By Abuchi Onwumelu
The ancient town of Aguluzigbo, in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State was a beehive of activities yesterday, Sunday,16th September, 2018, as Sen. Victor Umeh through his Education Foundation (VUMEF) spent over ten million naira for the payment of tuition fees of its beneficiaries for the 2018/2019 academic session. Fides learnt that the event had been on for the past fifteen years.
Interestingly, a Ghanaian and a student of Bubendorf Grammar School, Adazi Nnukwu, by name, Osae Cleopas Adjetey benefited from the Scheme.
The event which took place at the palatial home of Sen. Victor Umeh started with Concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration.
Speaking immediately after the Holy Mass, the benefactor, Sen. Victor Umeh expressed gratitude to God for His grace, noting that he had been sponsoring indigent people in schools for a very long time before the formal launching of the foundation in 2007. Umeh who narrated how his late parents toiled day and night to train him in school said they were encouraged by his brilliance and ability to pass his examinations from primary to tertiary level.
Umeh said his Foundation was formerly launched in 2007 and had beneficiaries across the South East geo-political Zone and beyond, noting that it was designed to sponsor less privileged students from primary to tertiary institution and even to post graduate level, adding that he was not sponsoring the students because he had enough wealth or for his political aspirations, but his passion to serve God and touch society positively.
According to the former APGA national chairman, since the launching of the Foundation in 2007, the foundation had churned out over two hundred graduates of various professions, including medical doctors, statisticians, pharmacist, engineers, nurses, teachers and lawyers, numerous post graduates, among others. He disclosed that apart from payment of school fees, he would also add ten thousand each for text books.
'I started sponsoring and offering scholarship to people unofficially since 2001. I did that without records from 2001 to 2008. It was made official in 2009. We started keeping records after the foundation was launched in 2007.
'Even here, in Enugu, where I live, I have so many of them that I have trained and still training. Some are from Enugu, Ebonyi States while some are from Abia and Imo. I don't even know many of them. My wife is in-charge of that of Enugu. She's the one managing it. They are not even part of VUMEF.
'I prefer to train them rather than give money to their parents for business. Take for instance, If you give their parents 500,000 to start up a business they may not succeed with it. But, with 500,000, you can train a child from primary to tertiary. It is more rewarding. The children after training them in school will come back to assist their parents.
'This, my scholarship Scheme has nothing to do with politics. It is different from my latest awarding of scholarship to 70 people from Anambra Central Senatorial District. This is something I will continue to do until I leave this earth. Let no one associate it with my Education Foundation.
'Miss Ibewesi MaryJane Chinyere has first class in Statistics from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka and best graduating student in 2013/2014 academic session. She is now gainfully employed courtesy of my foundation. Of course, you know, DR. Elo Afoka and Barr. Obinna Agazie, they are all products of Sen. Sir Victor Umeh Education Foundation, VUMEF,' Senator Victor Umeh concluded.
Earlier in a homily, Very Rev. Father Eugene Anowai eulogized Sen. Sir Victor Umeh and his wife, Lady Prisca, for using their resources to serve both God and humanity, even as he called on the students to justify the huge sacrifice made on their behalf by their benefactor by studying harder and living responsibly.
For his part, the chairman of Victor Umeh Education Foundation, (VUMEF), Rev. Fr. Peter Uzoezie, expressed satisfaction with the comportment of the beneficiaries, even as he pleaded with Sen. Victor Umeh to allow them return to their original three times a year meeting with parents and guardian of the beneficiaries, adding that it would enable the parents of the beneficiaries to know who is behind their children's educational pursuit.
In an interview some of the beneficiaries who spoke to Fides, Nneka Ilochi, a PhD (Political Science) Student of Delta State University (Delsu) and a native of Nteje, in Oyi Local Government Area; Mayor Chukwuemeka Okeke, a PG student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka and a third year Medical (Medicine & Surgery) student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (COOU), Uli, Isaac Okafor who hails from Achalla, in Awka L.G.A, epressed gratitude to God for the gift of Sen. Victor Umeh, describing him as a genuine and compassionate philanthropist.
The Transition Committee Chairman of Anaocha Local Government Area, Engr. Ikeobi Ejiofor ; Director General Sen. Victor Umeh Campaign Organization and Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matters, Hon. Chief Udodeme Emeka (Odegba); BoT member, APGA, Chief Barr. (Mrs.) Ifeyinwa Marry Obegolu; the Auditor General of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Hon. Nchekwube Anthony Dunga; SSA to the governor on Community Mobilization, Hon. Egbuna Amuta; SSA on Image, Odaa Opuo; SSA on Youth Entrepreneurship, Digiprenuer Ifeanyi Aniagoh; the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Social Media, Harrison Madubueze.
Others included, the Special Assistant to the governor on Community Liaison, Charles Ifeanyi Okolo (DG Gallant Voters); Sen. Victor Umeh's legislative Aide, Chukwuemeka Okose (Ide Eziokwelle); Comrade Arinze Okolobu; House of Assembly aspirant, Anaocha II State Constituency, Hon. Ogbuefinukoefi Ejyke Okechukwu; his Aguata II counterpart, Comrade Emma Ezeokafor, Engr. Charles Ifeanyi Obi; EA to the governor on Community Laison, Afoma Victoria Obiedo Okwuka; EA on Diaspora Affairs, JohnMary Ejiofor; the Anambra State Coodinator of Not Too Yoing To Run, Comrade Orakwe Nonso Theodore Blessed; EA on Transport, Anigbogu Stephen (Prof.); Mecsley Uzoma Ibekwe Ferdinand and Obioma Obidiegwu were on ground to witness the disbursement.