By Emmanuel Ugwu
The Ochendo Scholarship Scheme has increased the number of beneficiaries to 100, as more indigent students in tertiary institutions cry for help to enable them complete their education.
The scholarship scheme, which was initiated by the Senator representing Abia Central, Theodore Orji, has consistently awarded scholarships to 60 beneficiaries annually over the past four years.
But at the fourth edition, 40 indigent students were added to the number thereby recording a 67 per cent increase over the previous years. The recipients were drawn from the six local government areas that make up Abia Central Senatorial District.
Orji, who is serving his second term in the senate, promised to continue to increase the number of recipients of the scholarship, adding that education is the engine of industrial revolution hence the need to make it accessible and affordable.
The former Abia State Governor stressed that education remains the most enduring gift one can give to anybody hence his decision to help youths in his constituency to acquire tertiary education.
According to him, the scholars would on graduation, not only be useful to themselves, but also to their families, their constituency, the state and the entire nation.
In his remarks, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu commended his predecessor for the scholarship scheme, describing it as a testimony of the good things Orji has been doing for the state over the years.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, said “no gift is bigger than the gift of education” to young persons as it would enable them achieve their ambitions of becoming notable persons in life.
He urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity offered them through the Ochendo Scholarship Scheme, adding that the only way to appreciate their benefactor is to focus their minds on what they were sent to do in the tertiary institutions of learning.
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Mr. Kizito Kali appealed to implored Orji to consider bringing the scholarship scheme down to primary and secondary levels.
“There are many indigent parents who cannot afford school fees for their children at the primary and secondary schools,” he said, adding that offer of scholarships would be a lifeline for such indigent persons.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Ochendo Scholarship Scheme, Sir Frank Ibe said in addition to increasing the number of recipients, Orji would continue to sustain the programme.
In appreciation of Senator Orji’s gesture, the Executive Director of Help the Youths Initiative, Mr. Wilson Eze announced that he would train 30 youths from Abia Central Senatorial Zone in various skills.