Economic Hardship: Benue ex Commissioner, Olofu launches N50m education fund for Idoma students

Economic Hardship: Benue ex Commissioner, Olofu launches N50m education fund for Idoma students

Economic Hardship: Benue ex Commissioner, Olofu launches N50m education fund for Idoma students

Dr. David Olofu,former Commissioner for Finance in Benue State, has launched a N50m Education Support Fund, to carter for the hardship being faced by Idoma students in tertiary institutions across the 9 Local Government Areas of Benue South.

Olofu, who was the Chairman of the Forum of Commissioners for Finance in Nigeria, and current Senior Technical Advisor to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, said the initiative was to support the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration’s resolve to provide succours to the students.

Olofu was initially nominated by the Idoma Area Traditional Council for a chieftaincy title in Otukpo, but barely 48 hours to the event, he was allegedly delisted, on the order of the Governor Hycient Alia. No official statement from the Governor’s media team yet.

But Olofu, at a press conference in Otukpo, Benue State on Friday, said he had put that behind him, saying, he would rather use the funds raised for the reception of the event, to put smiles on the faces of Idoma students.

“As you are aware, in the last couple of days, I was scheduled to be conferred with the chieftaincy title by the revered Idoma Area Traditional Council.

“And when I got the notification from his Royal Majesty, the Och’Idoma, I informed all my friends and associates, my political party and also constituted the central planning committee to make sure that we have a successful confirmation ceremony.

“Less than 48 hours to the event, I got notification that, that will no longer be the case. In the meantime, my friends, colleagues and associates had supported me to make sure that this event was held hedge free.

“I have to some extent, utilized the support that was provided, but I did not exhaust what was provided and I felt that, given that, that provision had been made by them, I reached out to them and we came to a conclusion that I should apply the balance of what has been contributed to support my people in any way possible, and in consultation with my constituency and my leaders across party lines.

“Let me also mention that, this contribution that I have mentioned came in from all over the federation, across party lines. Both people who are in PDP, APC, APGA and Labour, contributed to this event to identify with the honor that was going to be bestowed on me by His Royal Majesty, the Och’idoma.

“You may recall, I served as the chairman of the Forum of Commissioners of Finance of Nigeria, and currently serving as Senior Technical Advisor to Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

“So, the support came across board and from all over the federation. And after consultation with my leaders, we decided that we apply what is left from the support that I have received to support Idoma students in higher institutions, by way of what I refer to as Education Support Fund.

“So today, by the grace of God, we are using what has been contributed by my colleagues, friends and associates, to set up an Education Support Fund, under the umbrella of Apa Legacy Sustainability Initiative.

“And we have a window of about 50 million, with an initial inflow of about 20 million and a projection of 10 million per year, to reach out to all the students that will qualify for this intervention”, Olofu said.

He recounted how he resorted to serving as a waiter in restaurants during his days at the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, just to meet up with his education funding; adding that, he fought the temptations to quit schooling and saw himself to the graduation.

In naming the Board of Trustees of the Education Support Fund, Olofu said, “We consulted widely and we came to a conclusion that our brother, our leader and our son, who is currently serving as a senior lecturer at the Federal University Wukari; our own brother, Professor David Salifu, a former SSG to serve as the chairman of the Board of Trustees that will administer this fund.

“Let me emphasize that, this fund will devoid of political affiliations and to work with him in that team, we have also recognized that we bring on board the National Association of Idoma Students (NAIS).

“We also recognized the need to have a representative of the Idoma Area Traditional Council and also a representative of civil society on that team and to provide secretarial services, we have also nominated Honourable Owoicho Oyi, the former chairman of Apa Local Government, to serve in that capacity”.

The Board chairman, Prof. Salifu in his acceptance message, described the project as laudable and enjoined other Idoma sons and daughters to emulate the initiator of the project, Dr. Olofu.

“I accept my appointment to chair the Board of the Education Support Fund initiated by my younger brother, the immediate past Benue Finance Commissioner, Dr. David Olofu. I am totally committed to the goal of the Foundation and I call us to make ourselves available as the blocks to building this initiative to its logical conclusion”.

The President of NAIS, Comrade Vincent Odebugu expressed his gratitude to Dr. Olofu, for his charity towards the Idoma students, despite the situation of things.

He said, “I stand here today in appreciation and in commendation to Hon. David Olofu, for this charitable act towards the Idoma nation, of a truth, you have experienced what it takes to pass through the four walls of the university, having a track record of facing challenges while on campus. These are the challenges we leaders of the association are facing and we are handicapped by not being able to render solutions.”

In their separate remarks, a Chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Chris Adaba Abba, and Comrade Joe Ochogwu, National President of NAIS in 1995, lauded the gesture of Dr. Olofu, urging other Idoma leaders to emulate him.

The duo acknowledged that, others would have retired home and be murmuring about the delisting, saying, anything done to support Nigerian students at this critical time, is godly and of great virtue.

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