Imo State, Nigeria-Jan 1, 2013: Yesterday, the community of Amuzi (a small African town in Imo State, South Eastern Nigeria) was in celebratory mood as six of their sons and daughters were the lucky winners of this year’s scholarship award sponsored by ECUDOMEF. The rigorous selection process involved an initial screening of hundreds of applications, using criteria such as superior class ranking and financial need, and finally examination score. The successful scholarship winners were; Maryanne E.Ndugbu, Charles C. Ahamefule, Cynthia Chisorom Nwagwu, Valentine I. Nze, Odinakachi Njoku and Charity Chima Opara.
The awards were presented to the various recipients by selected members of the ECUDOMEF Board of Trustees namely Mrs Amaka Oparaoji, Engr. Kennamdi Onwuliri, Dr. Chinemerem Onwuliri and Mr. Emeka Oparaoji. Following the awards presentation Prof. Edward Oparaoji, the Founder of ECUDOMEF said ”…I commend the winners of the 2012 ECUDOMEF scholarship award, knowing how rigorous the selection process is and the amount of hard work you have put in. I want to also commend parents and guardians who have guided these students to attain this significant accomplishment…In keeping with the tradition of this award, our interest and commitment to these students extend beyond this moment. We will continue to monitor their progress, provide then guidance and counseling to ensure they become successful in their various chosen careers and become valuable contributors to the development of Amuzi and humanity”. Engr. Kennamdi Onwuliri, speaking on behalf of the Hon. Minister of State 1, for Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Prof. Viola Onwuliri, said “without education your pathway to success in life is limited, as well as your capacity to take advantage of resources around and available to you. With the path you are now on I am convinced that in due course you will not only be a beneficiary of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda, but also a contributor to actualizing them. I wish you luck and please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any help.” In his keynote address the parish Catechist and local ECUDOMEF program coordinator, Sir Isaac Izunwanne said “ permit me to observe that ECUDOMEF it is to be noted has for the past 20 plus years of its inauguration trained many youths of Amuzi, provided jobs for them and also cares for the widows and orphans in the community. We are eager to do more, we therefore appeal to other Amuzi sons and daughters to join the moving train. As we continue to thank you for your support so far, we humbly request your support towards carrying out effectively our set goals and projects”. Sir Izunwanne paid tribute to the late Chairman of ECUDOMEF board of trustees Prof. Celestine O.E. Onwuliri when he said “Distinguished guests, permit me at this juncture to inform you that the much talked about ECUDOMEF has been under the chairmanship of an illustrious son, a philanthropist, a humanitarian, an academic, and a holy man, Professor C.O.E. Onwuliri, who transitioned into eternal glory some six months ago. I crave your indulgence to stand up now and observe a minute of silence for the repose of the soul of this noble son of Amuzi. May his soul rest in peace, Amen! The death for sure dealt a very big blow to everything good in our community…. What an irreparable loss to our community. We have already started storming heaven with prayers and petitions at his graveside for God to confirm him a saint with visible signs. We know he is resting securely in the bosom of the Lord, but as humans, we pray God to dispel our doubts by showing us visible signs. Though we have seen some, we are hopeful more are coming.”
Sir Izunwanne also gave a brief historical overview of ECUDOMEF when he said “…. a brief history of the life and times of Eze Cletus Oparaoji will help us appreciate the uniqueness of this God given son and great traditional ruler of Amuzi. It might interest you to know that Eze Cletus Oparaoji, the only son of his family was not born with silver spoon, rather he achieve d greatness through hard work and he benevolently extended the greatness to his entire community and even beyond. We recall at this moment those occasions when in Lagos he fed any Igbo son or daughter who came his way and went severally to the police to bail those who were unjustly locked up. In fact to the Yoruba’s he was King of Igbos in Lagos at the time. In the religious life, he was not found wanting. It was the great son of Amuzi who initiated the rebuilding of the St. Jude’s Church. Thus, when Eze Cletus Oparaoji and wife Ugoeze Dorothy Oparaoji departed from this world, their son, Prof. Edward Oparaoji and Wife Dr. (Mrs) Ndidi Oparaoji, held tenaciously to the legacies of their parents and continued in the funding of ECUDOMEF.” Representing the point of view of a recent University graduate Mr. Emeka Oparaoji, a member of the board of trustees, who just received his BSc degree in Health Sciences from Drexel University, Philadelphia USA said to the recipients “the sky is the limit, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, of course there will be set backs, but don’t let those deter you, all you need is focus, hard work and dedication”
In conclusion, Professor Oparaoji, acknowledged some US based Amuzi sons, including Rev. Fr. Dr. Sebastine Ugochukwu and Dr. Onyema Nkwocha for their generous donation that made this year’s program a huge success. The very well attended program took place at the St. Jude Catholic Church in Amuzi, Ahiazu, Imo State, Nigeria. In attendance were family, friends, and supporters of the recipients and ECUDOMEF as well as representative of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency Prof. (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri. Others included Prof. and Prof. (Mrs) Ignatius and Franka Onyeocha, Engr John Chuckwu, Rev. Sr. Mary Colette Onyeocha,, traditional rulers and educational administrators Also present were the officiating priest Rev Fr. Simon Nwachukwu, the parish priest Rev. Fr. Paul Ohaeri, other clergy and volunteers.
For more photos of the 2012 ECUDOMEF Scholarship event click here
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