Young Bayelsans who were selected in 2016 for scoring highest in a scholarship exam into junior secondary school held in Twon-Brass Kingdom have emerged best graduating students of their set after six years.
The students, Ifiemi Ayebanengimote Bonnie; Ogbulu Wanaemi Fiberesima; Seigha Abraham Ingonabo; Augustine Preye Paige, Ababo Naomi Ota and Azazi Peter Kingsley, who were admitted in into JSS 1 in Titare Star Royal Academy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, also dominated the 2022 West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) with Distinctions.
The scholarship exam was organized in 2016 by the Queen of Twon-Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiatives, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP, for primary school children who were drawn from each house and are desirous for academic excellence but were hindered in one way or the other to participate irrespective of their status.
This was part of the successes recorded over the years by her foundation’s consistent and tireless drive to tackle the issues of poverty, cultism and gender based violence by educating and empowering the boy/girl child through enhanced opportunities for developing talented students.
Addressing the young stars during their graduation ceremony, Queen Josephine enjoined the students to be good ambassadors in their various endeavour, while expressing optimism that their achievements will spur them to greater heights that will enable them to contribute to the growth and success of Twon Brass Kingdom.
She said, “This year is unique to us and my kingdom as among the graduands here today are five children of Twon Brass Kingdom, from each house, taken six years ago, and trained with full educational scholarship, inclusive of free transport, boarding, and medicals by my humble self, their Queen.
“I am glad to state that I fulfilled that promise, as they came here as teens and are leaving here as grown teenagers more enlightened, brave, courageous, and confident of themselves. I will miss you all and hope your achievements here will spur you to great heights that will enable you to contribute to the growth and success of Twon Brass Kingdom.
Speaking in an interview, the overall best student, Ifiemi Ayebanengimote Bonnie, now 17years old, said the opportunity was indeed a gift from God because it was through her sister who could not pass the exam that she got to know about the scholarship program.
Recounting her experience, Ifiemi said, “I was sleeping in the house that morning when my sister came back and asked my father to buy her math set. My father asked her what she wanted to use it for and she said there was a scholarship exam going on and she wanted to go and write the exam. My father then told her to wake me up to go with her including my brother.
“We went and bought the math set. So that was how I wrote the examination. The result came out the next day, I qualified but my sister and my brother didn’t qualify. We were about five candidates that qualified in the whole of Brass kingdom.
“Am happy and they were not angry that I was selected out of three of us. My experience has been good. Things have been going on well for me. I have been studying well and I was lacking nothing because Her Majesty has been providing virtually everything that I needed.”
Ifiemi who is passionate about studying Mass Communication in the university also disclosed that she was able to come top among the rest of the students because she laid down some goals and prayed to God to help her achieve them.
“I was working hard, I always be in the line and I always attend classes, do my homework; that’s how I was able to do that. I to want advice other Bayelsa students to keep pushing, they should be focused, they should keep striving and they should pray to God for them to locate their destiny helper”, elated Ifiemi stated.
Also, Azazi Peter Kingsley from Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa State who was discovered in 2016 for his unique talent in constructing buildings with local materials like cardboard paper, gum and paint, said he never dreamed of gaining scholarship in his life until destiny brought him to Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff.
He said, “On a faithful day that was on a Saturday, I never knew I will get a scholarship that day. I made a project for a man who told me to bring it to a hotel. I took it there not knowing that Her Majesty was hosting an enlightenment program in the same hotel. When I got there, the hotel was full with crowd, so I stood at the gate.
“Some journalists met me because I constructed a bungalow building and they saw it and they said I have a talent. They took me to Her Majesty. She asked me some questions and finally she gave me the scholarship to her school. I am very grateful for what she has done for me. The school has imparted so much in me. I have gained more experience in my building construction and they have uprightly brought me up. My moral life has changed since then.”
For Ogbulu Wanaemi Fiberesima who has wanted to leave the shores of Twon-Brass to a more promising environment where he will compete with bigger brains, the opportunity was indeed an answer to his prayers.
According to him, it was a family friend who rushed down to his house on the examination day while he was doing normal house chores to inform him about the scholarship exam, adding that he never knew or heard about it but was prepared and confident he will make it if he is given the opportunity.
“When the opportunity came, I was more ready because I was preparing for another school entrance exam to write. I put all mind into it, I kept every other thing aside; I was persistent concerning the whole exam. I was very happy when I was told I passed the exam because when I saw the number of students from the community that turned up for the exam, it gave me a little problem because I wasn’t expecting such number of persons since I wasn’t aware.
“So, when they told me about the result, I was very happy at least out of all the kids in the community, I was chosen. It was more of an opportunity and a privilege. Before I came to the school, I wasn’t more of a bold child, I wasn’t that outspoken though I was good, brilliant and smart but I wasn’t that social type.
“But when I came, I realised it was a different environment where they gave me this opportunity to be very sound and speak among crowd and there will be no atom of fear in me. They gave me this inner confidence that I can do whatever I want to do; it’s just within your mind. Today at least I am where I am, I can speak wherever I am asked to speak because it has given me that boldness. It just increased my personality and I am very grateful to God and very grateful to Her Majesty for have given me this opportunity.”
Mrs Ogbulu Favour Fiberesima, the mother of Wanaemi, while expressing appreciation to God and the Queen on behalf of the parents said the whole process was a big relief for her and other parents, adding that “for good 6 years, Her Majesty came to Brass and took these children under scholarship, we did not spend a dime.
She said, “From their uniform down to text, exercise book to their feeding, accommodation, medicals and to the surprising aspect is that at the end of every term, she will still give them transport fee to go back to their destination for these six good years. This woman has not complained for anything. And not that these children are not misbehaving in one way or the other but she accommodated them and did everything to see that those children graduate as great minds and be useful to their families and the community.
“In fact, we don’t have silver and gold to appreciate her neither can we even pay back for what she did but one thing I know is that God Almighty will fill her pocket wherever place she must have taken these money to take care of these children. God in his infinite mercy will take care of her and her children in time when she too doesn’t expect because we didn’t expect it; we never bargained for it until we came that very day. We went there, took the exam and she never discriminated against the poor from the rich. They all wrote the exam, she just picked them from each of the various Ama/compound without knowing any of the children. And behold here they are; they have finished their secondary school, and made us proud”