Some days ago, precisely from 11.30 pm on Monday, 20th November, 2017, N-Power 2017 Graduate applicants could access their portal to see if they have been shortlisted. Pre-selecting 300,000 volunteers from the over 2.5m that put in applications from all over the country was going to be a herculean task indeed but the principle of fairness, equity and most importantly merit has guided N-Power in the shortlist. There have been allegations in certain quarters that the shortlist is lopsided in favour of one region or the other – quite typical of the Nigerian syndrome of finding faults in any initiative of government but it is pertinent to state that the claims are totally baseless and unfounded.
Let’s peruse together the modalities for the pre-selection. From the 2,543, 079 people that applied for the 2017 graduate programme, 2,258,266 scaled through the BVN validation stage. The BVN validation was introduced at this stage to avoid some payment issues that plagued the 2016 beneficiaries. So applicants whose names didn’t match their BVN were precluded From proceeding to the Assessment Test Phase. Of the 2,258,266 that scaled through, only 1,746,454 honoured the invitation to take the Assessment Test.
In pre-selecting the 300,000 volunteers, the following criteria were employed;
• BVN validation and online assessment
• Achieving Equity
• Linking selection to population using Federal constituencies
• Addressing demand distribution of Unemployed Graduates
• Taking into account Deployment/ Utilization issues from 2016
• Correcting deployment/Utilization challenges from among 2016 beneficiaries
• Rural-Urban distribution balance. Priority was given to rural areas particularly N-Agro applicants
• Programme Allocation – Teach/Agric/Health
It should be noted that the 300,000 preselected for the physical verification stage does not equate final selection. Candidates that have discrepancies in their documents or didn’t pass physical assessment will be promptly replaced with other applicants. Highest applications were received from states like Lagos, Rivers, Kaduna, FCT for instance at 179, 994, 145,773, 120,198, 113,960 applicants respectively cannot be compared to States that turned in lowest applications like Sokoto, Bayelsa, Kebbi and Gombe at 22,501, 23,659, 30,975, 27,980 applicants respectively. Therefore, this might also be a factor during pre-selection.
What is however not in doubt is that N-Power had factored the principle of Federal Character in the selection process and every region and State in the country is fairly and adequately represented. The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has made equal opportunity for all Nigerians, a cardinal objective, irrespective of political affiliation, religious persuasion or ethnic background. N-Power is committed to this and as such its selection process has been tailored to meet that objective.
N-Power is the Buhari administration’s job creation and empowerment scheme