By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA- THE ‘IN-Home Club’, an elite association comprising indigenes of Okija who are graduates in Nigeria and in Diaspora, have paid the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, fees for all students of Okija Grammar School and Union Secondary School, Okija as a way of assisting their parents cushion the effects of the current recession in the country.
The cheering news was broken during the club’s meeting at Okija in which a who- is -who in the area attended and listened to professionals speak on various topics.
The lifeline programme began three years ago and following the tremendous success recorded earlier, the club decided to continue, thereby encouraging those who would have dropped out of school to complete their senior secondary education.
President of the club, Mr. Nnaemeka Nnubia, a lawyer, recalled that the initial idea was to pay for only indigent students, adding however that a decision was later taken to extend it to all the final students in the two secondary schools following a request by stakeholders in the town.
In addition to funding education, the club, through the assistance of a former director of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr. Ben Onyido, who hailed from Okija, instituted an entrepreneurship scheme. The disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries would take place this year after the participants would have undergone the necessary training to be conducted by professionals in different fields.
It is expected that some of the beneficiaries of the entrepreneurial scheme would establish their businesses in Okija as a way of fast –tracking its development. Already, experts have identified some of the businesses that could thrive in the town to include building construction, electrical works, hotel management, furniture making, running educational institutions, internet business, farming, among others
Nnubia said: “Initially, the club partnered with Obijackson Foundation founded by Dr. Ernest Azudalu, an Okija indigene, to organize JAMB lessons for all students in Okija to prepare them for admission into the universities and other tertiary institutions. This programme has been on for six years, though sadly it was skipped in 2016 due to a lack of funds and partner support.
“Also, in 2014, the club received funding from Chief Daniel Chukwudolue, another business mogul from Okija, to pay the WAEC fees for senior secondary education for indigent students.
”When the programme was unveiled to the students of Okija Grammar School and Union Secondary School, Okija, all the final year students opted to be on board.
“It therefore became difficult for the club to determine who is an indigent student and as a result, the club paid the WAEC fees for all the students in Union Secondary School and 100 in Okija Grammar School for the May 2016 examination. Details of the results obtained by the students showed that they did very well, thereby justifying the efforts of the club to promote education in the town.”
Mr. Ano Anyanwu, a former executive director of Mainstreet Bank, who delivered the keynote paper at the gathering identified sources of funding small and mediums enterprises, reminding the people that while finance was a necessary factor in the success of any enterprise, the key factor remained ideas, tenacity and staying power.
Anyanwu said: “Okija already has a lot of well –established enterprises. Madonna University is in Okija; the renowned Obijackson Children’s Hospital is in Okija. Okija has a lot of tourist attractions, including the Ulasi River, the Ogwugwuakpu Shrine and the Mmanwu masquerade. Small and medium enterprises in Okija are therefore well positioned to attract the necessary financing for their growth and development and the continuous development of the town.”
Many youths who attended the annual event commended the organizers for showing them the way to earn their living, assuring that whatever assitance they would receive, would be highly appreciated.