… Saves many indigent Ekiti secondary, tertiary school students’ drive for relevance
From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wole Olanipekun, was recently commended by students of tertiary and secondary schools in Ekiti State for providing them scholarships.
The beneficiaries, many of whom were children and wards of civil servants who hadn’t received salaries for several months, confessed that the Olanipekun’s scholarship scheme had saved their education, which had been adversely affected by their parents’ predicaments.
Aluko Kehinde, 22, is a 400 level, Civil Engineering student of Ekiti State University, (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti. He said that his uncle, a civil servant, couldn’t pay for his final session at the university because he was yet to receive his salary arrears.
He expressed appreciation to Olanipekun for supporting him with money to complete his university education.
“I really appreciate Chief Olanipekun for this generous gesture. This has enabled me to complete my university education. My uncle has been struggling to assist me but he couldn’t continue in my final year for lack of money. It was Chief Olanipekun who took up the bill,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Ayede Rofiyat Bisola, 21, a student in the Department of Agric Education, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, while acknowledging that the Olanipekun scheme had helped her immensely, said: “I am grateful to God and to Chief Olanipekun for assisting me with this scholarship. I pray God to bless him, his family and business.”
Sixteen-year-old Abdullahi Tolulope’s parents are teachers in Ekiti State who are still being owed about four months salary arrears. He was in his final year in secondary school, but now, the Olanipekun’s scholarship scheme has helped him to complete his studies.
“Chief Olanipekun has helped many of us from humble homes; he has supported our education so much to help us become great in future. We appreciate him for this gesture and pray for him. I would also like to emulate his gesture by helping others to become successful when I grow up,” he said.
The beneficiaries were among over 100 students in secondary, tertiary and law schools who received cheques to finance their education during this year’s edition of the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship scheme which held at the Iyaniwura House of benefactor’s home in Ikere Local Government Area.
The cheque presentation ceremony was chaired by Chief Sola Adewumi, a hotelier and oil and gas magnate from Ekiti State. Many indigenes of Ikere and traditional chiefs also graced the occasion.
Speaking during the event, Olanipekun who called on governments at all levels to provide mass and free education to all said that education remains the best weapon against social ills, including corruption. He cited the example of Sweden and Singapore which he said recorded great social development with mass education. He said that Nigeria’s approach to winning the war on corruption would remain cosmetic until education was declared free for the teeming youths.
The senior lawyer said that over 250 students of tertiary institutions had benefited from the gesture since its inception in 1996, adding that he would continue to support indigent students to attain their dreams of becoming great in life.
In his lecture titled, “Philanthropy and Education Debacle in Nigeria,’ former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof Kunle Adegun, suggested that the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship scheme should transform into a foundation for it to outlive its founder and make better contributions to scholarship.
Olanipekun, represented by the Principal of the scholarship board, Chief Ayodele Omotayo, said: “It is indeed true that education brings light, freedom and loosens chains; it breeds good citizens.
“In my humble view, the first thing any government should do to nip corruption in the bud or reduce it to a minimal level is to give citizens free education at all levels and also strive to provide employment opportunities for the youths.
“These are the things the least-corrupt countries like Sweden and Singapore are doing for their citizens. These countries are providing certainty for people in their old age; they are ensuring that they don’t die unattended to by providing for their welfare.
“In my mind, rather than sloganeering and offering rhetoric on fight against corruption, what we should do is to provide the means by which our youths can enjoy free education from primary to the university level, and also provide gainful employments after schools,” he said.
He regretted that the country’s values have been so much debased to the level that PhD holders now apply for a jobs attracting a paltry monthly pay of N50,000.