By Dayo Adesulu
Many privileged people who render financial assistance to people have different reasons why they do. While some persons in the quest to pay back good deeds, give helping hands to people, some others would go further to even reward the descendants of his benefactors to prove a point that they are not ungrateful.
On the other hand, many philanthropists engage in good deeds because of what they intend to get from the public. They just want to create an impression that they care about the people, whereas they look forward to getting their support when they contest for an elective position. in future.
Motives of Philanthropists
The aforementioned are some of their motives for doing what they do. However, there are few philanthropists who naturally, without any ulterior motive, give to the less privileged without any hope of getting something in return.
This is the set to which the founder of Caleb University, Dr Oladega Adebogun belongs. The question begging for answer is, why do the over half of the 1.6 million candidates who sit for JAMB yearly without admission refuse to patronize private universities? The answer could be lack of funds.
In tackling this issue, Dr. Adebogun has brought his wealth of experience and resources to bear on the educational development of many young Nigerians through scholarship award. He had realised that many brilliant but indigent youths may not get an education even with the increasing number of private universities because of the high cost.
Adebogun, who is also the President of the Faith Bible Training Centre, FBTC, Lagos – an interdenominational evangelical training centre, attributes his philanthropy to his experience as a child. According to him, because he knew how it felt when his poor family could not afford to send him to secondary school, he cannot but help the less privileged.
He said: “My father said he would not be able to send me to secondary school alone out of his four children; so, he stopped me. My mother decided l should go and learn tailoring. It was after many years that they said I should start secondary school.”
The Caleb University visitor also said that he drew inspiration from a British Christian Evangelist, George Muller (Sept. 27, 1805 – March 10, 1898), who ran an Ashley Down Orphanage in Bristol, England.
He said: “This evangelist cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was accused by some of raising the poor above their status in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000 children.
So, I said to myself that if God can use this man, He can also use me for my own generation. God has been so good to me and I should give back to the society by investing in education to support the less privileged.”
Students share experiences
Speaking in this regard, Mr Emmanuel Joseph, a graduate of Economics who was one of the numerous Nigerians that have benefited from Adebogun’s scholarship programme said he may not have become a graduate but for the scholarship he got from Adebogun. He urged more well-to-do Nigerians to come to the aid of less privileged students to empower them to develop their potentials.
“Adebogun’s life has taught me to make a positive impact on others wherever I find myself. The institution has groomed me to become a better person socially, spiritually and career-wise. I can proudly compete with other graduates from other universities in the world,” he says.
Besides, Miss Rejoice Zipya, a third-year Accounting student of the institution, also hailed the proprietor for his commitment to education development. Zipya said she was convinced that the scholarship has helped to bring out the best in her. She also desires that there will be more scholarships for students of tertiary institutions.
Asked to comment on Adebogun’s gesture, Caleb University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ayandiji Aina, said the proprietor has contributed so much to the development of Nigeria’s education sector and also pulled out many families from poverty.
He said: ‘’Dr Adebogun spends huge sums of money on scholarships every year for indigents of Imota and environs in order to pull them out of ignorance and poverty. He spent close to N19 million on scholarship for 75 students in the 2016/2017 academic session.”
According to him, Adebogun’s scholarship programme, which has been a tradition over the years, is a way he gives back to the society. “Many of the beneficiaries of the scholarship are the less privileged members of the host community and children of clerics. There are criteria for the selection of the beneficiaries to ensure that it is those who deserve it that get it,” Aina said.
He believes that Adebogun, who holds a PhD in Educational Administration and Planning, had a passion for education even before he became a classroom teacher years ago.
Global institutions’ statements
Recently, the Board of the International Youth Fellowship, IYF, during his appointment as a member of the International Youth Fellowship Advisory Committee confirmed his global influence.
The founder of IYF, Pastor Ock Soo Park while presenting a certificate to him said: “In recognition of the demonstrated passion, zeal and ability, this certificate serves to confirm that Dr. Ola Adebogun, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Founder of Caleb University, has been appointed to the position of Member of the International Youth Fellowship Advisory Committee. He is hereby authorised and empowered to execute and fulfil the duties of that office to further the cooperation and partnership with the International Youth Fellowship to jointly address and strive for the enhancement and betterment of youths of your nation, as well as the nations of the rest of the world.”
In the same vein, the Initiative for Positive Influence on African Youth, IPIAY, few weeks ago, conferred a pan-African Leadership Award on Prince Ola Adebogun as Icon of Societal and Human Capital Development.
According to IPIAY, Adebogun earned the Pan-African Prize for Excellence in Leadership for spending over N19 million annually on scholarships for African youths and for providing quality leadership.
Pointing out that Adebogun is a worthy example and an inspiration to African youths, it lauded him for his immense contribution to nation-building, community development and effective service delivery to Nigerians and Africa at large.
The President of the Initiative, Mr. David Christopher described Adebogun as “a rare gem, administrative icon, a man of outstanding understanding and a true son of Africa.”