Education, tool for transformation, says Kanayo

•Foundation offers scholarships to 102 students

By Chika Abanobi

Ace Nigerian actor and trained lawyer, Chief Kanayo O. Kanayo, has described education as the key to changes and success in life, insisting that it is the basic tool anyone needs, no matter how poor, to break through into wealth and fame. He averred this while addressing students his non-governmental organization, KOK Foundation, offered a tuition-free scholarship to study at Weldios University, Benin Republic, recently.

 The veteran actor in Nigeria’s “Nollywood” film industry, urged the first batch of 102 students, selected after a rigorous online test and certificate screening and who were being taken through some orientation, to do everything within their power to excel in their academic studies, taking into cognizance their parents’ sufferings, deprivations and self-denial to see that they are educated and useful to themselves in life.

 In a reference to his organization’s ideals, he said: “As a foundation, we believe in the power of education as a tool for reformation and transformation. We are also aware that 43 per cent of the Nigerian population is below the age of 35, giving us the largest youth population in the world. We are convinced that our economic prowess and political stability as a nation will ride on the wings of an adequately equipped youth populace, educated and enterprising. 

“As an expression of our core beliefs in the value of education, annually, the foundation has as one of its core aims to award indigent Nigerian students with educational scholarships. We hope to promote academic excellence and quality manpower development, as we invest in the future generation.”

 To this end, he urged them to strive hard academically to justify the huge amounts that will be expended on their training annually. As pioneers of the admission openings, which he said came through the grace of education partnership between the Weldios University and KOK Foundation, he taxed them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria and of his name, which he said, was already a brand worldwide.

He explained thus: “I don’t want Nigerians who are known for lateness or academic laziness and for ‘sagging’ their trousers. 

You must behave well as a student. You are not going there to show off. We are asking you to go there and represent us. You are among the first set. From 100, they have given us 1000 spaces.”

But owing to financial constraints, he added that not many he would have liked to be on the list could make it. He earnestly appealed therefore to individuals and corporate donors and lovers of education within and outside the country to come to the aid of brilliant but indigent students by donating handsomely to the Foundation. “No amount is too small,” he said. “All we want is to see even more than 1,000 of them offered a tuition-free scholarship or full scholarship admission, depending on the availability of funds, to read courses of their choice

and come out and make something out of their lives as well as help to set up others in form of employment.”                                                                                          

The actor and others who addressed the students urged them to take their studies and skills acquisition seriously as that is the only way to make it in life. Kanayo who has strings of degrees in various disciplines, besides Theatre Arts, threw a challenge to the students: “Think about Bill Gates, Mack Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, and the like of them. They all could have engaged in 419 or Yahoo Yahoo to make it in life if they wanted. But they all said no and instead channeled their talents, skills, and education into things or inventions that have made them billionaires today in dollars rather than engaging themselves in telling unnecessary lies and deceiving and duping people on the

Internet would have done for them.”

He warned that any of the students who do not study hard to maintain a consistently high academic score in their chosen fields might be withdrawn as he would personally monitor their performance to ensure that only the best will continue to enjoy the scholarship.

While Mr. Declan Okpaleke, formerly of The Guardian. three times-winner of the CNN African Journalist of the Year and now a part-time lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos declared Education as the best legacy any parent can bequeath to his or her child, and therefore urged them to concentrate their minds on it, John Ogu, a brand impresario, advised them to do all they could to acquire some skills in addition to their certificates.

 Dr. Magnus Ken, Registrar of the university, and Tony Ohaeri of Destiny Builders and linkman between the university and KOK Foundation assured that the university, which offers quality control and academic disciplines that could project the solutions to many fields of life, is one of the Republic of Benin’s universities recognized and approved by the Federal Government. There, students can study at their own pace and can finish a degree programme within three to four years, depending on their rate of assimilation.

 Ohaeri explained that “what we are getting here in four years, you can get in three years because whereas Nigerian runs two semesters, they run three. This is why over there is a continuous admission process because there’s always a summer to make up for whatever you missed. Those people who did not do well or who had carry-overs in the first semester have the opportunity of making up so that they won’t have to have one extra year. Nigerian universities have

the joy of seeing you do one extra year. But their education system is such that even if you are coming in the second semester, by the summer of the next academic session you will cover up so that at the end you will graduate with those who did the first semester. When Nigerians are on holiday, you will be in school catching up on the things you missed.”

 Samuel Idowu, on behalf of other students, thanked the foundation for the scholarship while Miss Valerie Onyekwere, Kanayo Kanayo’s daughter and the only female member on the Board of Trustees of KOK Foundation, on behalf of the Board, assured that the foundation will continue to help educationally disadvantaged Nigerians, no matter what part of Nigeria they may come from.

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