From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji (Aje Ogungunniso I) and the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII) will on Saturday honour the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, with an award titled “The Outstanding Friend of Ibadanland”.
According to the letter of notification, the award is in recognition of the ex-governor’s contribution to the education of indigent children through his free education programme and establishment of tuition-free schools, Rochas Foundation Colleges, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Twenty five thousand indigent children, out of which six thousand are from Oyo and other South-West states, have benefitted from Okorocha’s free education programme.
In a statement issued on behalf of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, the award will cap the grand finale of the 2021 Ibadan cultural festival celebrations at the liberty stadium.
‘We in Ibadan have decided to celebrate you now and outside your territory, so as to show you that Ibadan has created a deserved permanent place for you in her territory,’ the statement noted.
‘You are most deserving of this honour by virtue of your establishment of Rochas Foundation College first at Oke Ado, Ibadan, and very recently at the Toll Gate, Ibadan/Lagos Expressway.
‘This unique youth empowerment legacy of yours will remain indelible in our minds till eternity. It’s also a testimony to the fact that you have what it takes to reposition our great country.’
Over 20 years ago, Senator Okorocha established the Rochas Foundation Colleges in Sokoto, Zaria, Yola, Bauchi, Kano, Ibadan, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri and Ogboko in Imo state.
The colleges provide free education for indigent children. The scheme was expanded to 55 African countries where indigent children are randomly selected and given free education up to university level.