Olanipekun’s benevolence gives succour to indigent students
Olujobi Oluwatobi is a 400 level student of Ekiti State University. Oluwatobi’s dream had been to become a lawyer and she was determined to pursue that dream to the end.
Though she fortunately succeeded in gaining admission into the University to study her dream course, it was a bitter tale of hardship, deprivation and debts. Seeing her through the University was a huge burden for her mother, which often resulted in incessant borrowing.
Her burdens were lifted last month courtesy of a privately initiated scholarship scheme. The second child in a family of four children of a single mother, Oluwatobi is full of praises to Chief Wole Olanipekun Scholarship Scheme for coming to her aid and alleviating her financial sufferings through the scholarship.
She said: “The scholarship took care of my academics financially. My mum is a single mother and she is the one taking care of everything. Life has not been easy. I thank God for the life of Chief Wole Olanipekun. This scholarship is a source of succour for me in my academic pursuit. Even if my mum is going to borrow money now to support my schooling she will not borrow much again. It has been very difficult for my mum to help me through school until this scholarship came to our rescue. Life has been rough and tough. I am working hard to get to the apex of my profession when I graduate and with God on my side, I will get there.”
The story is the same for brilliant Ajayi Precious, a Junior Secondary School student of Bobas High School, Ikere-Ekiti. “It was through the help of God and my parents that I am able to get this scholarship. When I was given the exam, I was lucky that I passed it. The money will be used to pay my school fees and I promise to be diligent so that I can get it again next year”, she pledged.
Those are few voices from myriads of beneficiaries of the 19th edition of the Chief Wole Olanipekun Scholarship award ceremony, which took place on Saturday October 24, 2015 in Ikere-Ekiti. The event which was chaired by Prof Dele Olowokudejo of the Univeristy of Lagos, had as guest lecturer, Dr. Femi Ayodele of the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. Other dignitaries include former governor of old Ondo State, Bamidele Olumilua and his wife, the Oba of Ikere-Ekiti, HRM Samuel Adejimi Adu Alagbado, Ekiti state Commissioner for Education, Jide Egunjobi, and Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Olayinka Ogundayomi.
In his opening address, Olowokudejo said education is key in any society. “It brings development. Education can also go wrong. Those who are suicide bombers were educated”, he declared and appealed to the prospective awardees to make good use of the award.
In his lecture titled: “Education as panacea to conflict resolution”, Ayodele said there were 104 million children not attending primary school according to UNICEF report for 2004 and called for the reopening of the Teachers Training College in Ekiti. “Our principal today has not burnt the midnight oil in vain. With hard work and diligence he has risen to the peak in the law profession”, he stated, adding that once there are genuine love, there will be no room for conflict.
Oba Adejimi said what has been happening in the past 19 years is about somebody through his own sweat is raising children who are not related to him. He advised the students to take good advantage of the opportunity and declared that the town will honour Olanipekun with the title of ‘Asiwaju of Ikere-Ekiti’ soon.
The chairman, board of trustees of the scheme, Stephen Omoyeni in his address explained that the purpose of the scholarship is to help the indigent students. “It is for those that find it difficult to pay their school fees in the secondary schools and in the Universities in Nigeria. It does not extend to the post-graduate courses and overseas courses. The principal has no political ambition behind it. Chief Olanipekun has earmarked such a large amount of his hard earned money into the scholarship scheme. Our prayer is that God in His infinite mercy will continue to replenish his purse and water him’, he stated.
So far, 89 secondary school students have passed out from the various secondary schools in the town under the scholarship which commenced in 1997 while 65 students are currently enjoying the scholarship in the town. 248 university students from the 15 local government areas of the state were beneficiaries of the scheme. Out of these numbers, 183 have graduated while 65 are currently enjoying the scholarship. Since 2008, the award had been extended to students in law school. 36 candidates have benefited out of which 27 had passed out while nine students are currently enjoying it.
The principal of the Scheme, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said certain factors inspired him to embark on the scheme. His words: “God gave me the ability to look back to my old days, how I meandered my way from form one to five, then from higher school to University; starting as a greenhorn as a lawyer and where God has placed me today. If you think deeply, you will learn how to show appreciation to God and your fellow human being.
“In 1996, I just woke up one day and a lot of people started coming to my house, asking for assistance to pay school fees. And how much were they asking for? Some N2000, some N200. I reasoned that if I didn’t go to school, I won’t be where I am today. I went to free primary school. What if Awolowo did not make it happen? I went from High School to the University with, bursary and assistance here and there. I reasoned that the best thing is to impact meaningfully on humanity and the best way you can impact meaningfully on humanity is through education.
“When you give a man education, you are no longer giving him fish, but you have taught him how to fish for himself. Education is all! My motivation is to show appreciation to God and give back to society. It is not for any political reason or reward here on earth.
“There are many rich people in Nigeria who when they die, you don’t remember them for impacting anything meaningful to the society other than the fact that they were rich. For those who are stealing and looting the nation’s treasury, all of us will die eventually. Only God lives forever. What we will be remembered for is our good name and reputation and the positive impartation we make on our fellow human beings.”
He stated that there are numerous others who are not listed in the scholarship scheme but have been benefiting from his generousity. According to him, some law faculties also write to him requesting for aids to fund students who cannot pay for law school and he always stepped in.
He explained that he is enjoying the attitude of giving, adding that the prayers from his beneficiaries were sufficient for him. “Sometimes, you wake up in the morning and you see a text message from beneficiaries you don’t know saying: ‘God bless you daddy. I remembered you in my prayers this morning.’ What do I want again in life at 60’s? All my children have graduated and they are all lawyers. I have my country home in Ikere, I have a home in Lagos and God is providing for all my needs. I am not retiring yet from philanthropy”, he quipped.
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