Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Determined to encourage education in the capital city of Awka, Anambra state, the Awka Development Union-Nigeria (ADUN) has set apart N2 million for youth empowerment and students’ scholarship, this year.
ADUN President General, Chief Amobi Nwokafor, who disclosed this while presenting cash prizes to the three best schools in Awka metropolis on March 19, noted that education remained the priority of his administration.
ADUN, he said, instituted the scholarship scheme to fight cultism and refocus the children’s mind towards excellence by eschewing antisocial behaviours that could undermine their future.
The union had in May 2018, organised its maiden empowerment programme tagged: “Education endowment scholarship” that featured about 15 public and mission secondary schools and over 1,500 students from the select secondary schools that participated.
At the end of the programme, 25 exceptional students from Awka town emerged winners and were rewarded with cash prices while the three best participating schools; St John of God Secondary School, Igwebuike Grammar School, and Girls’ Secondary School, Awka were promised cash prizes.
In fulfilment of the promise, the union recently honoured the schools with cash prizes; namely: St John of God (First), Igwebuilke Grammar School (Second) and Girls’ Secondary School (Third).
Chief Nwokafor while presenting the awards stressed that the event was aimed at redeeming the pledge made last year and to announce the tentative date for the commencement of the 2019 edition of the empowerment programme.
He said: “When we assumed office about three years ago, we made a lot of pledges and promises to our people. One is that we want to dedicate ourselves to the education of our people because the greatest asset we have is in our children. If you train a child today, tomorrow he will be available to train others. It’s like a relay race.
“It was based on that, that we organized a programme last year called; education endowment scholarship where we gave about 50 students scholarship. The competition was organized according to schools in Awka.
“These schools we honoured today are the schools that took first to third positions during the competition. We arrived at this, depending on the number of students that the school produced during the competition.
“St John of God took first position because of the number of students that got the award which was on merit. They were followed by Igwebuike Grammer School, Awka and Girls Secondary school, Awka.
“Preparations for this year’s competition are already on and we put a tentative date of 9th of May, 2019. This time, we want to empower more than 100 students and we want them to have endowment in the name of Awka indigenes and those who have done very well in their areas of callings.
“The idea is that if Awka Development Union is able to give 100 students scholarship, in a year and we make other town unions to emulate us; by the time other town unions in the state do the same, over one million students would be given scholarship in the state and that would have been further development in the state and ensure we have good representation everywhere in the future.”
In her remarks, Deputy Chairman, Post Primary School Service Commission (PPSSC) and member in-charge of Awka zone, Lady Patty Offiah commended the ADUN for redeeming the pledge made to students and schools last year and assured them of maximum cooperation and collaboration in the second edition of the programme.
Also, Principal of St John of God Secondary School, Lady Anthonia Nwanekie who spoke on behalf of others, thanked ADUN while appealing that the scheme be sustained.
She noted that the gesture would continue to spur students to work harder and achieve excellence in their academic pursuit.