By Abdullahi O Haruna Haruspice
A silent revolution is going in Kogi State, Chief Edward Onoja, the deputy governor of the state is going round, harvesting young people and preparing them for greatness. He started first by integrating young people into political governance, after four years, he has shifted the paradigm, this time to the educational sector.
Recently, Onoja mobilised a whopping N15million for the 26 recipients of the 2019 Igala Education Foundation Award of Academic Excellence who made first class from different tertiary institutions in Nigeria. These brainboxes who hail from Kogi East area of the state are being sponsored into full academic voyage by this human resource teacher. What a subliminal revolutionary human capital stride you would ask?
The event, which took place at Idrinana Hotels, Lokoja was not just an opportunity to hand the mouth-watering cheques over to the awardees, it was an opportunity to inspire, challenge and encourage the young ones to hold unto the garb of hard work, excellence and resilience.
As a leader, Onoja extolled the founder of the foundation, the late Prof. Francis Idachaba, who, he described as a lover of education, for initiating the scholarship programme in year 2000, saying it was a right choice that had been yielding tangible results since then.
The deputy governor told the crowd at the event that he was not just giving out cash, but was sowing a seed which with time, will sprout and bring forth fruits that will not only be beneficial to Igalaland but Kogi, Nigeria and the world.
He, therefore, likened the laudable efforts of the founder to seed sowing. “In life, you need to sow seed to reap harvest that generations will benefit from. I urge us all to continue to sow good seeds because nature has a way of paying us back; there is power in seed sowing,” Onoja said.
Onoja is not just a motivator, he has become a mentor to the young folks who were hitherto placed on the backseat of civilisation. He therefore urged the recipients of the awards to always put in their best in their future endeavours “so that others coming behind can also be encouraged to try their best.”
“I want to believe that some of you will be global players in your different fields. I encourage you to pursue your dreams,” he advised.
He promised to continue to support the Igala Education Foundation and other laudable programmes that are geared towards improving the quality of education in Igalaland and Kogi State, as according to him, only through education could people be liberated from the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment.
In a similar development, the youth poacher demonstrated his capacity building stride when he came in rescue of a stagnated First Class Petroleum Engineering graduate of the Igbinedion University, Okada by awarding him scholarship to Masters’ Level. Mr Babatunde Samuel Aina, who hails from Kogi State almost dropped out of the university following the unfortunate demise of his father in 2015 when he was in the second year of his academic.
Nothing liberates a society like developing human capital resources, and Chief Onoja is on that scouting mission, the outcome, of course, will be a liberated and prosperous society. The greatest investment and legacy you can make is in people and Kogi’s deputy governor dubbed a “human capital developer” isn’t only providing governance but building the youths and by extension building the nation.
It is hoped that others, gifted with the privilege of opportunities, will emulate Onoja and begin to invest in young people. When citizens take up mentoring responsibility like this, the society is better off as communal orientation becomes the ethos of reference.