Rep Onyejeocha clears WAEC fees of all candidates in constituency
By Steve Oko
It was tears of joy weekend at Ngodo Isuochi country home of the member representing Isuikwuato /Umunneochi federal constituency, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC), as she issued out cheques for the free registration of all West Africa Examination Council, WAEC candidates in public schools across the entire constituency.
Principals of all public schools in the two Local Government Areas that make up the federal constituency – Umunneochi and Isuikwuato, gathered in her home to collect the cheques amounting to N12, 765, 000 million being the total cost of registration fee for all WAEC candidates in public schools for the May / June 2020 WAEC exam.
Apart from public schools two missions schools – Methodist Girls Memorial Secondary School, Ovim Isuikwuato ( Onyejeocha’s Alma mater), and the Methodist Church Nigeria Wesley Int’ College, Isuochi, also benefited from the gesture.
The amount given to each school was determined by the number of WAEC candidates it registered.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives said the gesture was part of her contributions to ensure that youths in her constituency had a secure future.
Her words : “Providing education opportunities for our people is a key component of my representation, hence, I won’t stop until our future is secured.”
She noted that “education remains the bedrock of any society”, adding that no society has made a meaningful progress without paying serious attention to education and its sundries.
Continuing, the four -term lawmaker said :”having seen the power of education, I have undertaken to bear the cost of WAEC fees of all the public schools within Isuikwuato/ Umunneochi federal constituency.
“This is the way I want to increase human and capacity development in our communities and also stop our youths from leaving secondary schools without WAEC Certificate.”
Onyejeocha who said it was not in her nature to advertise her works but needed to celebrate this one to prove critics wrong said the gesture would be limited to only indigent students in subsequent years.
Giving a brief history of what spured her into the gesture, the lawmaker said she spotted a teenage mother queuing behind widows during her empowerment programme in December 2019.
She said that on close inquiry the teenager narrated to her how she was put in a family way by a man in her bid to raise money for her WAEC fee which she eventually could not afford.
Onyejeocha said that further enquiries revealed that the teenager was not the only victim of such sad experience, hence her resolve to end such ugly scenario in the constituency.
Responding on behalf of principals of public schools in the constituency, Mrs. Haniel Nnabugwu, described the gesture as unprecedented since the history of the constituency as well as her career of 23 years .
Nnabugwu who spoke in an emotion-laden voice revealed that some students did not return to school in the current term because they could not raise money for WAEC registration.
Adding his voice, Mr. John Iheonu of Nneato Secondary School said the gesture would end the high rate of school drop out in the constituency and the attendant growing crime wave.
Some students’ representatives including Amarachi Ndionye of Ovim Girls; Chinedu Offor of Nunya Community Secondary School; and Gospel Okoye of Nneato Secondary School, respectively , expressed joy over the gesture and vowed to reciprocate by putting up excellent performance at the forthcoming WAEC exams.
In his remarks, the Abia State Chairman of APC, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, lauded Onyejeocha for the gesture which he said was in line with the party’s manifesto.
He said Onyejeocha had through the gesture, substantially tamed insecurity as some youths who would have dropped out of school would no longer have excuses for that.
Nwankpa who challenged other lawmakers to emulate Onyejeocha, charged the beneficiaries to justify the gesture by working harder for impressive results during their exams.