Of the 545 undergraduates of the Lagos State University (LASU) who benefitted from the fifth scholarship awards last Friday, Emmanuel Ogunkoya and Chinwe Onyechiri stood out.

For making a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.78 and 4.76 respectively Emmanuel, of the Department of Chemical and Polymer Engineering, and Chinwe of Microbiology got special recognition – and hugs from the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello.

‘These two scholars have made this university proud, especially Chinwe who represented this university in a competition and won awards in two different categories. I will enjoin every one of you to emulate the seriousness and commitment of these students,” she said.

Applause intermittently enveloped the MBA Hall used for the occasion as the duo speaking on behalf of all the beneficiaries, expressed appreciation for the scholarship.

Ogunkoya thanked the school, his department lecturers and friends whose collaboration had helped him win.

Chinwe charged her peers not to see themselves as outcasts, but hold their heads high and be ready to make their university proud.

“Everywhere you go, carry the name and banner of LASU proudly. Do not allow anybody to intimidate you. Be proud to say you are from this university. Do your best not to let the university’s down,” she said.

Prof Olatunji-Bello spoke of the essence of the awards, which started five years ago under former Vice-Chancellor, Prof Lateef Akani Hussain, to assist mostly indigent but intelligent students.

She said: “The purpose (of the award) is to encourage and motivate our children/students in the university to face their studies and create room for healthy rivalry among brilliant students. It will be an understatement to say that a reasonable number of previous and present recipients were born without silver spoon.

Some of them have managed to secure admission into the system after labouring so hard and have also been sponsoring their studies from the meagre income they make from petty traders and works.”

She said 545 benefitted in the year. Giving a breakdown, she said 24 were receiving the awards fourth time, 48 for the third time, 61, second, while 296 were benefitting for the first time.

She urged the beneficiaries not to see the offer as peanuts, but an inspiration to work harder to achieve more in future.

“What you are collecting today may be meagre, but believe me, you are writing your names in gold for history to always remember you. You also need to know that history is very elastic but no matter what, history remains a reference point. If the university has decided to give you N25, 000 and requested you not to pay for tuition fee for each session, you win this award, believe me, this is still little compared to what your diligence and hard work will give you in future.”

She said the university has risen from the ashes and its students now re-orientated towards scholarship and good character.

“Gone are the days when Lagos State University students were noted for strikes and violence. Today, our noble students are recommended for their diligence, hard work and impeccable character.

It may interest you to know that one of our graduates was among the few corps members honoured by the Federal Government for his contributions to community development in his primary assignment during the 2010 National Youth Service Corps year.

This earned him a job and scholarship to study in the United Kingdom.”

Other principal officers of the university in attendance were: Mrs A.S Bello, who represented the Librarian; Mr A. Lasisi, who also stood in for the university’s bursar. Others are Dr M. Akinpelu of the Faculty of Education as well as the Acting Dean of Students Affairs Dr B.B. Idowu.