HUNDREDS of students lit up the King Kpadia Royal Square Toru-Orua, Bayelsa State on Saturday, 13 January 2023, when the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation announced more than 1,000 awardees of its 2023/2024 Education Support Scheme, a continuation of Senator Henry Seriake Dickson’s investment in education and human capacity development, generally, over the years.
The 2023 beneficiaries of the Scheme comprised 300 undergraduates from Bayelsa West Senatorial District; 300 undergraduates of Bayelsa State origin from all the universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in the State, who are on first class or second class upper standing, the high fliers and others the Committee deemed eligible. They got N40,000 each.
Other beneficiaries were students in Master’s degree programmes. They got N50,000 each. PhD candidates, and 80 Nigerian Law School students from Bayelsa State’s three Senatorial Districts received N100,000 each.
A 22-member Committee which Professor Barclays Ayakoroma, Acting Vice Chancellor University of Africa, Toru-Orua, chaired with Professor Tawari Fufeyin, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Hensard University, Toru-Orua, as Co-Chairperson, Professor Christine Odi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Niger Delta University, Vice-Chairperson, and Dr. Akpoebi Adesi, Registrar, University of Africa, Toru-Orua, Secretary, screened thousands of applications that were received.
A breakdown of the distribution of the awards-
a. Bayelsa West Senatorial District
Sagbama LGA: 150
Ekeremor LGA: 150
b. High Flyers (Bayelsans on First Class & 2nd Class Upper Standing)
University of Africa Toru-Orua,129
Niger Delta University, 51
Bayelsa Medical University, 48
Federal University Otuoke, 25
IJB College of Education, 25
Bayelsa State Polytechnic, 25
Federal Polytechnic Ekowe, 25
c. Candidates on Master’s Degree Programmes
Sagbama LGA: 46
Ekeremor LGA: 33
d. Candidates on PhD Programmes
Sagbama LGA: 29
Ekeremor LGA: 16
e. Nigerian Law School Beneficiaries
Bayelsa State origin from the three Senatorial Districts 80.
Other awardees included secondary school students who got special considerations. Jayland Royal Schools, Toru-Orua, a childhood educational centre, in the community, whose standards, Senator Dickson said impressed him, would get support for the development of its facilities.
Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo, who represented Governor Douye Diri, spoke glowingly of the innovative contributions in education that Senator Dickson made as Governor of Bayelsa. He tasked the students to make the best use of the opportunities education offers.
The Royal Father of the Day was HRM King Seiyifa Koroye, Pere of Tarakiri Kingdom while High Chief Fidelis Agbiki, a former diplomat, chaired the event.
Senator Dickson challenged the recipients to embrace education for self-development and as the best form of empowerment for it is capable of transforming families through generations.
The former Governor promised more grants and scholarships in agriculture, technology and film-making, areas he said were at at the fore-front of development. He called on individuals and corporate organisations to support the educational programmes of the Foundation.
Awardees were grateful and prayed for successes of their benefactor.
Senator Dickson also announced the commencement of Hensard University, which is located at a shouting distance from the venue of the event. The university, he said, would lead cutting-edge learning, research and practical impacting of skills through its international linkages and collaborations to produce entrepreneurs and wealth creators.
The Senator Henry Seriake Dickson Education Support Scheme in 2022 gave grants to 600 undergraduates and all Bayelsa State students at the Nigeria Law School. It is sponsored by the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation, HSDF.