Foundation unites Ekiti communities, celebrates industry

The Bayo Arowolaju Foundation (BAF) recently concluded its annual festivities to reach out to the people of Ekiti East Local Government Area of Ekiti State and bring them together for unity and the development of the society. The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BAF,  Dr Bayo Arowolaju (Jnr), said the aim of the various activities, including a lecture, symposium, sports competition, especially football; and quiz among schools in the council area was to foster unity among the communities.

The Bayo Arowolaju Foundation had taken it upon itself to build unity and rekindle trust among the people, especially through the youth of Omuo, Ilasa, Kota, Isinbode, Eda Ile, Araromi Ugbeshi, Omuooke and Ikun/Araromi through the events. The Nigeria and United States-based non-profit organisation said it saw the need for the competitions after efforts by some other groups to organise events of such magnitude in the past could not be achieved due to disagreements and violence.

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During an award presentation for the football competition, the winners, (Omuooke Ekiti) went home with a set of complete customised football jerseys, a  giant trophy, a plaque, medals and cash gift. The first runner-up (Omuo Ekiti) went home with a complete customised set of football jersey, medals, a plaque and cash gift while the second runner-up (Isinbode Ekiti) also received a complete set of football jerseys, medals, a plaque and cash gift.

Dr. Arowolaju (Jnr) earlier in his address to the teams and their supporters admonished them to see the games and competitions as a unifying factor among the youth across the various communities in Ekiti East council area.

At the grand finale of the quiz which took place in Omuo Ekiti, the Director of Education of the foundation, Kehinde Olusuyi, reiterated the commitment of Dr. Arowolaju to improving academic performances in the state and to make the best performing students a role model for their fellow students.

During the award ceremony, the overall best student in the quiz competition, Adeniyi Adejuwon Samson, from Methodist High School, Isinbode-Ekiti went home with a new 14-inch laptop and received scholarships to cover his WAEC, NECO, and JAMB registrations, a gold medal and a school plaque.

The runners-up in the quiz competition are: Ayodele Samuel from Omuo Comprehensive High School and Oni Oyinlola from God’s Brightest Pride Academy, Omuooke-Ekiti. Each of them went home with a brand new 12-inch laptop, medals, school plaques and cash awards.

Part of the ceremonies was also a symposium held at Omuo Ekiti that focused on “Youth Unemployment: A Leading Catalyst to Africa’s Failure, Human Rights and Underdevelopment Crises.”  The Director of Youth Encouragement and Advocacy of the BAF, Mr. Babatunde Daramola, speaking at the opening of the symposium, highlighted the importance of supporting the vision of BAF “to truly restore hope and improve the lives of the youth in the area.”

At the symposium, Dr Arowolaju said BAF was determined to reposition education especially in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) by identifying academically-talented students through transparent and healthy competition among the students as well as rewarding excellence accordingly.

Dr. Arowolaju stated that these programmes and many more would be held on a continuous basis, and are meant to render selfless service to his community.

The BAF CEO also emphasised the foundation’s vision to foster unity, love and harmony among the different communities in Ekiti East Local Government Area, Ekiti State and Nigeria at large. He said this vision led to the 2018 BAF Football competition, where eight communities in Ekiti East participated.

He noted that acrimony was gradually getting eroded among the youth and that the completion of the football competition was a testament to the fact that the youth were able to manage their own affairs regardless of political or religious affiliations, town or community of origin. He encouraged leaders in the local government and state to emulate such sportsmanlike spirit and quit talking down on youths without adequately tapping into their positives and potential.

The keynote speaker of the BAF symposium was the Director of Environmental and Social Performance at The Millennium Challenge Account Liberia (MCAL), a Liberian Government Agency, Mr. Paul Kennedy. In his address, Mr. Kennedy challenged the local, state and federal governments to create an environment in which the private sector thrives so that the teeming youth can be gainfully employed.

Kennedy said:  “Any country that wants to develop must build the capacity of the young people.” He said human capacity development “contributes to infrastructural and technological development.” He commended Dr. Arowolaju Jr. whom he described as “a brother,” for BAF’s effort to transform education in Ekiti State.

The Chairman of the symposium and lecture, Professor Gbenga Jegede of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) commended the programme and enjoined all stakeholders in the state to emulate such a worthy effort. Professor Jegede stated that inter-schools quiz competitions of this nature would inculcate the spirit of teamwork and healthy competition in students, apart from promoting unity, peaceful coexistence and cordial relationships that will outlive their school years.

The Prof. of Religious Studies stated that many talents would be discovered in different fields which will bring added advantage to the community at large. He called on stakeholders and constituted authorities to promote similar competitions in the state with government and philanthropists investing greater resources for the educational advancement of its citizens as “qualitative education is a prerequisite for sustainable development.”

Prof Jegede prayed for protection, guidance and abundant blessings for Dr. Bayo Arowolaju. He then admonished students to shun all vices and face their studies because the sure way to succeed in life is through education.

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