One year later: A scholars’ testimony

…so the Senator OBA scholarship Test came and went amidst high expectations from scholars who came from far and near to take part in the exercise. As was expected, the results of the Test were made known with the short listing of names of those who excelled, numbering a hundred and forty four. This became a redeeming step to be rewarded by the scholarship fund and candidates whose names were listed could not help but smile out in broad language, the tension which suspended the air after the Test.

Recalling the convincing words of the distinguished Senator on the day of the Test and banking on them, the scholars began counting down on the month, week and day they will be called to send in their details for the payment. While some took to fasting and prayers to ensure that their names are not evicted from the list, others stayed glued to the Senator’s official web page scanning for, and devouring every information that came their way whether or not it was relevant to them; and those who could neither ‘watch’ nor ‘pray’ waited patiently for any flying news pertaining to payment details.

Meanwhile, the pressure of ‘when did you say this money is coming?’ was becoming tense in many homes;  parents and guardians who could not wait to be rid of some financial burdens were already nagging and complaining of the delay in payment. “It will be paid on resumption” was the answer given and even when the scholars themselves could not ascertain the exact time the payment would be made, they had to be optimistic before their parents lest, they become a subject of scorn and mockery.

At a point, their worries changed into fears and soon, they began to withdraw. A number of scholars felt the whole show was a ploy to thicken the Senator’s already elevated profile by getting the hopes of people high with expectations and leaving them to wobble. “After all, the Senator had treated us to a fair lunch and had given us stipend for our Transport fare on the day of the Test. He has tried at least”. Some concluded.

In the midst of these ponderings, a message requesting the scholars to visit the Senator’s website for further updates regarding the payment was received. It was contained in the message that scholars should submit details of their biodata and other vital information pertaining to the payment either online or at the Senator’s Liaison office. This saw the already impatient scholars swinging into action. The Senator’s Liaison office was heavily patronized and the officials on duty did well to attend to queries and enquiries from the frantic scholars.

At some point, the distinguished Senator OBA’s Liaison office became a rallying point for youths of Uyo Senatorial district; different faces were seen daily and the youths mingled, expressed their fears and confided in each other until it became very visible that beyond the scholarship, Senator OBA had opened the floor for interpersonal communication among youths of his senatorial district; using a more creditable and sustainable platform.

True to his words, payment began in earnest on the commencement of the 2016/2017 academic session. The Senator OBA scholars were stunned when on getting to the Liaison office; they were given N10, 000 as stipend which excludes the N40, 000 scholarship fee. This meant that the scholars could apart from paying their fees; solve one or two financial challenges without having to tamper with their school fees. How more thoughtful can one be in the face of the biting hyper inflation in our economy?

Although from some angles, the money given was meager but those of us who understands what it means to be penniless at times like this received the ‘stipend’ with a grateful heart and have not stopped praying for the Senator, and no matter how loud the voices of the ingrates gets, it cannot overshadow that of those of us who are convinced that ‘this did not just happen, God was involved!’.

So far, Senator Bassey Albert has supported twice One Hundred and Thirty Three (133) students of Uyo Senatorial district with school fees and a stipend of N20,000. Only a pathological ingrate would not appreciate this deed done by a single individual for a community of youths.

It therefore behooves on public office holders to share with their community and the needy, the dividends of their offices no matter how little they can. This could go a long way in bettering their paths for future endeavours.

On behalf of the scholars, I sincerely appreciate Senator Bassey Albert for his magnanimity and charitable comeliness for “ndito uyo”. It is said that one who knows how to show and accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession. No gift to humanity can surpass the support for a child’s future. This perhaps, is the reason for one of the African proverbs which says that “He who opens a school door closes a prison door.” Investment in education pays far better than any empowerment one can imagine and leaves lasting legacies of the investor on the sands of time. It is for this reason that the scholars are expressing gratitude to Senator OBA.

For those still in doubt about the efficacy of the Senator OBA Scholarship Scheme; we came, we saw and we are testifying that we’ve been paid as promised by the Senator. We wish the Senator more of God’s blessings, protection and direction in all his endeavours.

Long Live Senator Bassey Albert!

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