From Bode Durojaiye, Oyo.
Hope has come the way of 100 indigent but brilliant senior secondary school students in Oyo metropolis through the benevolence of a member of the House of Representatives representing Oyo Federal Constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi.
Their bleak future turned to optimism on Wednesday as they received forms for National Examination Council (NECO) and General Certificate Examination (GCE) with scratch cards free of charge at an event held in Oyo town.
This is coming as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, cleared his lawmaker son of certificate forgery.
Tears of joy rolled down the cheeks of both the students and their parents as they were presented with the items.
A form for NECO GCE which is coming up in November this year costs N12,500, while the scratch car is sold for N300.
Selection of the beneficiaries is devoid of political leanings but cuts across all trade unions in the four local governments that constitute the federal constituency.
In his address, Hon. Adeyemi said that the gesture stemmed from the passion to help the needy and the downtrodden..
He said having been voted into the lower legislative chamber of the National Assembly by his constituents, it is incumbent on him to translate the gains from good governance into direct, immediate and substantial benefits for the down-trodden.
According to him, “Nigeria has a population of 168 million people, out of which 30 million are students. The country also has the number out-of-school children put at 10.5 million, thus requiring state and local governments to redouble their efforts towards improving mass literacy programmes in their domains”.
Adeniyi, who is the son of the Alaafin, hinted that after the GCE examination, the first three students who excelled and got admission into universities of their choice would be given scholarship.
In his remarks, Oba Adeyemi noted that while people are the country’s greatest resource, a healthy, educated and energized citizenry raises such country’s chances for sustainable development and prosperity.
“The work at hand is urgent: to reduce poverty index to 16.6 per cent by 2015 and meet key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in basic education and healthcare.’’
The paramount ruler asserted that strategy to fighting poverty is to empower the poor and the marginalised segments of society and “this means providing a ‘life vest’ to those currently drowning in extreme poverty through social protection interventions.
“At the same time, fighting poverty also means investing in people’s capacity to participate meaningfully in the economy, access gainful livelihood and improve the quality of their lives.’’
Thanking the APC leadership for the opportunity given his son to serve the people and the lawmaker for his sense of commitment to the constituency, Oba Adeyemi used the occasion to clear the air over unfounded rumours of certificate forgery against his son by the opposition.
The first class monarch revealed: “My son graduated as a Geologist with second class upper at the University of Benin . For twelve years that I served as the Chancellor of the University of Sokoto, no fewer than 120 indigenes, who were non-relatives, benefitted from my personal scholarship annually, at the rate of 10 persons per year. Several other
people both within and outside the ancient town had benefitted from my sponsorship to study at various universities, notably University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Ibadan. None of
these beneficiaries thought it wise to show appreciation till today.
“So, when I can do this to others, how could I have abandoned my own biological children without giving them sound education?’’.