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i-Scholar Initiative calls for building of talent pipeline for future innovation

By Eniola Daniel
11 April 2023   |   3:15 am
President, i-Scholar Initiative (iSI), Victor Ogunmola, has charged Nigerian leaders to channel their energy and resources into investing in the youth and building talent pipeline for future innovation.

Beneficiaries and partner of i-Scholar Initiative (iSI) during iSI family meet-up in Ogba

President, i-Scholar Initiative (iSI), Victor Ogunmola, has charged Nigerian leaders to channel their energy and resources into investing in the youth and building talent pipeline for future innovation.

He said the ability to build a pipeline of talent for future innovation, growth and development of the nation should be a priority for any serious minded nation.

Ogunmola, who spoke in Ogba, Lagos, during iSI family meet-up, where he presented the 2022-iSI scholarship grants to beneficiaries, said that a nation that wants to go far must take a cursory look and invest in the youths.

“We have wealth of talents. Our ability to build a pipeline of talent for future innovation and for the growth and development of the nation should be the number one priority of serious minded people.

“Investment in youths must be taken more seriously because these youths are not only smart, they possess the 21st century solution to our problems. Nigeria is so blessed and our youths have depth of knowledge,” he declared.

“We are not just training them for academic excellence but the value system we model in them is the value of service, giving back to this country because the basis of all we do is about the country and the future.

“iSI is an organisation that seeks to empower and mentor young Nigerians to advance their academic career in world class universities. iSI was conceptualised to develop the next generation of leaders. So, in iSI, we go through rigorous and robust selection process, identifying talents and connecting them with opportunity in world-class universities. We mentor them and provide funding for their standardised tests and we also help them pay for the application fees. We provide end-to-end mentorship, as well as guiding the scholars throughout the admission process.

On the reason for the gesture, he said: “The is an organisation that brings together people who have common passion and vision, in terms of what we can do for our country and the next generation of leaders. I wouldn’t have had a carrier without a scholarship; without somebody giving me that lift, I wouldn’t have been in this stage. I was Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) scholar. It was difficult for me to buy the form and I was only able to raise the N2, 700 for it just three days to the close of the application despite being opened for six weeks.

So far, we’ve been able to sponsor 185 Nigerians, out of the number, 150 are in different parts of the world today studying.
We are adding 70 to it this year. Last year, we sponsored 65 and 45 of them got the scholarship.

“An average master student gets nothing less than $100,000, for Ph.d, it ranging from $250,000 to $450,000.

In 2019, our scholars got about and in 2020, they got about $6.2 million m, in 2021, we got about $6.7 million, cumulatively, they have got up to $15 million in scholarship

Speaking also, one of the partners, Patricia Ochogbu, who is a Fellow, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), said: “I grew up as a less-privileged child, my parents do not have the resources so, I think the fact that I went through a rough road does not mean that anybody coming behind me has to pass through the same. We have to give back to the society.

“Apart from iSI, I am also involved in other empowerment programme, raising money for people to pay for school fees.

Advising well-to-do Nigerians, Ochogbu who is the second female President of NAPE said: “It’s not as if I have the money but instead of buying three new dresses, I buy one and use the money for two to help those in need and they are doing well so, I believe that if a person hold the other person and help, everyone will be fine, we must put hands together.

One of the beneficiaries, Cecilia Ezeanyan, said: “Through iSI, I have gotten four offers; two in the US and two in the UK and one is fully funded. I will come back to help Nigeria to improve, empower future leaders