By Chioma Ndife and Cynthia Igbokwe
The Chief Executive Officer of VFD Microfinance Bank, Mr. Nnoso Okpala, has promised to award exceptional students who are beneficiaries of Uga Professor’s Vacation Programme with an all-expense paid tertiary education scholarship.
Okpala who made the promise at Uga Boys’ Secondary School during the closing ceremony of the vacation programme organized by professors from Uga Community in Aguata LGA, Anambra State, said such students would emerge as the best in JAMB examinations from the vacation centre.
Fides gathered that over one hundred Senior Secondary children who reside within Uga Community benefitted from the holiday extra moral programme organized by professors from Uga community geared at training children in sound academic learning.
The annual vocation programme since its inception in 2013, until 2020 when it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, had engaged in training secondary school students in order to prepare them for their external examinations and competitions. However, the participants at the 2021 session were happy with the reactivation of the programme.
He promised to sponsor the university programme of any product of the centre who was able to achieve the highest mark in the subsequent JAMB examination and encouraged the students to take their academic work serious to leverage the opportunity. He also advised them to read to be providers of help in the future and to give back to society when they became established.
Okpala who is the current sponsor of the vacation programme, disclosed that the scholarship programme would kick-off in the 2022/2023 academic session when the students from the lesson centre would be gaining admission to tertiary institutions, noting that JAMB forms would also be procured for 20 students of exceptional academic prowess.
Interacting with the students, Mr. Okpala said the students had an advantage over their peers because they had been set in the right direction by the professors to achieve their purpose in life. He recalled that he started having direct contact with professors while in the university, saying that the early exposure which they had with professors would propel them to be better and position them more effectively for achievement of their life dreams and aspirations.
He revealed that he was moved to take up the sponsorship of the programme to support bright minds in the village and promised to keep up the sponsorship.
He explained that through the, ‘Chude and Ego Foundation’, which the family set up in memory of their parents, primarily for education and healthcare repositioning, he intended to build a secondary school for the brightest students in Uga Community, saying that students of the school would enjoy free education regardless of their background and family inclination in order to polish their potentials towards greater heights.
The programme sponsor noted that pulling people on had always been his passion and that he would do everything possible to better the lives of the people through supporting education and healthcare delivery.
Contributing, the programmes’s pioneer sponsor, Chief Azubuike Okpalaoka, who also promised to sponsor the JAMB forms of 20 students, said education was vital in the life of any individual, irrespective of profession and trade and charged the students to strive for excellence in any endeavour.
Gifting teachers who tutored the students the sum of ten thousand naira each, Okpalaoka described education as a foundation stone that would boost an individual’s potentials, saying that any investment in education was in the right direction for the sake of the future.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of Uga Professors, Prof. Christian Ezeigbo, said the essence of the programme was to prepare the students for their future careers.
Ezeigbo, who is a retired Professor of Surveying from the University of Lagos, commended the sponsor of the programme for toeing the part of charity to humanity and called on spirited individuals to consider putting efforts to sustain the programme.
For her part, the first female Professor of Mass Communication and Director of UNIZIK 94.1 FM, Prof Chinyere Okunnna, said the event was aimed at contributing to the training of children to embrace education from tender age.
Okunna said the criteria was to encourage secondary students in Uga who were at the point of choosing their career paths and to train future professors that would contribute meaningfully to the development of society.
The chairman of the occasion, Chief Edwin Okolo, regretted that many values in society had been lost as a result of illiteracy and poor knowledge of direction to maximize talents and reminded the beneficiaries that quality education guaranteed knowledge that would help one live an accomplished life.
He urged the students to subject themselves to learning attitudes and morals to maximize their potential as the first step of learning was learning how to learn.
Also, Joseph Okonkwo, representing the Secretary, Post Primary School Service Commission, Awka, Josephine Onuorah, lauded the Uga Professors for the programme and urged them not to relent in modeling the students to be future stars.
Commending the programme, an SSI student of Immaculate Heart Secondary School, Uga, Chioma Oluoba, and Chukwukesiri Bethel of St Augustine’s Model Secondary School, Uga, said the programme availed them an opportunity to obtain more knowledge in addition to what they obtained in their schools and advised fellow participants to buckle up in their studies and leverage the opportunity that the programme presented annually.