Ooni of Ife, Arole Oduduwa, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 unveiled an education Trust Fund targeted at paying tuition fees of five million students across Nigerian universities.
During the unveiling of the Trust Fund tagged ‘Ooni of Ife Tertiary Tuition Fund’ at his Ile Oodua Palace in Ile-Ife, Ooni Ogunwusi who expressed displeasure over poor conditions of some of the students in tertiary institution, said the current economic reality of the country motivated him into making the decision to assist the students return to school.
The Ojaja 11 stated further that an average of N50, 000 tuition fee is being targeted from the trust fund for about five million (5,000,000,00) students for a period of four (4) years and that the payment would gulp N500billion yearly while making it known that youth freedom and empowerment is his focus.
“I am putting together an Education Trust Fund to support what the government is doing in terms of education. We have to cut our social activities and focus more on youth empowerment because 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 and if we do not look at how best to assist our youths, we will all have a feel of their anger just like it happened during the #EndSARS protests and to avoid a repetition, we must begin to engage them productively.
“The Covid-19 has also made many youths and their parents 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 students in Federal Tertiary Institutions and they need to pay close to N500 billion in tuition fees by 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 trust fund project.
“Before now, I have personally assisted many in paying tuition fees, vocational trainings and other empowerment initiatives but I have come up with this trust fund to bring more beneficiaries on board.” Ojaja said.
Ooni also revealed that individuals and organizations, home and abroad, will be contacted for donations to ensure the success of the trust fund. He appealed to everyone to come together to make the youths achieve their goals to enable do their quota for the betterment of their country. Promising to account for, to the last kobo, on how money is being disbursed, he added that details of beneficiaries of the trust fund would be verifiable for accountability.
While assuring that ASUU would soon call off their strike for the best of Nigerians, he added that Nigerian traditional rulers are fully aware of the talks ongoing between ASUU and the Federal Government to end industrial action.
“You will recall that we, traditional rulers from across the 36 states recently held a meeting in Abuja on the state of the nation and the communique of which I submitted to President Buhari in my capacity as Co-chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, on behalf of others. I wish to assure you that the Federal Government and ASUU are almost done resolving the grey areas.” Ooni Ogunwusi concluded.