How Kwara Community Is Curbing Cultism, Street Hawking With Summer Lessons
Ubandawaki community in Ilorin West Local Government Area is famous for producing top citizens in Kwara State and across the country who have excelled in their various fields of endeavour.
Some of the community's great intellectuals include Prof Abdulrazaq Abdulmajeed Alaro who is a member of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Council of Experts and HOD of Law, University of Ilorin; pioneer female mathematics professor in Ilorin Emirate, Medinat Folorunsho Salman; a former Minster of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdulalhi; and the immediate past SSG in the state, Sola Isiaka Gold.
Part of what has assisted the community in occupying this enviable position in the state is the summer lesson classes organised for brilliant and indigent students across the community by the Ubandawaki Youth Development Association (UYDA).
Although the community has had its own fair share of the moral decadence and social paralysis pervading many societies in the country, the effort of the youths in Ubandawaki in curbing many of these vices in order to nurture the locals on the right path has reverberated across the state. This they have done through the provision of scholarships for over 1,000 students, the latest at a ceremony held at the Oke-Ebo Primary School, Pakata, at the weekend.
Speaking with North Central Trust during the yearly event which was the 11th in the series, the President of UYDA, Mallam Murtala Alawonle, who thanked the indigenes for contributing in cash and kind, said the programme was borne out of the need to maintain a long time tradition of success and curb the waywardness of the youths; to assist them in actualising their dreams as the leaders of tomorrow.
Mallam Murtala said, "We saw that many of those youths who hawk during holidays thereby exposing themselves to all sorts of danger, and others who have turned into cultists were because of lack of proper education and parental guidance. So we the youths of the community gathered ourselves to utilise our third term holiday period which is a bit long by providing summer lessons for them free of charge, in addition to scholarships from Primary 1 to SS3 instead of them idling away.
"We pick the best three students from Primary 1 to SS3 across all the schools in the community. Then we add additional 10 indigent students and others we observe are brilliant but lack the financial wherewithal.”
According to the 2021 Chairman of the Education Committee (Summer Lesson) of Ubandawaki, Ibrahim Yusuf Arowosaye, the difference between the summer lessons of Ubandawaki and others in the state was that they ran it like a proper school with stern disciplinary measures which had made students understand its import and implication in their educational pursuit.
While appreciating the large turnout, Arowosaye said the challenge had been lack of adequate teachers because of insufficient funds.
He added that, "But we are coping and we continue to call for help and support because we plan to add computer education for next edition for this place to serve as foundation for the students. We are happy that we are seeing the results from those that have passed out to the universities and graduated to become global players from this small community through our modest effort."
In her remarks, a parent whose three daughters got scholarships, Taibat Abdulhakeem, expressed joy and prayed for the sustenance of the programme.
She said, "This is a huge financial relief for my family. Three of my daughters being awarded scholarship by Ubandawaki was what I least expected. I am just overjoyed for words, especially in this time that the cost of education, just like foodstuff, has skyrocketed."
Responding, two of the beneficiaries told North Central Trust that the gesture would go a long way to assist them in their education, and also save their parents the trouble of looking for money for their schooling.
According to 17-year-old Hadi Joke Salamat, an SS3 student of Government Day Senior Secondary School (GDSSS), Adewole, "I really appreciate UYDA for giving me this scholarship and helping to crown my effort. My parents are extremely happy because of the financial implication of this on our family, especially when I never expected it. Some youths that have turned societal menace today was because of the absence of a programme like this."
On her part, 11-year-old Primary 4 pupil of Al-Ansar Islamic School, Abdulhakeem Maryam, said, "I am very happy to be among the beneficiaries which I am sure will inspire others like to take their education and studies serious."
North Central Trust further reports that over N700,000 was expended on the programme from donations and contributions of indigenes of the community and scholarships worth over N5m were gotten from private schools that are partnering with UYDA.