Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
With a target of producing 240 graduates in four years, the OchendoScholarship Scheme has added 60 more beneficiaries as part of its second phase thereby bringing the total number of beneficiaries so far to 120.
The annual scholarship scheme instituted by Senator Theodore Orji was meant to assist brilliant and indigent undergraduates from the Abia Central Zone with 10 beneficiaries selected from each of the six component local government areas of the zone.
Speaking at the launch of the second phase in Umuahia recently, Orji said the idea of helping his constituents to acquire tertiary education came to him during a moment of sober reflection after he took his seat to represent Abia Central at the senate.
“If I could offer scholarship to people it would impact on them positively. We are not doing this to grandstand; we are not doing this to be praised. We are doing it to empower our people through education.”
According to him, good education is not for the benefit of the individual beneficiaries but also for the society because “education makes people good citizens,” adding that he would continue to sustain the scholarship scheme.
Orji, who is the immediate past governor of the state, told the beneficiaries that the obligation they owed him was to excel in their academics.
In his remarks, Governor OkezieIkpeazucommended his predecessor for the scholarship scheme, which he described as an expression of the love the Abia Central senator has for the welfare of his people and his determination to make them excel academically.
He also announced the immediate revival of the state Scholarship Board, saying that with effect from this year, scholarships would be awarded to 10 persons from each of the 17 local government areas making a total of 170 scholarships each year.
He said the board should liaise with the committee responsible for organising the OchendoScholarship Scheme to have a template with which to make the selection process free, fair and transparent.
To create more opportunities for physically challenged persons to benefit from the OchendoScholarship Scheme, Ikpeazu offered to sponsor 34 persons, two from each local government area.
TheChairman of the occasion, Chief ChijiokeOnwutebe, who said he was once an indigent student, advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity in order to achieve their life ambitions.
The Chairman of the scholarship scheme, Emma Nwabuko described the sponsor as education friendly and a leader who knows that education is important for the advancement of his constituents.
He explained that the scholarship committee was specifically asked to select educationally endowed undergraduates who were in need of assistance to fund their education, adding that the opportunities were distributed equally to all the six local government areas that make up Abia Central.