IT was a celebration of academic excellence and philanthropy as Fortune Club International honoured outstanding beneficiaries of its scholarship initiative. Miss Bassey Bassey Etim, who graduated with First Class in Civil Engineering and Joseph Effiong Inyang, a Second Class Upper degree Petroleum Engineering graduate, both from University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, were decorated by the club for academic excellence on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of Fortune International recently in Lagos. Etim and Inyang, who presently are National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, enjoyed full scholarship on the platform of the club from their first year in the university till they graduated; and are the first set of Nigerians to benefit from the programme. The event which commenced with a dedication service at Christ Methodist Church, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos was also used to appreciate individuals and organisations that have contributed to the development of the country. The Chairman of the occasion, Ulouye Ante in his opening remarks commended Fortune Club International for investing in human capacity development which according to him, ‘remains the foundation for any country to achieve solid development’,   and urged other organisations and individuals to take a cue from the club’s humanitarian initiatives. “I want to sincerely thank the Fortune Club because they have done something great. I urge Oron Union, the USA branch to take a cue from what Fortune Club is doing – taking people right from inception in the university until they graduate. I think it is something that any right thinking organisation seeking to promote education should copy. “Those of us in the union will go back with this lesson. We’ll go and tell ourselves that we’re not political parties whereby we come every year and start distributing money to students and at the end of the day, we do not know who we have trained,” he said. Reacting to the gesture, Bassey Bassey Etim said she would have withdrawn from school if not for scholarship offer from Fortune Club International, especially when she lost her mother, having lost her father earlier. “First, I’m grateful to God and I’m thankful to Fortune Club International, they have been really supportive. They picked me from nowhere after I lost my mum and the scholarship was all I had to depend on. So, I’m really grateful. “I may not have been able to complete my studies. So, being able to finish school without having to worry so much about the financial constraint was a great privilege. It means so much to me. I am personally looking forward to doing the same to others along the line,” she said. For Inyang, it feels awesome that an association like Fortune Club International could reposition his life from a hopeless situation. People who have family responsibilities, could still extend assistance to indigent children whose parents they didn’t know. I’ve never met any member of the club before then. All of a sudden, I was given scholarship. They are not politicians, to say maybe it’s a political empowerment. Honestly, I’m short of words. President of the club, Fortune Eyo Inuekim, who described the two graduands as worthy products of a worthy course, said he was proud of them for their excellent academic performances which justified their selection from the over 100 that entered for the scholarship. He disclosed that the number for the next scholarship award has been increased from two to five lucky students. “Personally, I’m excited, the entire club is excited. It means we made the best choice among the 100 that came out and they have presented us well. They came out with good grades which also show that if we didn’t pick them probably they would have been wasted. So we’re happy that they have come up to compete with any other persons; to come out with First Class in the university is no mere feat, is something great.”

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