By Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
a diaspora group, Ogidi Inwele North America (OINA), has once more splashed cash awards on exceptionally brilliant undergraduates of Ogidi community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, to pursue their university education.
Now in its second edition, the group, comprising indigenes of Ogidi community resident in North America, empowers selected undergraduates with a scholarship award of N150,000 each yearly.
President of OINA, Chief Emeka Ebo (Nwachinemeluife Ogidi), said the gesture was part of their contribution to the grooming of future personalities that would lift the community to a higher pedestal.
He thanked the traditional ruler of Ogidi, Igwe Alex Onyido, for always giving them support and hosting the award presentation. He also appreciated the OINA education mentors and selection committee for their selfless service to Ogidi people.
Chairman of the committee, Prof. Ogochukwu Ibeneme, also applauded the traditional ruler for graciously hosting the ceremony for the second time.
Paying glowing tributes to the OINA educational committee, chaired by Chief Anaeto Okeakpu, who is the group’s national vice-president, Ibeneme recalled that the first award by OINA was given in 2018/ 2019 to five deserving daughters of Ogidi studying in various universities across Nigeria.
He disclosed, that this time, one female and four males made it to the finals. Interestingly, the only girl among them scored the highest mark: “It is important to say that OINA scholarship is given strictly on merit and not on quota or being indigent. It also requires that the recipients must stick to specified standards of performance to retain their scholarship till the conclusion of their academic programme, as any drop in the required grade point results in withdrawal from the scheme. As at now, two students whom their grades dropped have been withdrawn.”
According to Ibeneme, 28 candidates applied but 23 eventually sat for the test. At the end, the best five, irrespective of gender, family status or course of study, were selected for the award.
The successful ones included Onubogu Blessing, studying Medicine and Surgery, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Afaoama Chukwuemeka, Marine Engineering, Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun, Delta State; Nwokedi Chidiebere, Pharmacy, Unizik, Awka; Nworka Chukwumdimma, Petroleum Engineering, FUTO, Owerri; and Umeadi Amazu, Medicine and Surgery, Unizik, Awka.
Prof. Ada Sam-Omenyi, in a motivational speech to the benefiting students, said the development of any community starts with the educational development of the youths. She noted that youths with properly developed mindset would ultimately promote peace, unity and development in communities and the country at large.
During the presentation of kolanuts, Igwe Onyido invoked blessings on OINA members, the scholarship beneficiaries and the implementation committee members. He prayed that Ogidi sons and daughters would continue to wax stronger in all their noble dealings.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Onubogu Blessing thanked their benefactor and the selection team for giving them the wings to fly. She promised that, as OINA ambassadors, they would never let them down, by the grace of God.
A parent, Edwin Nworka, described the OINA initiative as a very encouraging scheme geared towards producing best materials from the community.