The governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has formally flagged off the 2019/2020 scholarship award programme for Abia indigenes wishing to study in Australia with the charge to be good ambassadors of the state.
The first batch of candidates comprises 18 Abia indigenes as other interested candidates are implored to apply for the programme.
Speaking at the event held at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, the Governor said the essence of government is to create linkages and opportunities for young ones to aspire to higher heights.
The Governor who stated that capacity building is a major component of government just as education is a major pillar of his administration said that to create something great, education of the mind is necessary.
Ikpeazu who noted that the State lacks professionals in many fields of medicine maintained that the scholarship scheme is an opportunity to fill the gap of professional inadequacies in the state.
He urged the candidates to pursue their academic programmes in Australia diligently and shunning fraud and other crimes that may drag the name of the State in the mud.
He said he expects that the scholarship recipients would on their return add value to the State and advised local government chairmen in the State to look around in their domain who are brilliant to help them.
In her speech, Ms Martha Hendra, one of the representatives of the Australian universities disclosed that Australia has many opportunities for students as a multicultural nation and thanked the Governor of Abia State for providing wonderful opportunities for Abia youths.
Earlier in his speech, the chairman, Abia State Scholarship Board, Ambassador Empire Kanu who disclosed that the Abia State government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two Australian universities (University of Newcastle and University of New England) for undergraduate and post graduate programmes for a minimum of 100 candidates per year throughout the second tenure of the Governor saluted Dr. Ikpeazu for his giant strides in education.
The Executive Secretary of the Abia State Scholarship Board, Lady Onuoha moved the vote of thanks at the end of the event.
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Deputy Governor Ude Oko Chukwu, Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem and other top officials of the State Government were present at the impressive event.