By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—SIXTY undergraduate students from Abia Central Senatorial district in various institutions of higher learning across the country, weekend, in Umuahia, received N100,000 each at the second edition of Senator Theodore Orji’s scholarship scheme.
According to the board of the scholarship scheme, five slots were given to very brilliant students and five were also given to indigent students from each of the six councils in the district. At the inauguration of the scheme last year, 60 undergraduates also benefited.
Speaking at the occasion, held in Umuahia, last week-end,benefactor, Senator Theodore Orji said the gesture was borne out of his conviction that education remains the best empowerment for the youths in his constituency considering its pivotal role in the development of any society.
According to him, the scholarship scheme was not to grandstand but to assist the state government in advancing the educational cause of Abia youths.
He commended the impressive performance of the state in the education sector “which has consistently maintained the second position in WAEC exams for years now”.
Orji explained that 10 beneficiaries were selected from each of the six Council areas that make up the senatorial district, saying that a total of 240 students are expected to benefit from the annual scheme during the four years tenure at the senate.
He however, challenged the beneficiaries to reciprocate and justify the gesture by excelling in their academics.
In his remarks, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu who witnessed the ceremony, commended Senator Orji for the gesture saying it shows his love and passion for the empowerment of Abia youths.
The Governor urged the beneficiaries to strictly apply the funds to their academics to lessen the financial burden on their parents.
“This is not a license to be frivolous or to be careless”, Ikpeazu admonished, and urged them to also resist the temptation of making unnecessary financial demands on their parents.
Governor Ikpeazu who rated Senator Orji’s score card so far at the Senate as “very intimidating”, announced that Abia Scholarship Board would be resuscitated this year.
The Governor also announced automatic employment slots for two physically-challenged persons from each of the Councils involved in the scheme in response to a request from blind beneficiaries of the scheme.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, a second year Social Science Education student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka with sight impairment, Frank Mpama thanked Senator Orji for the gesture and promised not to disappoint the state.