Ebizi Eradiri as Face of Bayelsa Girl Child

The calls on society to honour those who excel in exhibition of mental capacity stuck on the Bayelsa State government last week. State Governor, Douye Diri, had announced an automatic scholarship for Ebizi Blessing Eradiri up to doctorate degree level in any university in Nigeria or abroad. He also named her the New Face of the Bayelsa Girl Child. Eradiri had made history by becoming first female First Class graduate from the Faculty of Law, Niger Delta University (NDU). If anyone thought this was a fluke, Miss Eradiri went a step higher by repeating this feat at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos campus where she also bagged a First Class. In a short ceremony which had Eradiri’s father, Boloupaye Eradiri, at the Government House, Yenagoa, the governor also announced an automatic employment for her if she chose to lecture at the state university’s Faculty of Law.

Before Eradiri, Bayelsa had named Miss Nengi Hampson of the last edition of Big Brother Naija, as Bayelsa’s Girl Child’s New Face. Diri explained Eradiri’s choice as the need to make her a role model for young girls in Bayelsa and the entire Ijaw nation for their emulation.

Last week, I thumbed up the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who similarly identified the best students of the Lagos State University and awarded them scholarship, as against the Ogun State governor who splashed millions of naira on Olamilekan Moshood Agbeleshe, a.k.a. Laycon, the Big Brother Naija impresario’s choice.

Even if this constitutes mere tokenism in the battle to redraw the graph of Nigeria’s correct placement of intellect or, as some critics say, that the Governor Diri example is a mere attempt to politicize the place of mental achievement, the creek governor deserves some kudos. This is because the retard in thinking of the Nigerian society has gone almost haywire that society doesn’t seem to reckon with mental excellence any longer. As I wrote last week, many who go to school seeking mental excellence have every reason to drop out unceremoniously. The virus of unemployment has afflicted virtually every household, making those who struggled to go to school, graduate but are now unemployed, now forced to engage in menial jobs, looking very stupid in the presence of dropouts who take after crime. Downcast by this trend, parents are now abetting their children to take after cyber fraud and allied malfeasances at very early stages.

I knew Eradiri at the Nigerian Law School, Lagos campus. She was my classmate. We both belonged to Group 8 of the 2019 set. In the about one year of our schooling to become lawyers, Ebizi was an outstanding student who not only demonstrated brilliance but that she was well brought up and cultured. Humble, affable and shy, she was one of the favourites of our beloved Corporate Law teacher, Mrs. James, as well as other hard-working Lagos campus teachers as she brilliantly answered questions posed to her at random.

Let leaders, governors, ministers, commissioners and everyone of means celebrate the Eradiris in our midst and make them feel they haven’t made a mistake by seeking the golden fleece. We will be encouraging millions of other children inside of whom society is sowing the dangerous seeds that education is worthless.

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