One of the biggest challenges facing Nigerian educators is a lack of infrastructure. While many committed teachers and administrators seek to improve opportunities for students across Nigeria, the state of the schools themselves is hugely problematic, especially relative to information technology (IT) facilities like computer labs. Oando Foundation, one of the many organizations trying to change the status quo in Nigeria, has decided to improve access to the Internet through school-specific sponsorships.
The Oando Foundation Education Programme, through its Adopt-A-School Initiative (AASI), has already brought its transformative programs to nearly 50 schools across the nation, with plans to reach 100 schools before the end of 2015. While other philanthropic organizations, such as the Michael and Cecilia Foundation, have contributed IT equipment to schools as part of their broader mission, Oando Foundation has been singularly focused on seeking to address core deficiencies in school infrastructure across the entire nation. Meanwhile, its sister program, the Adopt-A-School “Oando Scholars” initiative, has enabled hundreds of students at adopted primary schools to matriculate at senior secondary school; the Foundation hopes to award more than 2,500 scholarships before the end of 2015.
Throughout their careers, Olorogun Michael and Cecilia Ibru have been dedicated philanthropists, focusing on a wide range of initiatives across Nigeria. However, through the continued development of the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University (MCIU) project, both will be dedicating themselves to their true passion: education. Olorogun Michael Ibru has already proved himself a friend to aspiring students in Nigeria, founding what is now known as Ibru College, serving on the Provisional Council of the University of Benin, and contributing to many other schools and education-focused organizations. While Dr. Ibru joined her husband in much of this philanthropic work, she also hopes to carry on the legacy of her family, who were instrumental in bringing opportunities for education to their homeland.
Cecilia Ibru’s family has been deeply involved in education in Nigeria. Her grandfather, Chief Ogegede Ogekpo, was known for saying “akpo rutcha na, akpo re pene,” or “the future is the world of the pen,” and provided the land for the first primary and modern schools in Aladja. In addition, Chief Edward Sido, Dr. Ibru’s father, established the region’s first free private primary school as well as the Sido College of Commerce (since renamed United College of Commerce) in the early 1960s. Today, joined by Olorogun Michael Ibru, Dr. Ibru hopes to create, in MCIU, an institution of higher learning every bit as transformative as the schools founded by her father and grandfather.