kin Olayanju Foundation, a Non Governmental Organization which started very small is gradually penetrating the entire three Senatorial Districts in Ondo State discovering talents and impacting their lives
By Ogungbemi Adeyemi Orimisan
The second edition of the Akin Olayanju Foundation Arts and Sciences competition organized for students recently in all the three Senatorial Districts in Ondo State may have come and gone, the memory is not lost on participants especially those who won prizes.
The annual event which is the brainchild of Akintunde Olayanju, a seasoned ICT expert, has turned out to become an avenue to liberate the hopeless and provide for the emancipation of the downtrodden in the society. Going by what happened at the first and second annual event, the foundation is set for a new order in the area of health, economy, sports, environment and education development in Ondo State.
The education of children and youth and growing the economy according to education stakeholders in Ondo State are predominantly key to societal development. Curiously, these are the things that the founder/ President of Akintunde Olayanju Foundation are determined to address in the three Senatorial Districts and he has decided to put all it takes to achieve this dream.
This is to be expected of Olayanju, a man who firmly believes in the historic words of President John F. Kennedy (The 35th President of United States of America) who in his inaugural speech of January 20, 1961 noted: “Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country”.
Those who know Akintunde Olayanju say he has always advocated for a new order where society thrives through conscious and deliberate efforts or formulated policies that will provide equitable opportunities for all no matter their educational or family background.
The foundation boss believes however, that this task cannot be actualized by government alone. Hence, he continues to advocate for a collaborative effort by corporate bodies, NGOs, well meaning individuals and so on. He thus founded his foundation to raise the banner of hope of the despondent and to enable them to live their lives with support from the organization based on this philosophy.
Essentially Akin Olayanju Foundation started in November, 2018 in the four Local Government Areas in Akoko when it staged its preliminary event where students competed for prizes until the 1st, 2nd and 3nd winners emerged at the finals. The maiden edition served as a template for the second outing which ended successfully recently.
This year’s event had participants drawn from among the 60 state government owned secondary schools in the four Local Government Areas of Akoko land. At the end of the competition 8 out of the 60 schools made it to the final.
However, Akoko Church Unity Secondary School, Epinmi-Akoko, Victory College, Ikare-Akoko and Mount Carmel Girls Grammar School, Ikare-Akoko emerged the winner, first runner up and second runner up and were awarded cash gifts of N100,000, N75,000 and N50,000 respectively
Also, the foundation gave tablet each to the 16 students that made it to the final. The tablets were donated to Akin Olayanju Foundation by Mr. Tokunbo Fagbamigbe, CEO Cott&Cush Limited as his support for the annual event. Fagbamigbe equally offered to train two students free in ICT in his ICT institution at Yaba, Lagos for a period of six months to make them competent software engineers of global standard.
Similarly, to encourage excellent learning culture by schools and teachers. Textbooks on various subjects were donated to the schools that produced the finalist by the Akin Olayanju Foundation.
Curiously, this year’s event was graced by crème-de-la-crème of the society as well as stakeholders in the education sector from Akokoland. Others are representatives of students from the sixty secondary schools in Akokoland, Executives of Parent-Teachers’ Association, Teachers and Executives of Academic Staffs Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Principals under the umbrella of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) and their Executives in each of the four LGAs, Directors of Education from each Local Government Area, Area Education Officers, the Zonal Education Officer of Akokoland, Directors of Education from each Local Government Area, Area Education Officers, the Zonal Education Officer of Ikare-Akoko Zonal Education Office as well as the erstwhile Tutor-General and the Principal Emeritus of Victory College, Ikare-Akoko who was the Chairman of the occasion
In his speech, President and founder of Akin Olayanju Foundation, Mr. Akintunde Olayanju noted that “Everybody say Nigeria will be better. But, I have come to understand that Nigeria cannot be better until everyone of us play our roles. Until we continue to do something different about ourselves and our community, only then will Nigeria be better.” Furthermore, he said “My passion is to see the whole of Akoko coming together. Until we are one, until that division is collapsed, that’s when we’ll be able to forge ahead and bring Akoko onto the global landscape”.
This he noted was the motivating factor behind the creation of the foundation in addition to the desire to give back to the community that nurtured his existence. His action and commitment to his root and his people has drawn Akintunde a native of Oba-Akoko, the gate way of Akoko land, to the whole of Akoko land and his people in the Diaspora
The annual event aside from serving as a unifying factor, is equally discovering talents, which are needed to bring Akokoland to global reckoning in the not distant future. This much was stated by observers who equally emphasized that since education is a tool for development and it is the reason Akin Olayanju foundation is poised to synergize the numerous untapped potentials of the students and youth alike in Akoko land, the foundation must be encouraged.
While commending the governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the State Government’s effort in developing education and other sectors of the economy Olayanju noted that
“We looked at two areas out of our five domains- Education and the economy and decided that we should support what the state government is doing. This is because I am of the school of thought that believe that if we don’t get it right in education, there can not be any meaningful development anywhere”.
Furthermore, he said “we thought of how we can bring education close to the people, so we decided to start with quiz competition last year. The sixteen students that made it to the final last year are on our data base where they will join other eggheads to solve world problems someday. Though, the journey has not been easy but with God on our sides, the insurmountable will become surmountable”
Interestingly the foundation also plan to embark on power generation through biological mean(biogas technology). This the foundation boss said is because if there is no power, there cannot be sustainable economic growth. Therefore he says preparations are in top gear to transform wastes to power generation in Akokoland.
Expressing his willingness to achieve the vision Olayanju said ” This my home community is really rallying round me to to make this lofty and novel dream to become reality. I believe it’s possible and achievable because impossibility can only be found in the dictionary of fools and we all are not fools. Besides God is on our side.
The Chairman of the occasion, Honourable Bode Ariyo, the former Tutor-General of Ondo North in his remark noted that a lot of people who are richer than Akintunde Olayanj will not think about students but this young man- not the richest in Ondo State is moved by the call to service, and believes he must give back to the society by giving scholarship award to well deserving students and the indigents inclusive, may God give us people like Mr. Akintunde Olayanju in our society.
Also the host principal, Pastor Ajimuda Adebayo described the President/ founder of the Foundation as a man who will live long having left a legacy for which posterity will record his deed in gold. Furthermore Adebayo noted”
That is just a way of showing your creator that he did not create you in vain”.
Speaking on behalf of other Area Education Officers, Dr. T.O.A Dawodu, the Zonal Education Officer of Akoko Zone, Ikare-Akoko commended the unprecedented efforts of the foundation for giving the education sector in the zone a boost. He said the foundation is more or less a unifying force in the whole of Akokoland as he made a clarion call to other sons and daughters of Akoko home and abroad to emulate the philanthropic disposition of Mr. Akintunde Olayanju. “Education is the bedrock of any nation’s development . This one is no doubt an avenue of knitting up the four Local Government Areas together he admitted
Aside the Eight schools that got to the final where three of the schools came first, second and third the foundation paid for the JAMB registration fees of the students that notched the 5th to 8th positions in addition to paying for the JAMB fees of 10 indigent students and the 6 winners of 2019 quiz competition organized by the Akin Olayanju Foundation.
Also, sporting materials were given to the participating and host schools to boost their extracurricular wherewithal.
The climax of the event was the recognition of some eminent personalities who had distinguished themselves in the educational development. They are Olumofin T.S, Abdulsalam Agbajelola Wahab. Ipinlaye A.A and Aderohunmu S.O
Also distinguished leadership awards were bestowed on Pastor Alejo Badewole Rufus, Pastor Alonge Richard A, Pastor Ogbeye Oluwanifise Emmanuel and T.O.A Dawodu (Ph.D).
The erstwhile Tutor-General of ONDO North Zone Mr. Bode Ariyo was also given an award in recognition of his outstanding and matchless support for the educational development of Akokoland and Ondo State at large.
Meanwhile, the foundation says the Arts and Sciences Quiz Competition will metamorphose into a state competition where all state Government owned Senior Secondary Schools in Ondo State will compete among themselves.For now, Akin Olayanju Foundation has made its mark in Akokoland.