Reward for Excellence

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State awards overseas scholarship to 36 first class students of the state. One of them is the baby he helped to deliver 22 years ago

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

IF YOU were seated in a hall where the citation of Omavuaye Mudiaga-Erhueh was being read, you are more likely to be on your feet and clapping your hands in appreciation of her impeccable achievements before the speaker rounds-off. If you were too sophisticated to stand, you would definitely crave an opportunity to shake her hands and congratulate her before leaving the hall.

At 22, she has achieved what many of her peers can only imagine and ranks amongst Nigeria’s brightest scholars in the United Kingdom, UK,  today. An indigene of Delta State, Mavi as she is fondly called by her friends and relatives, was one of the 36 first class students who benefitted from the Delta State Overseas Scholarship Scheme recently. The scheme is one of the initiatives of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, geared towards developing human capital that will aid the realisation of the ‘Delta Beyond Oil’ agenda. Mudiaga-Erhueh is currently studying for a master’s degree in Law at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK.

Before winning the Delta State Scholarship, Mudiaga-Erhueh had won several awards within and outside the country. At the Igbinedion Education Centre in Edo State, where she had her secondary education, she won accolades as the best student in Mathematics, Government, Literature in English and Christian Religious Studies. When she proceeded to Aspect College in Bournemouth, England, for her post-secondary/pre-university studies, she graduated with distinctions (A) in the eight subjects she offered.

Mudiaga-Erhueh and her mother
Mudiaga-Erhueh and her mother

Like the proverbial gold fish that has no hiding place, the award streak continued when she turned 17 and proceeded to study Law at the University of Buckingham, England. Although her age and appearance at that time bellied her intellectual prowess, Mudiaga-Erhueh announced herself to the world in 2010, when she graduated with a First Class (Honours) in Law at the age of 20. She also bagged six academic awards and was recognised as a member of the student union executive committee and the Nigerian student society in Buckingham.

Later that year, Mudiaga-Erhueh returned to Nigeria to attend the Nigerian Law School and undergo the mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programme. She was called to bar at the Abuja Law School in 2011 and completed her NYSC programme in October 2012. Call it destiny or a twist of fate, but it comes as a surprise to many to find out that it was Uduaghan himself who helped to deliver Mudiaga-Erhueh when she was born 22 years ago at the Camp Clinic Orhuwhorun, Warri in Delta State.

The governor, who was still in active practice as a medical doctor at that time, had no inkling that he would someday be in a position to award the young Mudiaga-Erhueh an overseas’ scholarship. Like doctors are wont to do, taking delivery of a newborn was just another part of his routine at that time.

Upon seeing her among the beneficiaries at the presentation ceremony in Asaba, Uduaghan could not contain his delight. Like the other guests at the event, he was awed by her sterling achievements and was full of praises for her.  The governor said: “This life is such a beautiful coincidence; I am proud to be associated with you. With scholars like you, the future of Delta State and Nigeria is bright. We have taken this bold step of training our best brains because of our belief that education is one of the critical areas that will improve both the state’s economy and overall development of the country. I also believe that with a pool of great minds like you, we will achieve our goal of Delta without oil.”

While her achievements may come as a surprise to some, it is not the same for Mudiaga-Erhueh. Her success, she says, is a product of hard work and a determination to excel in everything she does. “I am not in any way surprised or intimidated by these achievements because it is what I have always wanted out of life. I make conscious efforts to excel in everything I do.  Like every other human being, I have my own challenges but I put in my best all the time and that is why I am where I am today,” Mudiaga-Erhueh said.

Just like other beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme, Mavi commended Uduaghan for the initiative. She described it as a commensurate reward for diligent students. “This scholarship is a wonderful initiative and the governor must be commended for it. It is a good way to reward students who put in a lot to succeed and also develop human capital for the country. With this kind of scheme in place, students from Delta State will be willing to go the extra-mile in their academic pursuits because they know they have something to look forward to when they do well,” she said.

At a time when many young people see studying abroad as an escape route from Nigeria, Mavi is eager to return and play her role in the development of the country after her studies. “I love Nigeria very much. When I complete this Master’s programme, I will return and work for a while before proceeding for a PhD. Ultimately, I would love a career on the Bench or in the academia,” she said.

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