It was an unconcealed excitement when a non-governmental organization (NGO), Okwuanyionu Foundation, recently awarded various categories of scholarship to secondary school students in Aniocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Speaking during the occasion, the founder/chief executive officer, Okwuanyionu Foundation, Mr. Jehoshaphat Kanayo Okoye, said the foundation gave out the scholarships to the students to complement government’s efforts in the education sector. He said that it was impossible for government alone to fix all the problems in the sector.
He explained that the scholarship award, which started in 2017, was initiated in appreciation for the scholarship he enjoyed that enabled him study abroad; he was able to stay and school through the scholarships he received from different individuals and organisations.
“In this edition, our first set of beneficiaries in the junior secondary category will sit for their basic education certificate examinations, while the senior category will sit for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations. With our observations in the past years, we are highly optimistic of their coming out in flying colours,” he said.
He disclosed that 245 candidates sat for the screening, which saw them being tested in English, Mathematics and Basic Science and General Paper. At the end of the exercise, 22 students scaled through for the scholarship. The beneficiaries were evenly distributed between the junior and senior classes.
While decrying the falling standard of education in government-owned schools, Okoye called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders toward changing the ugly trend for the better. He stressed that all hands must be on deck to improve the standard of education in Nigeria, adding that education was the bedrock of growth in any society.
The parents of the beneficiaries commended the foundation for putting smiles on the faces of the downtrodden in Aniocha council.
At the event, the president-general of Obeledu Progressive Union (OPU), Mr. Patrick Onochie, urged the students to shun all forms of social vices such as cultism and Internet fraud. He further encouraged them to use the opportunity to better their lives as well as society.
He said the gesture from Okoye was rare, especially at this moment that many Nigerians were struggling to survive harsh economic realities.
The traditional ruler of Obeledu, Ezeoranyelu III, Augustine Oragwam, also thanked the founder of the foundation for the charitable intervention. He joined others to advise the students to study hard and grow in character.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed delight, saying that the gesture from the NGO was the inspiration they needed to fulfil their dreams and potential.
A senior secondary school student of Obeledu Community Secondary School, Obeledu, Anigbogu Chimdimma Mary-Victoria, said: “I am very excited to have been selected as one of the beneficiaries for the scholarship scheme. The scholarship given to me will make me to be more serious with my academics. I will make my parents proud. And I pray that God will continue to strengthen the foundation.”
Another beneficiary, Okechukwu Chimdindu Prosper, said: “When I thought all hope was lost, the foundation gave me hope. When my parents could not pay my Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination fee, the foundation provided the money.”
The students prayed that God would protect and bless Okoye and give him more resources and zeal to do more humanitarian work.