…To Pay Tuition Fees Of 5m Students In Nigerian Varsities
The Arole Oduduwa and Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has unveiled an Education Trust Fund named; Ooni of Ife Tertiary Tuition Fund, targeted at paying tuition fees of five million students across Nigerian universities.
Unveiling the project at his Ile Oodua Palace, in Ile-Ife, Odún State, the Ooni announced the current economic reality of the country, as the motivation behind his intention to assist the students return to school, expressing displeasure at the poor conditions of some of the students in tertiary institution.
A statement signed by the Director, Media and Public Affairs, Ooni’s Palace, Comrade Moses Olafare quoted the foremost African monarch as saying that an average of N50,000 tuition was targeted for about five million students for a period of four years, explained that the payment of tuition for five million students would gulp N500 billion yearly.
Noting that youth emancipation and empowerment had been his focus, Ooni Ogunwusi said that Nigeria was sitting on a keg of gunpowder if urgent step was not taken to address students’ problem.
Oba Ogunwusi said, “I am putting together Education Trust Fund to support what the government is doing.
“We are not all safe. We have to cut our social activities and focus more on youth empowerment. It is better to stay and fix this country than to be running out of the country.
“We are seated on a keg of gunpowder if we do not look at how best to assist our youths, I have said it before and I will keep saying it. We all have a feel of their anger during the #EndSARS protests, we must begin to engage them productively.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made many youths and their parents to be jobless, while the current recession in the country’s economy is another blow, which has made the youths to be the most vulnerable group in Nigeria.
“We have between seven to ten million of them in federal tertiary institutions and they need to pay close to N500 billion in tuition fees in January, 2021. But how would this demand be met when the bulk of the parents of these students are petty traders, peasant farmers and other average Nigerian parents, who might not be able to get the needed fees to return to school. That is the reason behind the project.
“Earlier before now, I have personally assisted many in paying tuition fees, vocational trainings and other empowerment initiatives, but I have come up with this to bring more beneficiaries on board.”
On how funds will be generated for the project, the Ooni, 2ho is also the Spiritual Head of Oduduwa Race worldwide, revealed that individuals and organizations, home and abroad, will be contacted for donations to ensure the success of the lofty idea.
Ojaja II said, “I am appealing to all our people to let us come together and achieve this for our youths. I am promising that everything will be accounted for to the last kobo, while details of beneficiaries would be verifiable for accountability.”
On the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike, he assured that it would soon be called off and it shall be for the best for Nigerians, adding that Nigerian traditional rulers are fully aware of the talks ongoing between ASUU and the Federal Government to end industrial action.
The monarch added, “You will recall that we traditional rulers from across the 36 states of the federation recently held a meeting in Abuja on the state of the nation; the communique of which I submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in my capacity as Co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, on behalf of others.
“It is part of it and I wish to assure you that the Federal Government and ASUU are almost done resolving the grey areas.”