By Jude Atupulazi
For Engr Bart Nwibe, Politician, businessman and devout Catholic, acts of benevolence are not things to be done only when one needs to curry favour. Rather, they should be done out of a genuine desire to help society become better and at all times. On Saturday, October 27, Nwibe demonstrated this when he splashed the cash at the 2018 Annual Academic Awards he organizes. It was the 14th time he would be doing that. The venue was Central School field, Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Speaking on the occasion, Nwibe said the gesture was aimed at helping students to prepare themselves for the future by investing in their present. This he does by supporting and encouraging them to excel in their studies yearly.
Nwibe expressed the hope that the beneficiaries would be spurred by the awards they received into doing better and ultimately becoming better citizens in the future.
He told them that their success in life would be based on self denial, self belief, discipline and determination, noting that it was the difficult path, rather than the easy one, that led to success.
'This is my way of giving back to society. In this digital age, education is important. We want to encourage the young ones to go to school and achieve better success in their lives,' he said.
Nwibe also charged the beneficiaries to work hard to sustain their scholarship, as, according to him, being an academic venture, only those who continued to do well would continue to benefit from the scholarship. This is even as he commended the teachers for their hard work.
Speaking on the need to support public schools, the chairman, Board of Trustees of Nwibe Scholarship Scheme, Dr Gabriel Mbah, noted that though public schools had improved over the years in infrastructure and teachers' welfare, a lot still needed to be done, especially in the areas of poor staffing and special centres.
He decried the dearth of teachers in many schools, describing it as a perennial problem that hindered, rather than boosted education.
He therefore called on education stakeholders, including town unions, old boys and girls, as well as clubs, to come to the aid of public schools in order to complement the efforts of government in repositioning public schools.
The traditional ruler of Umuchu, Igwe Godson Ezechukwu, commended Engr Nwibe for sustaining his philanthropy even after he did not realize his political ambition, pointing out that it stood Nwibe out as a different species of politician. Urging the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by doing well in their studies, the monarch urged other politicians to emulate the style of Nwibe.
For Rev Fr Julian Anaeto of Holy Child Sec School, Isuofia, Engr Nwibe's efforts were bound to yield fruits. He recommended the replication of Nwibe's gesture in the various communities.
According to the priest, communities should not just concentrate on infrastructural development but should focus on the education of their children.
The chairman of the event, Ichie Ik Ezechikwado, Mmuo, also eulogized the efforts of Nwibe and hoped that the beneficiaries would not let their benefactor down.
Fides gathered that among the things used in supporting the students drawn from primary to tertiary institutions were cash, computer laptops and exercise books. While those in tertiary institutions got just cash, those in the senior secondary were given cash and computer laptops since, in their benefactor's thinking, they were yet to afford the money for computers.
To qualify for the scholarship, one has to come first, second or third and then to sustain it, will continue to make a cumulative score of Second Class Upper if in the university. Anyone in the polytechnic will have Upper Credit.
This year's awards also covered best students in tertiary institutions in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
For this year, Miss Chukwuemeka Chirim of the Federal Polytechnic Oko, came first. Okonkwo Franklin and Nwoda Rapuluchukwu of Nnamdi Azikiwe University and University of Nigeria Nsukka, came second and third respectively.
For the senior secondary school category, Pius Blaise of Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia, came first, followed by Ezechukwu Mmasi and Izunegbu Sixtus, also of same school.
In the junior secondary cadre, Okoli Chiemena of Holy Child Secondary School, Isuofia, came first, followed by Okoli Ebube of CKC, Igboukwu and Ekwunife Udochukwu of Msgr Maduka Memorial Sec School, Ekwulobia.
In the primary school cadre, Ezeh Chiamaka of St Joseph's N/P School, Ekwulobia came first. She was followed by Ezemaole Favour of Efosie School, Ekwulobia and Akaeme Ogechi of same school.
In the march past contest, Urban Girls' Sec Schoool, Ekwulobia came first, followed in second position by Girls' Sec School, Igboukwu. Premier Comprehensive Sec School, Mkpologwu came third. They all received cash awards.
Speaking to Fides on behalf of the beneficiaries, Miss Chukwuemeka Chirim, a Science Lab, second year student of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, who came first among tertiary students, thanked their benefactor for his support and said her award would spur her to greater heights.