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Thursday, April 18, 2024

2023 Int’l Debate Championship: Philanthropist Rewards Team Anambra with Full Scholarship, Millions


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Dr. Ignatius Aguowo, a philanthropist and Founder of the IG Aguowo Health and Academic Foundation, has awarded full scholarship to the four students of the Anambra Debate Team who won the just-concluded 2023 International Debate Championship, held in Malaysia.

Dr. Aguowo announced the scholarship award on Wednesday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, where he also announced that the scholarship would cover their tuition fees and healthcare services, from their current educational level to their university level.

According to him, it was on the social media that he saw the news of how students from Anambra State defeated their international counterparts to emerge the champion in the global competition — a feat he said impressed him so much, that he decided to appreciate and encourage the Team for making the State and the country proud.

While appreciating the Anambra State Government for giving the Team every necessary support that saw them through the competition; the Nibo, Awka South-born philanthropist, further advised the students to keep developing themselves, doing well in their studies, and making the State and the country proud, without allowing anything distract them.

“Advise you to continue to develop the talents God has given you. And, above all, always put God first in everything you do,” said Chief Aguowo, who also recently (last week) awarded full scholarship to 92 indigent students from different tertiary institutions across the country.

Aside the scholarship awarded to the Anambra Debate Team, the philanthropist, also gave the four students hundred thousand naira (N100,000) each, and also donated the sum of one million naira (N1,000,000) to the Anambra State Debate Coordinator, Mrs. Amaka Anaekwe. Chief Aguowo capped it up with another one million naira (N1,000,000) he donated to the two coaches of the Team, Mr. Chiagozie Udorji and Mr. John Onuigbo (N500,000 each).

Earlier speaking, the Anambra State Debate Coordinator, Mrs. Amaka Anaekwe, who gave an overview of the competition, said it was an annual competition, which usually holds first at the national level, after which the group that emerge champion at their national level will represent their country in the international championship.

According to her, Team Anambra State has had track records of emerging the champion at the national level and representing Nigeria in the international championship of the debate competition for years, including the year 2015, when they represented the country in Singapore; year 2016, when they represented the country in Indonesia, among others years; and during which they also came back with trophies.

She said this year’s Debate Championship also saw Team Anambra defeating other states in Nigeria to emerge champion at the national level, which qualified them to represent Nigeria (as Team Nigeria) in the International Championship in Malaysia. She said in the Malaysia, the Team Anambra (also known as Team Nigeria or Team Solution) first defeated Team Malaysia 1, represented by Pin Hwa High School, by 3-0 at the semi-finals before advancing to the final stage, where they also defeated their counterparts from the Hin Hua High School in the grand finale, beating them 2-1 to emerge the overall winner and Champion of the competition.

Mrs. Anaekwe appreciated the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, the State’s Education Commissioner, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh; as well as heads of schools and education commissions for their support, which, she said was very instrumental to their victories, both at the national and international levels.

Responding, the State’s Commissioner for Education, Prof. Chuma-Udeh, whose joy knew no bound, described the feat as a wholesome achievement that did not only bring pride to Anambra State and the entire country, but also stands as a testament and evidence of the huge investment and good works of the Governor Soludo-led Anambra State Government in education.

“Coming home with the trophy has brought a lot of smiles to our faces. It is also a demonstration of how the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who sponsored the trip, is passionate about education in Anambra State.

“The Governor has brought total transformation in every facet of education in the state. Indeed, this trophy won by the Solution stands as another mark of his achievement in the educational sector. We are glad the Solution Team has made the state and the country proud again,” she said.

Commissioner Chuma-Udeh also showered panegyrics on philanthropist Aguowo and commended his act of appreciation and encouragement to the Team. She described him as a silent achiever and philanthropist with a difference, judging from the various humanitarian and developmental gestures he had shown in the past in different sectors, especially the educational sector. She underscored the significance of such acts of selfless philanthropy in bettering the society; even as she assured that Anambra State education sector would not relent in making the state proud in the global sphere.

Others who spoke at the event include the legal counsel to the IG Aguowo Health and Academic Foundation, Barr. Dilibe Anene; and the State President of the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Anambra State Branch, Mr. Jovita Arazu, who both commended the State’s Ministry of Education and the IG Aguowo Foundation for their good works and expressed optimism for a much closer and sustained partnership between the two entities.

The students of the Team Anambra who won the international debate championship — Okey Okonkwo John of the All Hallows Seminary, Onitsha; Emmanuel Ezechukwu of the same school; Okafor Obioma Blessing of the Mater Amabilis Secondary School, Umuoji; and Mbachu Promise Chukwuemeka of the St. Michaels Model Comprehensive Secondary School, Nimo — also appreciated Chief Aguowo for his rewards and encouragement, even as they promised to continue doing better in their studies and aiming towards greater heights and exploits.

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