Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s foundation has disbursed N23.5 Million in bursary awards and scholarships to indigent students of higher institutions drawn from the five Local Government Areas of the Enugu West Senatorial District as well as Enugu North and Igboeze South council areas.
The Senator gave the bursary awards and scholarships, through his Ikeoha Foundation, at the 2015 edition of the Ikeoha Foundation Adult Literacy Day and 2014/2015 Scholarship and Bursary Award Ceremony held at the Government Field, Awgu, Enugu State, on Saturday.
The Foundation, on the same day, graduated 198 adult learners.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Mrs. Cindy Ezeugwu used the occasion to announce that the Foundation had established 32 Adult Literacy Centres in the Senatorial District and provided basic education to over 10,000 adult learners who had either graduated or still studying.
Speaking on the foundation’s activities, Senator Ekweremadu said that while 50 students from each of Awgu, Aninri, Ezeagu, Udi, and Oji River Local Governments as well as 25 from Igboeze South and Enugu North LGAs received N40,000 individually as bursary awards, 19 students got a cheque for N400,000 each in scholarship for a four-year university education programme.
The deputy senate president stressed that although the Foundation was running other programmes, the dearest to him was the educational programme “because education is the key”, describing the day as one of the happiest in his life for three reasons.
“One is that for the first time in 16 years, we have true and genuine peace in Enugu State under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. People can attend functions without fear of molestation, losing their jobs, and without fear of losing influence.
“I am also happy because about a year or two ago, nobody was certain that IKEOHA Foundation and its programmes would continue because there was fear that Senator Ike Ekweremadu would not go back to the Senate, and this programme could die. It is by the grace of God and prayers of the beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries that we were able to go back to the National Assembly”, he said.
“We had a senator in the 7th Senate. He used to stay on the street like any other person. He used to follow trailers to Enugu to offload tomatoes. But one day, he embraced education by teaching himself how to read and write and eventually found himself in Teachers Training School. From there, he went to college of education, and finally he found himself in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is the power of education.
“The Governor of Benue State was working at the motor park. He said this when he came to the Senate to be screened as a minister. From the motor park, he left back for school and became an officer of the PDP, became a minister and today, he is the governor of Benue State. That is the power of education”, Ekweremadu recalled.
He called on the Governor of Enugu State and the State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party to consider the graduates of the Ikeoha Adult Literacy Proramme to for positions as Councillors in the next Local Government elections to “encourage others who are sitting behind to see what education can do”.
He noted: “The idea is for us to help you so that you can help others. The government cannot do everything and that is why we also call on every individual, those who are privileged to support others; working together, we can lift ourselves up in unity”, he added.
“The little help that you give to people can make all the meaning and difference. Whatever your status in life, what will remain when you leave is the support you have been able to give to the society; the assistance you have given to others and those who can say, without you, it could have been worse for me. All things will pass away, but what we do as human beings with the opportunity we have will never pass away”.
In his goodwill message, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Alhaji Jibrin Paiko, who was represented by Mrs. Temitola Aguda noted that the Commission had been able to increase the literacy level in Enugu State from 56% in 2009 to 62% due the Foundation’s efforts.
On his part, the Governor of Enugu, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commended Senator Ekweremadu for being a shinning example in human capital development in the Enugu State over the years, before donating the sums of N2.5 million on behalf of the Enugu State Government, N2.5 million by the LGA in Enugu West, and N5 million by lawmakers representing Enugu West in the State and federal levels.