The House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology and the Minister, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, on Monday, 9th November 2020, argued over scholarship selection method for secondary school students across the country.
Rep Abiante Awaji, a member of the committee, representing Adoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, River, had during budget defence queried the minister on the selection method.
The Voice Newspaper reports that the minister had earlier told the committee that the Federal Government has scholarships scheme for three students who emerged best in science competition.
The minister said that the examination was usually conducted from Local Governments though the States and the best from states would be taken to Abuja to compete with 36 others.
According to Onu, the first examination will be conducted by Local Governments and anyone who emerges best will be taken to the state level to compete with others from other local governments.
“And the state will forward the best student to Abuja to compete with winners from other states; then the three best will be selected and sponsored to doctorate level.
Awaji (PDP-River), however, challenged the minister to produce evidence of such claim, adding that no such examination was conducted in his constituency and local government.
He said the minister should have borrowed a leaf from Cowbell competition, sponsored by a dairy firm, where it was usually relayed live on Television for the audience to watch and judge accordingly.
The lawmaker told the minister to ensure that such exercise was not done in secrecy but should rather be made open to the public for the sake of transparency.
Infuriated by the comment, the minister said there was nothing he told the committee that was not verifiable, adding that the Ministry of Science and Technology was a serious minded ministry
“I am not somebody that will come here and say things that are not verifiable; we are determined to succeed,” Onu stated.
Attempt by the minister to further explain was stopped by the chairman of the committee, Rep Beni Lar, with a gavel to stop further comments on the issue from both sides.
Lar, however, called for an executive session in a move to resolve the crisis.
Meanwhile, Onu told the committee that the ministry was moving for a change of name from the Ministry of Science and Technology to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information.
He, however, said that its request to that effect had yet to be granted.
The minister added that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had taken decision to teach history in schools.