A N20M education endowment fund has opened in Kogi State courtesy of the Deacon Job & Mrs. Omada Onoja Foundation.
The unveiling of the endowment which happened during the inauguration of the steering committee and trustees of the foundation in Abuja is coming at a time when education with plenty emphasis on the girl child is receiving less attention from governments at the state level in Northern Nigeria.
The foundation which has as its trustees Chief Ogwu James Onoja, SAN, Mrs. Rosemary Onoja, Miss Edebo Omada Titi Onoja and Miss Umolaojo Omonu Onoja disclosed that part of the objectives for setting up the N20M education endowment fund is to provide financial support for students who are indigent and gifted as means of supporting them in their education and professional pursuits. Another core objective of the fund is to encourage and enable children in local communities express and develop their potentials for leadership, artistic, athletic, educational and other fields of endeavour.
Founder of the foundation, Chief Ogwu James Onoja SAN, acknowledged that the foundation was set up in line with the ideals of service to humanity especially in areas which directly affect the development of society.
According to Chief Onoja, “the Foundation as a family project is conceptualized devoid of political inspiration. It is established to address some of the needs of our people and communities.The government and politicians have failed to rise above their limitations. We can no longer completely entrustthe destinies ofour people in their hands. It is time to rise up and do what we can as a people and community to help ourselves. We cannot continue to wait for government and politicians who by their characterization need redemption.”
Below is the full text of the address delivered on the occasion of the flag off:
It is indeed a great honour and privilege to welcome you all here today in this city of Abuja FCT on the occasionof the Inauguration of the Implementation Committee forthe Deacon Job and Mrs. Omada Onoja Foundation (hereinafterreferred to as “The Foundation”).
WHY THE FOUNDATION
The Foundation was established by my humble family inhonour and memory of mydear late parents; Deacon JobIdokoOnojaand Mrs. Omada MaryOnojawhose labour of love, prayers and sacrificesformed the foundation that brought myvery modestfamily to this present state.The foundationwhichwas incorporated on the10th day of July, 2018 hasthe following Trustees:
Chief Ogwu James Onoja, SAN
Mrs. Rosemary Onoja
Miss Edebo Omada Titi Onoja; and
Miss Umolaojo Omonu Onoja
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE FOUNDATION
The aims and objectives of the Foundation are:
To setup anendowmentfund to provide financialsupport for students whoare indigent and gifted to support them in their education andprofessional pursuits
To encourage and enable children in the community toexpress and develop theirpotentials for leadership, artistic, athletic, educational and otherfields ofendeavour.
To help students continue theirstudies by providing scholarships, grants and educational materials to them for better success in education.
To provide grants,facilities and material help for education, training andcare to students who arephysically challenged.
To take initiativesfor improving schools within the community. Holistically, by improving the physical facilities of the school.
To establish libraries and computer lab in different schools, colleges and publicplaces.
To conduct training programs for capacity building, thus supporting and sustaining other interventions.
To encourage theeducationalachievements of students by providing scholarships and financial assistance for them at various levels of study.
To render assistance to young people through advancement ofeducation andemployment, skillsdevelopment with particular emphasis on children from deprived backgrounds.
To assist in the development of gifted children and capable young people by providing equal opportunities based exclusively on their professionalskillsandsponsoring theireducation,professional training and creativedevelopment.
To interact and cooperate with other similar interested organizations and the community at large for mutual benefit, supportand encouragement.
To carry out such other functions as may benecessary or incidental to the aimsandobjectives of this Foundation.
This Foundation bythe Grace of the Almighty God shall be a vehicleto bring succor and developmentto ourlandand the nation at large. It shallbe deployed to actualizethe ambition of my family to serve Godand humanity videa non political platform. The Foundation as a familyproject is conceptualized devoid of political inspiration. It is established toaddress some of the needs of our people and communities.
The government and politicianshavefailed to rise above theirlimitations. We cannolonger completely entrust the destinies ofourpeople intheirhands. It is time torise up and do what we can as a people and community to help ourselves. We cannot continue to wait for government and politicians who by their characterization needredemption.
CHARITY, THEY SAY BEGINS AT HOME
It is therefore theprimary objectiveandfocus of thisFoundation to withinits limited resources, concentrate inmeeting theneedsof myimmediatecommunities in Igala land starting with Ofante, in Ogugu, OlamaboroLocalGovernment Area of Kogi State. As a man born and bred in the village, I pride myself as a village man.I am therefore humbled to admit that I amaproduct ofthe many community efforts championed by our hard workingand prayerful parents many of whom are late and some of whom are still alive and are members of this committee today.
I am a proud graduate of Ofante Community High School, in my home town, Ofante, an institution established by the financial contributions,labour, goodwill and prayers ofthe Ofante people.
I intend to use the platform of this Foundation toaddress theissues confrontingour youth, the problem of infrastructural development and the difficulties associated with educationin ourcommunities which areabandoned by successive governments at all levels. After addressing the scholarshipissue, this committee should also meet at appropriate timeand venueto consider the possibility of getting a central boreholein Ofante.
I mustadmitthat I cannot fulfil the noble objectives of this Organization alone. Money andmaterials alone cannot bring toreality the ambitionof theFounders of this Organization.I am therefore glad to assemble thisgreat congregation of men andwomen from Ofante to assist us inthe actualization of this dream. In deference to the sensitivities of our dear community andthe needto have a democratic representation, wehaveselected three (3) persons of impeccable integrityfromeachof the five(5) clans inOfante.Wealso havethe representative of the Church where mylate parents while aliveworshipped; where myfatherserved as aDeacon andwhere this foundation, by divineinspiration was announced.We have our revered traditional ruler, the Kpaleko of Ofante and the community leader as members.
WE ARE ALL BROTHERS
We are a community bound by love and related by consanguinity. I do not only know everybody here, I haverelated personallywith more than90%of themembers of this committee and I canpersonally vouch fortheirgood character and integrity.
Yourtask as members of thecommittee is to advise the Board on whatproject(s) to embark upon when the money andgoodwill are made available bymy family orwell wishers. We have projects in our minds to execute for the community.
I have discussed with my Wife, Rosemary and she has lovingly agreed that apart from our commitment and obligation to God Almighty, we should prayerfullydedicate 10% of our earnings to service of mankind and morethan70%of this funds should be channeledto thedevelopment of our communities.
THE PRIORITY IN EDUCATION
An educatedmindis a liberated mind. I stand in confidence before you todaybecause ofeducation acquired through formal and informal learning.The little we have achievedas people and community in Ofante istraceable not only to our dedicationto hard work and integrity, but knowledge acquired through education.
The Foundation has educationof theyouthas priority. In this wise,the Board of Directorshaveset up a N20,000,000.00(Twenty Million Naira) Education Trust Funds for the education and training of the underprivileged youths in our community. The job of the Implementation Committee is to dispassionately setout the parameters and modalities for the selection and award of this scholarship throughthe identificationof 25 (twenty-five)undergraduate students(fivefromeachof the fivefamilies) who aretrulyindigent in the meaning of the word,not those who wantto liveabovetheirmeans. Those selected will receive financiaassistance throughout their studies to graduation.
Thereis no much time. The Committee is expected to set the agendafor the take off of this project.The over one hundred forms whichwere given out have been returned to theBoard and they arelaid herebefore thecommitteewho hasthe arduous task of sievingthrough them topick those studentswho aretrulydeservingof assistance intheir academicpursuits. I implorethe committee to act with honour and merit in theconsideration of all the applications.
I mostsincerely thank mybrother, Dr.Daniel Itodo, a seasonededucationist,who has graciously agreed to chair this Committee and all my fathers,mothers, brothers and sisters who took thepain to travel to Abuja FCT at this critical time ofthe year. This is Christmas. It isa season of giving.As we receive thegift ofthe birth of Jesus Christ, may we have the will, thecapacity andeternal grace to give back to God and our communitiesin thespirit of true loveandaffection.
God shallbless you all beyond your expectation and wishing you afruitful deliberationand journey mercies back to your destinations.