Israel Galadima, who scored 364 marks to come first in the 2018 Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination, is from Biu, in the Southern part of Borno State.
Upon hearing the good news, Governor Kashim Shettima hosted Israel and his mother, Jummai Galadima, a Lagos based banker at the Government House in Maiduguri to celebrate the student he nicknamed ‘JAMB king’.
While hosting them, the excited Governor Shettima ++announced the approval of full scholarship for Israel who had already secured admission at Covenant University, Ota, in Ogun State. On enquiry, the governor was told by the student’s mother that the university charges about N856,000 per academic year as combined cost for tuition, accommodation, books and feeding.
The governor decided to raise the figure to N1m per academic year with the difference to serve as pocket money for Israel. As against the government’s policy of making annual payment of tuitions for students on scholarship, the governor also made an exception that with Israel’s excellence in JAMB and nine distinctions in WAEC, he approved a cheque of N5m to advance payment for Israel’s fees till he completes his Degree programme, saying that way, the family will avoid possible increase of fees in future, while the school too can also use the large sum for its own purpose.
The chegue was presented to him in school, two weeks after the governor made the pronoucement. Borno’s Commissioner for Higher Education, Usman Jaha made the presentation at the office of the Registrar, Covenant University.
The presentation was witnessed by representatives of the student’s family, principal of his secondary school and some officials from the university and Borno’s liaison office in Lagos.
The commissioner called on Israel’s family to release substantial part of the N5m to the university to cover the student’s fees in advance of five years in line with the governor’s position. He also told Israel that Governor Shettima’s only request was for him to remain focused and should aim to graduate with first class honours.
The registrar, Covenant University, Dr Olumuyiwa Oludayo described Governor Shettima’s passion for education as “rare to find these days when another person could h0ave simply issued a congratulatory message and stop at that”. The registrar said he has attachment to Borno State because he served in Maiduguri and had what he called “part of the best moments of his life”. He commended the governor for his ongoing efforts to transform education in Borno State and urged Israel not to get carried away by his moments of glory but to rather aim for first class as Governor Shettima wishes for him.
Response from Israel took everyone by surprise. He said “I am touched by the gesture of His Excellency, Governor Kashim Shettima and I know that sacrifices were made to support me. I want to tell the governor and everyone here that by the grace of God, in years to come, I will give back to the people of my state, Borno. I will definitely do that by the grace of God. I didn’t expect the extent the governor went and I appreciate it. I will really want to pay back to Borno State” Israel said.
Speaking on behalf of Israel’s family, Mrs Doris Yaro, also from Borno State, said she wasn’t surprised by Governor Shettima’s passion for education and support for excellence.
“Governor Kashim Shettima was a University lecturer. He is well educated, very sound and visionary. He is extremely passionate about education and those of us from Borno State know how he is changing existing schools, modernising them and building many new schools. Words cannot describe how our family feels. We only pray that God bless him and his family, our government and give us peace. Borno people are peaceful. We are not Boko Haram but victims of it. We are hard working people and there are many young boys and girls like Israel from Borno State and I know with what Governor Shettima is already doing in Borno, Nigerians should expect to harvest the brightest future leaders of this country from Borno State” Mrs Yaro said.