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Day Abiodun honoured smart students, heroic teachers

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Ogun State Government launched an endowment fund for Miss Faith Odunsi who topped the Global Open Mathematics Competition. The fund, is seeded with 5million Naira and subsequent, voluntary donations from the private sector. Photo/TWITTER/DABIODUNMFR

The recently held Ogun Academic Laureates 2021 organised to celebrate the state’s finest brains and brilliant mind was a major milestone in the annals of ‘firsts’ by the state.

It was a memorable afternoon on Thursday, April 22, when Ogun indigenes – students and teachers – who had aced various academic competitions and won trophies for the Gateway State, were honoured by the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.

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Leading the pack of the honourees was Oladimeji Sotunde, the 2020 Overall Best Graduating Student of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos. But the cynosure of all eyes was the 15-year-old Mathematics genius, Faith Odunsi, a student of the Ambassadors College, Ota, equally honoured for her five-star performance and win in the Global Open Mathematics Tournament.

Others were students who had made Ogun proud in Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientists (JETS) and some science competitions.

Also, teachers who have excelled in their chosen fields were recognised and rewarded by the state government. 

The teachers included Olalekan Ademola Adeeko of the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, who emerged winner at the 2020 African Union Continental Teachers Award, and his wife, Folukemi Asabi Adeeko who teaches at Patterson Memorial Baptist Grammar School, Idi-Aba, a runner up at the Maltina Teacher Of The Year 2020.

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While the husband got a two-bedroom bungalow, the wife went home with N250, 000 cash. The Governor also gave a two-bedroom bungalow to Mrs Oluyemisi Oladejo, another teacher at Oronna High School (Snr), Ilaro, who won the first position in the 2020 African Writer’s Award.

“The year 2020 Global Teacher Prize has gone to Mr. Olasunkanmi Opeifa, we will be giving you a two-bedroom bungalow, the 2020 African Writers Award has gone to Mrs. Oluyemi Oladejo who came first in the 2020 African Writers Award, you will also be getting a two-bedroom bungalow, Mr. Olalekan Ademola Adeeko, won the first position in the African Union Continental Teacher Prize award, you will also be getting a two-bedroom bungalow.

“To the Ogun State Institute of Technology, Igbesa, which has emerged as the most compliant institution when it came to the process of complying with JAMB requirements, we will continue to support the institution; we are motivating you with a sum of one million naira.

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“To Faith, we have decided we are going to invest in you because we can see that the sky can only be the beginning for you. We are giving you a laptop, a brand new and powerful one at that. But, more importantly, we are going to set up an endowment fund for you and we will put money into that endowment. We are going to put seed money of N5m into that fund.

“We will also call on our private sector partners to put money in that endowment fund. The fund will be managed by a financial institution, the interest alone will be enough to pay your school fees and when you come of age, you can decide to cash it in, I congratulate you,” the governor stated. 

According to him, the awardees have further put Ogun on the global pedestal, hence, the need to fete them. He attributed the feats to his administration’s methodical and calculated interventions aimed at rescuing the education sector from the dwindling fortunes inflicted on it by the indifference of the past. 

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He pointed out that his administration focused on infrastructural development, human capital development, and provision of a conducive environment, among many others, to redeem the education sector and restore its lost glory.

“We are celebrating awards in Projects, Quiz in Mathematics, Basic Science, Basic Technology, Agricultural Science, Physics and Biology. We are Best State and we have the overall best students for both male and female students in JETS. We are the Champion! The story of the deluge of awards we are witnessing today cannot be completed without the teachers and school administrators who are also champions in their own rights. It is not a flash in the pan to have an Award of Excellence in leadership and productivity won by five schools in the State. 

“Looking at these young men and women of Ogun State, I find in them not just a reward for our commitment, but indeed, an encouragement to do more. We have continued to dedicate and demonstrate our commitment to the successful implementation of the ‘Building our Future Together’ Agenda.”

He assured that the state, under his watch, would continue to put measures in place towards providing quality education necessary for the development of the state. He charged teachers to continue to discharge their professional duties creditably beyond the new demands of COVID-19. 

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In his remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, said the event was the showcasing of commitment, dedication and extraordinary engagement by the awardees. 

While noting that the state-owned Institute of Technology, Igbesa, won the Most Compliant Institution in keeping to guidelines of admissions, which attracted N75m award as one of the five best performing tertiary institutions in the country, Arigbabu enthused that the state has achieved a lot since he assumed office.

“These included the purchase of 25,000 furniture for the use of learners in schools, increase in running cost for public primary and secondary schools; approval of N200m as State Education Trust Fund for the development of infrastructure in state-owned tertiary institutions and the approval of Ogun TEACH programme.

Also speaking, former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, said Ogun had been at the forefront of education attainment in the country. He recalled that as a Quiz Master of JETS Competitions, he had witnessed how the state’s contingents swept awards after awards.

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Okebukola, who is the Council Chair of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), noted that the performance of the laureates was not a fluke, but a continuation of academic excellence the state is known for.

On his part, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, commended the state government’s efforts in the education sector and called for the support of individuals, the private sector, and the various alumni associations in further taking the state to an enviable height.

Also, the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, while urging the young scholars not to rest on their oars, commended the Institute of Technology, Igbesa, for not cutting corners and for keeping to the guidelines of admissions. 

Prof. Adewale Solarin, the Director of, National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, said Ogun State representatives at the national maths competitions always distinguished themselves by coming out tops. He advised the state government not to relent in its huge investment in education.

Also, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who spoke via Zoom just like Professors Bamiro, Solarin, and Oloyede, expressed delight that the state still held its top position in the area of education, science, and technology. 

He charged the awardees not to be carried away by the laurels, but aspire to do more in order to gain not only continental recognition but international accolades.

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