who had no means of paying.
But, a particular funder called and requested that two students from Bekwara be afforded an opportunity. While one paid a difference of NGN2,050, the second was yet to pay the previous session’s fee which was cleared first at NGN34,700. He was asked to bring the balance for either 60 percent fees or 100 percent to access the balance of over NGN15,000 he could access, which he could not as at the extended close of the portal on Monday, January 24, 2020.
Final Beneficiaries and Financials:
Below is the list of those who eventually benefitted from the endowment fund:
- Agba Lucy – NGN50,000
- Edward Erungworo – NGN50,000
- Moses Unimke – NGN50,000
- Ajinu Simon (PG) – NGN50,000
- Charles Ashuye – NGN50,000
- Lydia Uregi – NGN50,000
NB: PG means postgraduate student.
- Olayi Dominic (PG) – NGN50,000
- Matthew Ushie – NGN50,000
- Cyril Ogaku (PG, Awaiting balance)
- James Achine (Funder Nominee) – NGN34,700
- Raymond Anduruku (Funder Nominee) NGN50,000
NB: PG means postgraduate student.
Cyril Ogaku has until the end of January 2022 to pay his postgraduate fees, and the team agreed to keep the NGN50,000 allotted for him as a beneficiary.
A funder called and requested that James and Raymond be included under Bekwara, since most of the beneficiaries selected by the ballot had already paid their fees.
Achine paid only the 2019/2020 session, which was less than the NGN50,000 allotted to each beneficiary.
- Bassey Effiong – NGN50,000
- Irene Oqua – NGN50,000
- Obo Elizabeth – NGN47,050
- Racheal Effiong – NGN50,000
- Effiom Esther – NGN50,000
As earlier stated and included in the link, each beneficiary could access up to NGN50,000.
However, due to the addition of NGN5,000 late payment fees by the University’s management, all the fees (excluding the PG fees which were already above NGN100,000) went above NGN50,000 with each beneficiary required to bring the difference which as earlier stated, ranged between NGN2,050 and NGN5,050.
But, one funder nominee, James Achine (Bekwara), who had failed to pay his 2019/2020 session fees, was asked to print the fee schedule for that session which amounted to NGN34,700 only leaving a balance of 15,300 to be accessed. He was given the option of providing the balance for 60% or 100% of the current 2020/2021 session, which he failed to do until the portal closed.
Also, Obo Elizabeth Sampson’s fees was NGN47,050 only. The remaining beneficiaries accessed up to NGN50,000 each.
This brings the net total expenditure so far to NGN731,750 only.
- That the balance of the donations, (NGN704,250) be used to register and open an account for the Cross River Education Endowment Fund, a not-for profit for Cross River students to access depending on how much is available every session.
- That upon opening an account, a dedicated team be set up to revise the means of students application to accommodate students in other tertiary institutions.
- That the fund’s activities be made public at every point in time.
- That NGN50,000 be set aside to cater for the lone beneficiary who is yet to provide the balance of his fees (Cyril Ogaku) and remitted into the said account if at the expiration of time he fails to do so.
- That solicitation of funds and donations into the fund should continue in preparation for next session.
- That the unedited video clips of the balloting process be uploaded to a dedicated server for the public to view and make reference to.
Foot Note: Volunteers who worked in the background to make this possible were paid 10k each, by CrossRiverWatch.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.