By Godwin Benson
Benjamin David, a 200 Level National Diploma (ND) Electrical Electronics Engineering student at the Heritage Polytechnic, Ikot Udota, Eket Local Government Area, was all smiles Tuesday, June 15, 2021. It was a day a huge burden was taken away from him by a homely, friendly and compassionate company, Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing, (JSM), Onna, Local Government Area. David is among the nine students from Awa, the host community of the company that benefitted from the company’s maiden scholarship award. He said the scholarship has been a great relief.
“I want to thank God first and foremost because He knows everything. I appreciate Jubilee Syringe for finding me worthy of this gesture. The scholarship came at the appropriate time. I wasn’t sure I will meet registration for the semester but when all hopes were gone, JSM miracle entered. I would’ve dropped out of school but for Jubilee Syringe scholarship. It came at the appropriate time.
“I’m very grateful to the company and I will do my best to justify this scholarship and make the company proud. I have surrendered myself to the company for everything; even my industrial attachment, I will do it there. I am looking for every opportunity to tell the company thank you,” he told this writer in a phone conversation.
David is not alone with such feelings. Another beneficiary, Miss Miracle Ufot, a 100- Level Accountancy student of the University of Uyo, (UNIUYO), said she was so excited to be counted among the beneficiaries of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the company, adding that the fund would help her pay her school fees with ease and gives her the opportunity of using stipends from other sources to acquire skills in fashion and web designing.
Another beneficiary, Samuel Okon, a National Diploma I (NDI) Electrical Electronics Engineering student of Akwa Ibom Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua said: “I’m happy and thankful to Jubilee Syringe. This scholarship will motivate me to put in the best in my academic pursuit.
Emmah Ekerete, a 200-level Statistics student of the Akwa Ibom State University, (AKSU), was all praises for the company. She said that the scholarship has come at the right time. “This will bring a big relief to my parents who have been stressing and struggling hard to meet my school fees and that of my siblings. My elder sister is also in school. So, with my fees being taken care of by jubilee Syringe, my parents will then take care of my sister’s,” Ekerete said.
She also commended the company for the “blank cheque” it has given to the scholarship beneficiaries to work in the company after graduation. “I think this is the turning point of it all. I may like to work with them when I’m done with my academics. I had worked there briefly before I had the admission at AKSU. Jubilee Syringe a fine, convenient and fast-growing company to work with,” she further said.
Another beneficiary, Miracle Philip, a 200-level Chemical Engineering student of the University of Uyo, (UNIUYO), from Awa Ndon said she is very excited and grateful to the sponsor, JSM. She said, apart from being an indigene of the host community, her Cumulative Grade Pont Average might have contributed to the scholarship award. Philip is currently a 4.01 point student.
She said the scholarship will bring a big financial relief to her and spur her to read and excel in her academics.
Miss Aniekeme Tommy, of Uyo City Polytechnic, Uyo, an HND 1 Business Administration student also thanked the company for the gesture. She said the scholarship will do a lot to her by removing her financial burden and making her concentrate on her academics.
Tommy lauded the initiative of the company to give the indigenes scholarship and the vision of the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel to attract such a people-friendly company like Jubilee Syringe to the community and promised to study hard to justify the award.
On her part, Ruth Ekefre, a Junior Secondary One student of Noble international School, Eket, said, she was happy and would say a “big thank you to Jubilee Syringe.”Ekefre, who said, she wants to be a Medical Doctor, maintained that the scholarship will spur her to put in her best and come out with a very high grade in her academics.
For Etieyen Inyang, another student of Noble International School, Eket, the company deserves praises for counting him among its scholarship beneficiaries. He prayed God to bless the management and staff, while continuing to imbue them with ideas to expand the company. Inyang, who said he wants to be a lawyer, noted that he would be pleased to work with the company on completion of his academic pursuit.
One of the parents, Mr Ubong Ekefre said Jubilee Syringe has brought light to Awa Iman. “The company has tried in all endeavours. We, parents are very happy and I thank the company and particularly, the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for bringing this kind of company to my village. What I used to hear in other places, Jubilee Syringe is doing it in my village. We are grateful. God bless Jubilee Syringe,” he said.
Another parent, Mr Samuel Inyang, said, he was grateful to JSM for the scholarship to his child, adding that though the scholarship came as a surprise to him, it was a reward from God for his loyalty, support and sacrifices to matters of his community and the company in particular.
Inyang paid glowing tributes to the governor “for bringing this kind company that is always considering our welfare, livelihood and progress to our community.”
Indeed, the day will remain evergreen in the minds of the people of Awa, the host community of JSM, an award-winning, first-class syringe manufacturing company in Africa. It was a day that the company celebrated excellence and gave back to the community as a good neighbour and a compassionate friend. Nine students, six in tertiary institutions and three in secondary schools, all indigenes of the host community were given scholarship worth over N1 million only. While those in the tertiary institutions got N150,000 each, the secondary school students went home with N100,000 each. This scholarship, according to the company will run till they complete their education at the various levels. But why scholarship now? The managing director of the JSM, Mr Akin Oyediran said:” This is our humble way of telling the community thank you for being a good landlord; thank you for giving us the enabling environment to operate; thank you for identifying in what we do and thank you for tolerating our excesses.”
Oyediran, while presenting cheques to the beneficiary students, said that a committee was set up earlier, to select students from Awa, the host community for the scholarship awards.
He stated that the beneficiary students from both the secondary and tertiary levels of the scholarship were selected based on intellectual merits.
Oyediran, said the initiative to float the scheme is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility, (CSR).
Oyediran, who promised to sustain the scholarship scheme pointed that in investment in education of the youths, the company is gradually looking at instilling a sense of ownership of the company by the host communities.
“It’s been a long journey to get here today. As part of our CSR and our commitment to the communities, we in JSM and the MoU committee came up with the idea of having a scholarship award to be done every year.
“This idea to us is an investment because when we team up to give scholarships to people in our neighborhood to go and get all the talents and they come back we are hoping to give them jobs. And if we can give them jobs, it’s actually a sense of ownership because they are from the communities.
“From the economic point of view, it’s better to give somebody job in the community to work for you than pick somebody anywhere in the country or abroad, so this award to me is an investment” he said.
Oyediran stated that in the next five years, the company shall have awarded scholarship to about 50 indigenes of the host community, “and this will help our community and the company a lot… We are here to stay and we’re ready to do anything that will uplift the community socially, economically and health wise.”
The MD told our correspondent that what his company has done for the community so far was nothing but a tip of the iceberg, saying it would be identifying with the people time over time.
“This is not our first CSR activity. We’ve identified with the community in various aspects including employment, social engagements and in the next few weeks, we will float a healthcare programme for the community,” he said.
At the event which attracted traditional rulers, members of the host community and government functionaries, the state commissioner of information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, described the scholarship initiative as the best form of security.
He said integrating and partnering with the host community was the easiest and cheapest form of securing an investment than spending money on security operatives.
Ememobong said: “JSM has shown itself to be a good corporate entity by integrating the host communities into it operations. The beautiful part of it is that the company is investing in education. If you look at the people, when they graduate they will join the company and this is the easiest security.
“It’s better than paying police and the army to secure the place. As owners of the company, immediately they own the company can be assured that it security is guaranteed. The fastest way to train somebody is to train the mind, when his mind is trained you’re sure of security. An educated person is a predictable person; you can predict his responses at any given time.”
The commissioner further stated that extreme capitalism was ruining the world adding that what JSM was doing was humane capitalism and wished that the initiative be sustained.
The state commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Frank Archibong, who was also at the event, said he was glad to witness the ceremony and commended JSM for being people-friendly and embarking on corporate social projects and programmes that would cushion the effect of the biting economic realities on the people.
Archibong remarked that JSM impact in Akwa Ibom and even Nigeria has been gargantuan, saying syringes from the company have taken over all medical and pharmaceutical establishments in the state, country and other countries of Africa.
He stated that the company has lived up to the expectations of the people and government of Akwa Ibom in all ramifications, lauding the state governor, Emmanuel, for making real the industrialization aspirations of Akwa Ibom people.
The commissioner advised the scholarship beneficiaries to see the gesture as a challenge for them to put in their best and excel in their respective academic aspiration, adding that, “nobody or company will be happy to sponsor a student that is academically backward.”