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a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN), Wole Olanipekun was recently commended by undergraduates and secondary school students from his home town, Ikere, Ekiti State and other parts of Nigeria for his philanthropic gesture.
The beneficiaries of his scholarship awards, many of who were children and wards of civil servants who have not received salaries for several months, confessed that Olanipekun has saved their educational pursuit.
Aluko Kehinde, 22, is a 400 level undergraduate of Civil Engineering at the Ekiti State University, (EKSU). He said his civil servant uncle could not afford to pay for his final session at the university because he was yet to receive his salary arrears.
He expressed profound appreciation to Olanipekun for supporting him.
“I really appreciate Chief Olanipekun for this generous gesture which would enable me complete my education. My uncle has been struggling to assist me but he could not assist me up to the final year for lack of money. It was Chief Olanipekun who took up the bill. God will bless him greatly.”
Another beneficiary, Ayede Rofiyat Bisola, 21, and undergraduate of the department of Agric Education at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State revealed that Olanipekun is helping her to fulfil her ambition of becoming a lecturer in the future.
Sixteen-year old Abdullahi Tolulope whose father and mother are teachers and being owed about four months salary, said he owed the completion of his secondary school education to the scholarship award.
“Chief Olanipekun has helped many of us from humble homes, supported our education so well so we can become great in future. We appreciate him so much for this and pray for him. We will also do like he is doing by helping others when we become successful,” he said.
The beneficiaries were among over 100 students in secondary, tertiary and law schools who received cheques to finance their education during this year’s edition of the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship scheme held at the Iyaniwura House of the senior lawyer in Ikere-Ekiti, Ikere Local Gobernmenr Area of the state.
The occasion was chaired by Chief Sola Adewumi, hotelier and oil and gas magnate.
Olanipekun who proposed that governments at all level should provide mass and free education to all, said education remains the best weapon against social ills, including corruption. He cited the examples of Sweden and Singapore which recorded great social development with mass education, saying Nigeria’s approach in winning the war will remain cosmetic until education is declared free for the teeming youths.
The senior lawyer who said over 250 students of tertiary institutions have benefited from the gesture since inception in 1996 pledged continued support for indigent students to attain their dreams of becoming great in life.
In his lecture entitled: ‘Philanthropy and education debacle in Nigeria’, former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof. Kunle Adegun, suggested that the Wole Olanipekun Scholarship scheme be transformed into a foundation for it to outlive its founder and make better contributions to scholarship.
Olanipekun, represented by the principal of the scholarship board, Chief Ayodele Omotayo, said: “It is indeed true that education brings light, freedom, loosens chains and it breeds good citizens.
“In my humble view, the first thing any government should do to nip corruption in the bud or reduce it to a minimal level is to give citizens free education at all levels and also strive to provide employment opportunities for the youths.
“These are the things the least corrupt countries like Sweden and Singapore are doing for their citizens.
“These countries are providing certainty for people in their old age and they are ensuring that they will not die unattended to, particularly in their areas of their welfare.
“In my mind, rather than sloganeering and offering rhetoric on fight against corruption, what we should do is to provide means by which our youths can enjoy free education from primary to the university level, and also provide gainful employments after schools”, he advised.
He regretted that the country’s value had been debased to the level that PhD holders now apply for a job of monthly pay of N50,000.
He described the scenario as a great impediment to the anti-graft war.
Adegun, in his lecture, advised Nigerians to imbibe the culture of contributions to education as obtained in the United States of America, Britain and other advanced countries of the world.
“In Nigeria, there are notable philanthropists like Tony Elumelu, Aliko Dangote, Folorunso Alakija, Chief Kessignton Adebutu and others. Government alone can’t fund education and when wealthy people are lending their helping hands, then the society will be better for it.
“Their contributions will help poor students to realize their full potentials and that is why funding of education by private individuals is very essential.
“For us to build our education, the parents, students, government and teachers must come together to play their parts effectively. You can’t blame government alone for the decadence in the system. And it is only when the stakeholders play their parts that the money being spent by Chief Olanipekun will not go down the drain”, he pointed out.