From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
At least 70 indigenes of Ekiti State who are undergraduates of various higher institutions across the country have benefited from a scholarship scheme sponsored by the Segun Ajibola Foundation.
The Iyaniwura Scholarship Scheme was founded by Professor Segun Ajibola to immortalise his late mother, Madam Abigail Oke Ajibola, who hailed from Ipoti-Ekiti, in Ijero Local Government Area of the state.
‘Iyaniwura’ in English language means ‘mother is gold.’ It is a scholarship scheme that has been assisting indigent students in the state since 2017.
Prof. Ajibola, a native of Ejiyan-Ekiti in Ijero LGA, was once president of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, and a professor of Economics at Babcock University.
He told Daily Sun that his late mother suffered a lot to send him to school, hence, the establishment of the scholarship scheme in memory of his mother and to assist parents and students also passing through similar experience.
“My mother, Abigail Oke Ajibola, aka Iyaniwura, died in 2016 at the age of 109 years. She went through pains and anguish while I was a young schoolboy. It was a life of sacrifice, amid hunger and want. Her story changed only when God elevated me. I, therefore, felt a scholarship scheme of this type, tagged Iyaniwura Scholarship Scheme, in her memory, would be ideal to also assist parents like her and students passing through my own type of experience.”
The scheme, which began its first edition in December 2017, with 12 students as beneficiaries, and the second edition in March 2020, with 25 students, was supposed to be an annual event, but had some constraints in the beginning.
It held its third edition in May, 2021, where 30 students received cheques of N40,000 each.
Beneficiaries in the first edition received N50,000 each, while those in the second and third editions received N40,000 each. Since inception, students from about 30 institutions of higher learning in the country have benefited from the scholarship scheme.
The founder explained that the scheme currently caters for only male and female students from Ejiyan, Owatedo, Ipoti and Odo Owa-Ekiti in Ijero LGA, although plans are on to expand the scope to cover all the towns in Ijero local government and, subsequently, Ekiti State.
Applications are open to students (from the specified towns) of post-secondary institutions of all types and in all disciplines, with no discrimination of any sort. Students in the first year to final year can benefit, but the scheme gives priority to fresh applicants and non-final year students. Applicants must be students for whom one or both parents hail from the towns specified. The benefiting towns used to be three but Odo Owa-Ekiti was added in this year’s edition.
Applicants are screened by a selection committee made up of educationists from within and outside the communities for completeness, accuracy and integrity of information provided as duly authenticated by the schools and the towns’ students’ union.
The sponsor disclosed that he had other plans such as quiz competitions for students across schools in the state, and so on, to complement the scholarship scheme.