Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
A total of 16 secondary schools in Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency will this year register candidates for the senior school certificate examination of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) without any cost to parents.
The burden of paying the examination fees has been lifted by the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha after she issued cheques totalling N12,450,500 to the benefitting schools.
Onyejeocha, who represents the constituency, had last December promised to pay examination fees for SS3 students after she encountered a girl who dropped out of school due to inability to pay WAEC fees.
She said the 16 benefitting schools were identified during a verification exercise during which they were found to be SS3 students preparing for WAEC examination this year.
Among the beneficiaries are 14 public schools while the remaining two are owned by churches, including Methodist Girls Memorial School, Ovim (formerly Ovim Girls), Onyejeocha’s alma mater.
The fourth term federal lawmaker was quick to point out that there was no political motive in the payment of the examination fees, adding that the scholarship scheme she instituted for indigent persons in her constituency has produced many graduates.
“I believe that any good thing you do, you do it for God and for yourself.”
The Chairman of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, who handed over the cheques to the students that represented the schools, commended Onyejeocha for her responsiveness to the needs of her constituents.
He urged the lawmaker to sustain her pursuit of “progressive agenda of the people”, noting that education remains the best legacy one can give to the people.
“Onyejeocha is opening the gate of the future to the people, asking them to go and become a higher human being.”
He urged the beneficiaries to imbibe the spirit of doing good to other people just like the lawmaker who paid their examination fees.
The Principal of Nunya Secondary School, Mrs. Haniel Chinedum said what Onyejeocha did was the first of its kind in the area, adding that some SS3 students did not return to school when the second term commenced because of examination fees.
She said after the lawmaker signified her intention to pay the examination fees, “we had to go and call them back because somebody has paid for them.”
The Principal of Nneato Secondary School, Mr. John Iheonu, who spoke on behalf of benefitting public schools, described Onyejeocha’s gesture as “the best democracy dividend.
“It is a big relief to many families. Each year many students drop out because of their inability to pay WAEC fees,” he said.