BY IKENNA ASOMBA
As the 2015 deadline set by the UN for its over 153 member-countries to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in the area of education draws near, the need for Nigeria to improve its quality of education to be free from vicious poverty has been sued for.
In his remark at the Rev. Tony Akinyemi Scholarship Foundation (rTSF) public presentation of scholarship grants to no fewer than 50 students cutting across primary, secondary and tertiary institutions weekend, Prof. Yemi Osibajo (SAN) urged government and stakeholders in the education sector to work towards the funding and provision of quality education across the country, noting that quality education is the best way to tackle Nigeria’s high poverty rate.
Osibajo said; “Studies have shown that if an individual is given the slightest quality education, such one possesses every tendency to redeem himself out of poverty caused by various economic factors in the world. Aside corruption and other problems, Nigeria is today bedeviled with poverty amidst our abundant resources.”
While lauding the rTSF for using its scholarship scheme to positively impact the lives of many less privileged children across the West Africa sub-region, the former Attorney-General of Lagos State reiterated the need to improve the quality of education in Nigeria.
“The country is stricken with poverty today because there’s no education for a larger part of the country’s populace. As there’s no question that any nation which fails to educate its citizens will continue to remain in spiral poverty, I call on government at various levels in the country and other stakeholders to invest wisely in the education sector, especially through scholarship schemes and study grants.”
Expressing joy at the vision of supporting no fewer than 500 gifted children and students annually by 2020, through scholarships and grants, Rev. Tony Akinyemi, Senior Pastor, The Shepherd’s Flock International Church, (TSFIC), Ikeja, held that the need to empower younger generation through education necessitated the scholarship scheme named after him.
His words; “I feel excited that God is making it possible for me and my friends to touch many lives. When I was growing up, I wanted to go to school, but my parents could not afford sending me to school. Now, I’m happy that I and my friends are able to sponsor people whose parents cannot afford to send them to school through the rTSF.
“In 2008, when we first started, we gave scholarship grants to 15 students cutting across all levels of education. Today, it’s my joy that the number has increased to 50 and we aim at supporting a minimum of 500 gifted and less privileged children by 2020.”
Speaking further, Akinyemi noted that “an uneducated population is one whose full potentials cannot be tapped. When you educate somebody, you help that person to bring out everything that God has deposited in him. But if that person is uneducated, even though that person is potentially great, that greatness will never show. The person may die wretched out of ignorance. Even the Bible said my people die for lack of knowledge,” he submitted.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of rTSF, Mrs. Tola Abayomi congratulated beneficiaries of this year’s scholarship awards, having scaled through the Foundation’s merit-driven awards, while urging them to be good ambassadors of their various families so that the efforts of the Foundation won’t be a waste.
“The Foundation in its effort to shape you into better citizens has also instituted a mentoring programme. It will be our joy if you utilise this opportunity,” Abayomi admonished.