Scholarships for Ogun West Indigenes And Tolu Odebiyi’s “Touch of Difference” (TOD)

Babajide Tella

“Service is about taking responsibility for what is wrong in the community, and more so, the world, and doing something about it.”
―Amanda Troillet

Tolu Odebiyi, the Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District in the 9th Assembly, most likely had the saying of Amanda Troiliet in mind when he was elected to represent his people. From inception, Odebiyi, who is fondly called TOD by friends and associates, left no one in doubt of his unflinching and unflagging determination to solve the problems of his constituents. The lack of educational opportunities was one of his priorities.

Since the creation of the state in 1976, the economic realities of the people of Ogun West have overshadowed their educational pursuit resulting in a deficit of formally educated students especially at the tertiary level. Additionally, unfavourable administrative structures and the sensitive political architecture of the state is skewed to the disadvantage of the Yewa/Awori people who make up the Senatorial District of TOD. Yet therein exist a large number of youths who are exceptionally brilliant but unable to fund their education. From this stemmed the unbridled desire to provide a long-standing solution through the Tolu Odebiyi Scholarship Scheme.

The Tolu Odebiyi Foundation hosts an annual scholarship award programme which has become increasingly anticipated and sought after by the inhabitants of Ogun West. The Foundation has awarded scholarships to over 100 students in various Tertiary Institutions within the country. This year’s event, the third edition, is slated for November 28th 2021 and will once again seek to empower another set of students to cultivate and hone in to their academic excellence by easing their financial burdens associated with educational costs. The event will hold at the Conference Centre, Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro by 12 noon.

The TOD Scholarship Scheme emphasises the importance of developing technological skill which is why the deserving students are awarded brand new laptops in addition to the financial award given. “The current realities across the world, including Nigeria, presuppose that many jobs might be taken over by technology in the next few years. Robotics, Artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Virtual Reality (VR) amongst others are the new world order of technology that the youth must be ready to embrace”, Odebiyi noted.

TOD believes the future is driven by technology and is therefore determined to provide adequate opportunities for the youth of Ogun West to remain competitive in the job market by keeping abreast of technological advancements.

The Senator, whose late father Jonathan Odebiyi, was also a Senator, former Minister of Finance, former Minister of Education, as well as the deputy leader of Action Group under Obafemi Awolowo; is quite aptly following the footsteps of his father. The late Odebiyi was, alongside Awolowo, instrumental to many educational advancement efforts that formed the foundation of education of the old Western Region.

We hope TOD’s efforts in education, alongside his other interventions in infrastructure, farming, rural development and job creation for the youth – all which have been widely commended by his people in Ogun West and beyond – will continue even after his tenure as Senator.

Education, like Malcom X said, is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Babajide Tella wrote from Egbo Road, Ilaro in Ogun State

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