FROM GRASS TO GRACE: GENIUS ARE NOT BORN
It was a tedious journey for Dr Olugu Ukpai! He lost his mother and father at the age of 14 and 16 respectively. His struggles began early in his mother’s womb when his father went to prison for fighting a man who was bent on taking his land, a portion he inherited from his father. He was born in the absence of his father. His mother named him “Patience”, for she said, “I refused to return to my parents despite all odds.” For the most part, Dr Ukpai was raised by his mother as a single parent.
FALLING IS NOT FAILING
Being the first in a family of four, he failed several times in his education journey. But he never gave up. Coming from a very poor family, his father worked in a sand mining site. His job was scooping sand into a dump truck. He was also a local hunter. His mother was a mobile corn pudding hawker. His school fees were not being paid on time. That made him spent more days at home than in school.
He failed his first school leaving certificate examination at Ogbokwe Primary school, Asaga Ohafia. Having been driven away from school for not paying school fees, his father succeeded in getting money from selling the first antelope he killed to register him for the first school leaving certificate examination (grade 6). That was barely one month to the exam. When the result was released, Dr Ukpai failed. Dr Ukpai failed the second time when he registered the same first school leaving certificate examination the second time at Community Primary School Amangwu Ohafia. This time, a teacher (name withheld) promised to help the students pass the exam by cheating. “Growing up as a youth in scripture Union (SU), we were taught point blank that exam malpractice was a sin and cheaters will go to hell”. “So I was uncomfortable with that arrangement”, said Dr Ukpai. Unfortunately, he sat beside the window during the exam and was made an escape goat. The said teacher took away his question paper and replaced it with an older one to enable him to answer the questions for the students. He immediately alerted the external examiner who was very furious and had to cancel his examination script. He was punished for speaking the truth. When the result was released, he failed.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: DELAY IS NOT DENIAL
But such temporary setback couldn’t stop the young Olugu from believing in himself. His academic moral obligation resonates with what Abraham Lincoln told his son’s teacher: “In school, teach him it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat”. He finally wrote my first-school leaving certificate (Grade 6) under Adult Education sometime in 2001 and passed it. Delay is not denial.
FIRST-CLASS HONOURS: HARVEST OF LAURELS
In 1994, he sat for the West African Examination Certificate (WAEC, High school) at Secondary Technical School, Amangwu Ohafia (AMATECHS), where he was the best graduating student. He then proceeded to the University of Port Harcourt where his academic excellence manifested quite early and avenged for his past failures. It was a revenge mission.
Dr Ukpai made a First-Class, breaking a 15 year of First Class drought of the Department (1985-2000) and became the pioneer First Class awardee. He made the HOD’s list, Dean’s list and overall best graduate of the University in the year 2000 academic session with highest GPA of 4.75 (in a 5 point scale. Out of a total of 48 courses he took from his first to final year undergraduate programme, he made a total of 3 C’s, 8 B’s and a whopping 37 A’s. An unconfirmed report has it that it was the highest GPA ever recorded in the 25-year history of the University (1975-2000).
TURNING YOUR MESS INTO A MESSAGE
In 2002-2003, he was awarded a federal government scholarship with which he started his Master Degree at the University of Port Harcourt. Barely 6 months into his Master Degree programme, he was awarded an overseas scholarship. In 2004-2005, he received the prestigious Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Fellow (CSFP) and headed for his Master Degree programme. Following a brilliant performance in Canada, in 2009/2010, the British government awarded him a Postgraduate Scholarship for his Doctorate obtainable at the University of Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom. In 2010-11, the West African Research Association awarded me another scholarship.
FROM GRASS TO GRACE
From his second year at the University until he completed his Doctorate, Dr Ukpai did not pay a dime. He was graced by the Almighty God with various prestigious local and international scholarships. From Dr Ukpai’s life’s education journey, it is fair to allude that genius are not born, failure is not final; when grace speaks, failure listens, and can lift a man from grass to grace!
TIME TO GIVE BACK
How about the rest of the youths who may not be a lucky as Dr Ukpai growing up? How about those youths who may have worked even harder than Dr Ukpai did but were never a lucky as him? While UNESCO says that over 65 million Nigerians are cannot read and write, the Nigerian Minister of education admits that over 40% of Nigerian youths are illiterates. Without education, there will not be any meaningful development and we cannot contend with the scourge of malaria in Africa.
Dr Ukpai believes that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, a little luck and grace. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful. Dr Ukpai is proud to partner with organizations and institutions that place an emphasis on and share his interest in giving back to the community.
OFFERING 55% SCHOLARSHIP TO 200 YOUTHS (60% FOR WOMEN)
Today, Dr Ukpai and partners announce the offering of 55% scholarship to successful 200 youths towards tuition into the tertiary institution (Polytechnic).
With the 55% scholarships towards tuition, successful applicants pay N47, 500* ($131*) per annum* only.
BURSARY APPLICATION FEE
N2,500 only ($7) only
National Diploma in the followings; Accounting, Business Administration and Management, Computer science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Electronic Engineering, Statistics, Mass Communication and Public Administration
ADMISSION FOR 2019/2020 ACADEMIC SESSION
ENTRY REQUIREMENT: SSCE, NECO or NABTEB with five (5) credits including, English language, Mathematics and three (3) others
JOINT ADMISSION AND MATRICULATION BOARD (JAMB); Candidates with a score of 120 cut-off Points
DURATION OF PROGRAM: Two sessions of four semesters
INCLUSIVE OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDENTS WHO DIDN’T MEET THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
We also give Opportunities to young people who are willing and eager to learn and build themselves especially those candidates with a deficiency in SSCE, NECO or NABTEB. We will work with our partner institutions to offer such candidates Preliminary National Diploma, (Pre-ND) and on completion, they get direct entry into National Diploma.
We recognize the dignity and worth of every person. We pledge compassionate and practical actions to provide an equal and inclusive opportunity for the applicants. We work to build a healthy caring community for every applicant without regard to national origin or religious persuasion. All to the glory of God.
Dr. Ukpai and partners are looking into how to also provide a shared accommodation for successful applicants. Keep praying for us.
INVITATION FOR APPLICATIONS
If you or anyone you know are interested, kindly drop your name and phone number below the post or call (0803-791-5764) and a designated admission officer will call you within an hour depending on demand and your place on the queue. You shall be issued with an entrance code. Keep it secure. It’s your unique application identity.
Congratulations in advance!
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