The children of late billionaire business mogul, Idahosa Wells Okunbo, on Thursday made good their offer of 100 scholarships to pupils in Edo State. At a ceremony in Benin City to climax the posthumous 64th birthday celebration for their father, wife of the Olu of Warri Kingdom, Olori Atuwatse III, urged the pupils, selected from public schools in the state for the scholarship awards, to emulate the life of the deceased popularly called Captain Hosa, who she said, was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but made it through hard work and determination.
Flanked by her siblings, other family members, and heads of schools, she said “Captain Hosa was many things to many people. My father went to school in this city; my mother went to St. Maria Goretti. So, I want to encourage you … He was one of the children in the family of 11; his parents were teachers, so he was not born with a silver spoon but through hard work, dedication and determination, he rose to be a man of great impact and great value. So, I want you to take that as an encouragement.
“Look at him and know that this is the same Benin City that he grew up in, and you are growing up in; you have all it takes to make it and impact on the society. Education is so important to us, and we decided to put this together to mark his posthumous 64th birthday. We know we can do feeding, but the food will get finished. We can build a road, but the road will get bad some day. And it came to me, why don’t we invest in lives, why don’t transform lives, why don’t we ensure that pupils can go to school so that the multiplier effects will be felt. We have touched 100 lives today; but I dare say we have touched a hundred thousand lives.”
Earlier, the Olori’s younger brother and first son of the deceased, Osahon Okunbo, recalled how Nigeria invested in their late father through earned scholarships, stating that “he always referenced that to let people know; and he wanted to always give back to Nigeria because of what Nigeria did for him, and this is one way we can continue that”.
Also encouraging the scholarship beneficiaries, the younger Okunbo said to honour their father, “you should begin to ensure that you are the best. Always give more than you take. Try to be selfless; and for every decision you take, always ask yourself how that decision will benefit your community. If all of us can do that, we will have a better state, we will have a better community, and you will have embodied the values my father stood for”.
Recall that the family, led by the Olori, had unveiled the scholarship programme at their father’s first posthumous birthday on January 7, 2022 when they assembled at his mausoleum at the Wells Hosa Greenhouse Farm, where songs of worship were rendered, and prayers offered for his soul.
At that event, Olori Atuwatse 111 had explained that the idea of scholarship was informed by their father’s passion and support for education, as well as one of the legacies he bequeathed to them.
The Itsekiri Queen said the modalities for selecting the beneficiaries which would make the offer go across public schools in Edo State, was being perfected, adding that children of parents who could not afford school fees would be given priority.
According to her, “We are going to pay school fees for 100 children in memory of our father because he was very passionate about education, and he often said what he owed us, more importantly, was education. We are targeting primary and secondary school children in public schools in the state, whose parents are unable to pay their fees for the year.
“From all we have heard since he passed on, it is evident that he lived an impactful life and left great legacies; and that is what we the children are doing to keep alive the ideals he stood for”.