By Egufe Yafugborhi, Warri
Recently as rural Emevor rolled out its drums to celebrate the opening of a Study Centre of the National Open University of Nigerian, NOUN, Paramount Ruler of the Isoko North Local Government Area community; HRM Francis Onovughakpor Ekhama got a surprise favour.
At 102 years of age, many present on the occasion would have thought of the gesture to the king as one big joke. But Prof. Tenebe said: “I mean every word of it. The Odion has to start burning his candle now to earn a degree free of charge. He is not the first to be so challenged. The Awujale of Ijebu Land, Ogun State, Oba Sikiru who is 80 years old is a student of NOUN. He would soon graduate.
This scholarship to His Majesty, added to the opening of a NOUN center at Emevor today, are all in our efforts at demystifying university education in Nigeria.
“One of the mission statements of the NOUN is bringing education to the doorstep of everybody in open and distance learning without undermining quality. By every standard, this Study Center represents the presence of a Federal University in Emevor.
We are the only university that democratises university education, giving freedom and liberty to individuals to study at their own time, at their own pace without the barriers of limited admission space, distance, business engagements and even age that deny several persons university education in the conventional universities.”
Tenebe said with the Study Center at Emevor, artisans, traders, full time housewives, workers and every who has been restrained by their business or social barriers from gaining higher education in the conventional university now have the opportunity dust their book shelves and study from the basis to the height they desire.
It could however not be determined if the Emevor monarch would take advantage of the scholarship to enroll at the NOUN as he declined immediate response on the subject.
He, much like his subjects, however expressed joy at the successful approval and unveiling of the Study Center for the benefit of his subjects and immediate neighbors in the locality. The monarch also took the honour of joining the Pro-Chancellor of the NOUN, Sen. Ameh Ebute, the VC and other dignitaries in declaring the center open.