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Motivating reading culture in Anambra: The Obi way

By Obialunamma Nwadiogbu

Reading culture is zero in Nigeria and Anambra state is not out of it. Students of Tertiary Institutions who should be models for those in Secondary Schools are disaster.

Mobile phones of all colour and size especially those with facilities for the social media is the end thing. If you don't have it, then you are not a happening girl, not minding what one does to have any of the smart phones. The boys are worst for it as pornography is their past time on phone.

These fantasies they practice with any available girl to their fun but the society is degenerating the more by the day. We have lost our values and identity even we parents are not helping matters. We aid and abet our children's behavior.

But Miss Sandra Anazor is one out of the pack. She understands what it takes to be a scholar. She refused to be distracted. Today she is better for it. She was the cynosure of all eyes at the Amawbia Governor's lodge penultimate month. She was tops as the overall best in National Examination Council (NECO) and in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations, she repeated the feat. She is from Umuawulu, Awka South local government Area, Anambra state.

But Sandra's feat was given an Exco presentation at the Lodge where Obi announced scholarship for her and promptly redeemed it by handing over the cheque of N2, 220,000 to her, covering the 6 years she will be in school.

In her academic history, Sandra has won many academic competitions and awards. She had secured admission to read Medicine at the University of Ibadan .

She wasn't those types in Bayelsa state who got extra ordinary results but when subjected to further examinations could not write their names yet they passed with Distinctions. This explains the decay in school system for future medical doctors who kill at will and engineers who build collapsed structures fro the day one and teacher/parents connivance in mark buying for admission purposes.

Sandra was unique and made her parents and teachers proud. The government of Anambra state too especially Governor Peter Obi. He showed it by inviting people to celebrate Sandra Anazor. People of important including commissioners, Special Assistants and top government functionaries were handy to welcome Miss Anazor and participate in the honour and scholarship the state government gave her.

Little Miss Anazor never anticipated the grand reception and honour from no less person but Governor Peter Obi and his cabinet members. Her parents were overjoyed and could not help the situation but beaming smiles all over the glory of God. Their daughter indeed made them proud.

Hard work and dedication to studies pay. And to that a scholarship backing from the state Governor, Mr Peter Obi was what Miss Sandra Anazor got. She is number one among students in the country and she deserves all the encomiums poured on her at the event.

She was happy to wine and dine with their Governor, Mr Peter Obi. But that wasn't the show; the show was that Governor Peter Obi goes a little more to honour students who have performed wonders. It was a brief ceremony but full of memories as Sandra was uplifted by that event to another level in life. Her countenance showed Obi has elevated her to another class in life.

Sandra Anazor expressed surprise at the State Government gesture, saying that Peter Obi has proved beyond doubt that he loves education and the successes of his children

Sandra's proud father, Barr Azubike Anazor accompanied by her mother, Chinwe said that the resurrected performance of Anambra people in examinations is attributable to Gov. Obi who has shown interest in all sectors. Opposition he said never said anything good about Obi's investment in education. Obi provided boreholes, generators, Internet and Lab facilities as well as school buses to schools. Obi equally renovated and equipped school laboratories, supply of computer , improved Library facilities and provided water in schools.

But that gesture allowed Sandra and her colleagues at Queen of the Rosary College , Onitsha and students in other schools in the State to live in boarding schools in relative comfort.

The saying by President John Kennedy after the disastrous “Bay of Pigs invasion” that 'success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”,played out as the principal of the school Sandra did her Jss1-Jss3 (Queen of the Rosary, College, Onitsha) Rev Sr Maria Nwankwo and the Principal of Federal Government College, Onitsha, where she did her ss1-ss3, Dr. Mrs Chinyere Nzerem claimed her as their owns because she performed.

Sandra wasn't the first but she stood out. Obi had given scholarship to students who did the state proud. He equally gave scholarship to children displaced in the Northern Nigerian by Boko Haram. He had given thousands of jobs too but silently.

Obi had in 2009 announced a scholarship for students who did the state proud at Nigeria/UNESCO special Quiz competition in 2007 and 2008. The awards were won between 30th March and 5th April, 2008 .The students won three trophies and a plague for the Anambra state at the competition and Governor Obi announced an award of scholarship to the contingent that won the laurels for the state.

According to Governor Obi, the scholarship will take the two students of the contingent who are already in the University to at least four years while others would enjoy theirs at the appropriate time.

The students were Anikwe Calista studying Pharmacy at University of Ibadan , Anozie Echezona studying Mathematics at the University of Nigeria , Bernard Nwogbo and Ndidiamaka Umeh won various laurels for the state .

Aniekwe of St Monica's Ogbunike was overall best in Physics, Echezona of Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS) Onitsha was over all best in Biology and Technology and won two trophies , Ndidiamaka Umeh of Queen of the Rosary College , Onitsha and Bernard Nwogbo of St Charles Onitsha were part of the contingent.

Two of the beneficiaries of the Governor Obi's scholarship largess, Aniekwe Calista and Anozie Echezona said they were surprised by the Governor's award of scholarship to them noting that they have realized that hard work pays.

The children of slaughtered Anambra people at Mubi by Boko Haram , 14 or more of them at the last count were all on scholarship of Obi. And the two surviving daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Obiukwu of Umuduru village, Awka-Etiti whose four daughters were killed at St. Theresa's Catholic Church Mandala, Niger State are also on scholarship.

After tour of the Maranatha International School, Regina Pacis Model Secondary School, Onitsha and St. Anthony of Padua Secondary School, Nkpor, and donating 18-seater buses and computers to them, Obi awarded scholarships to the duo of Theresa Mbanefo and Ogochukwu Okafor, who are students of Regina Pacis secondary school, for what he termed 'a display of exceptional brilliance'.

But Obi is not free yet as the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace Most Rev. Dr. Valeria Okeke, has urged him to monitor their progress reports of all those in his scholarship with aim of assisting them get good jobs when they graduate with sound results.

Obi as well had earlier promised to sponsor three students who performed very creditable in Igbo Language at WAEC every year and I am sure many must have benefited. What a gesture so laudable in igniting reading culture now at zero point.

Obialunamma Nwadiogbu is the Executive Director, Campaign against Illiteracy, Low enrollment, widowhood and Destitute empowerment. She wrote in from Anambra state via E- mail [email protected] Phone No 08057247111