FORTUNE has smiled on parents and children of Maris Schools in Delta State as the Special Assistant, Media, to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Comrade Fidelis Egugbo, has volunteered to pay the tuition fee of all the students and pupils of the schools located in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state, for the first term of 2020/2021 academic session.
Egugbo unveiled the surprise package on Thursday in Asaba as part of activities to mark his 2020 birth anniversary, which were however scaled down on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The payment of the school children’s fees was to appreciate God for His goodness to him and His family, which he decided to do on the occasion of his first birthday celebration since he was given an appointment by His Excellency, the Governor, he noted.
He said that the gesture was also in line with the attitude of Governor Okowa, who believes in giving back to the society, and expressed hope that the fees would encourage more people to invest in education.
Egugbo said, “Today is another great day in my life as it reminds me of the fact that God is good and life is all about service to humanity.
“Within the year, God used Governor Okowa to break the jinx of a reporter covering the activities of Government House being elevated as a Special Assistant. And, of course, it is good to count your blessings but where will one start from? Is it surviving COVID-19?
“Maris Schools is a unique and it is located at an area you will be surprised that a lot of persons, including adults are desirous of education.
“We should collectively assist one another to weather the storm raised by COVID-19 pandemic and I believe that the payment of the tuition fees will in some ways assist students, pupils and their parents.
“In line with Governor Okowa’s desire to build a ‘Stronger Delta’ with well-equipped Deltans who are well educated and skilled, I have in consultation with my family and associates decided to pay the tuition fee for one term for all the students and pupils of Maris Schools, located at Amachai, Okpanam.
“I will work with the management of the school on how to refund the fees already paid for the term by some parents.
“Life is about giving, working to make the society better. You might recall, as the Chairman of The Pointer Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), all our activities were about giving back to the society, appreciating God’s goodness by working for the people, including making the Delta State Government to absorb all casuals in the civil service then.
“Today, I am a political appointee and God knows why He made it to be possible using His children. Therefore, would I stop giving to the society? Of course, NO!”
Egugbo took the opportunity to throw more light on the Maris Annual Public Lecture, which was postponed until 2021 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
“As the Secretary of Maris Trust Council, we have also initiated an annual lecture series, the Maris Annual Public Service Lecture, which most of you have attended as it has become one of the most attended public events in Nigeria.
“That is a lecture organised without any form of restriction, providing an avenue for people from all shades of life to discuss topical issues with a view to setting agenda and proffering solutions to the challenges of the society.
“This year’s edition was affected by COVID-19 and a new date, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, which is the traditional date for the lecture, that is, every Wednesday of the Holy Week or the Wednesday preceeding Easter Sunday.
“Although, there has been pressure to move the venue out of Asaba but we haven’t seen the need to move the venue of the lecture out of the state capital, considering the fact that people in different parts of the world have marked their calenders that every Wednesday of the Holy Week, Maris Annual Public Lecture series hold at noon in Asaba.
“On a day like this, I will continue to appreciate God, my family, friends, associates and all those who believe in what I am doing, including those who always challenge God by saying it is impossible, because God always proves Himself by telling them that there is always a way.
“I appreciate sponsors of my programmes and you, my colleagues in the pen-pushing profession. With God, it is always possible; and, I pray that God will always give Governor Okowa the means to execute his Stronger Delta programme to fruition.”