by Zenith Oduah
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has condemned the call for the withdrawal of the Doctorate Degree conferred on the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, by Yale University, U.S.
A statement from NANS President, Mr Tijani Usman, in Abuja on Saturday urged the Yale University authorities to ignore the petition by one Mr Sunday Iwalaiye requesting it to withdraw the award.
The statement said the request was politically motivated and ill-conceived.
It said Okonjo-Iweala was well deserving of the award, adding that the basis cited for the award perfectly described its understanding of what she had done for Nigeria.
“From our investigations, we have come to the conclusion that this is a politically sponsored campaign against one of our most outstanding and distinguished Nigerians.
“NANS totally and unequivocally condemn the said act, the initiator of the act and the vested political interests that are behind the act.
“It calls on the authorities of the Yale University to totally disregard the said petition.
“The position of Sunday Iwalaiye and his sponsors that are being promoted by a section of the media does not reflect the opinions of majority of Nigerians.
“We are aware that Okonjo-Iweala, as the Coordinating Minister for the Nigerian Economy, has been able to build strong institutions like the Development Bank of Nigeria, among others.
“We, the students, are aware that Okonjo-Iweala implemented an electronic personnel management system which has stopped corruption in the payment system of civil service by weeding out more than 60,000 ghost workers.
“This singular initiative has saved the country more than N200 billion. We know that this is significant because it means that the country has lost trillions over five decades.
It said that some “smart initiatives’’ of the minister such as YouWin and Graduate Internship Programmes had helped in reducing unemployment in the country.