By Samuel Sodunke
Emmanuel Oke, a 400-level student of Theatre and Media Arts, and Damilare Tijani a student of Physics from the Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE) have received the Royal African Awards for Academic Excellence from Oba Adeyeye Ogunwuusi, the Ooni of Ife.
Oke and Tijani were among the other 15 outstanding Nigerian undergraduates who were awarded during the third edition of the ceremony which was held at the Oduduwa Hall, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) on May 21.
The Royal African Award for Academic Excellence is an initiative of the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Dr. Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, OJAJA II, through his Royal African Young Innovators (RAYI) in collaboration with the Institute of Education, University of Ibadan.
The RAYI was founded by Ooni of Ife in 2020, in fulfillment of his promise to the University of Ibadan in 2017. The sole aim of the RAYI is to “create a community of young enterprising innovators who are equipped to shape and reconstruct the very next industrialization of Africa”.
A total number of 100 exceptional young individuals were awarded across five RAYLF pillars: governance and leadership, technology and innovation; entrepreneurship and empowerment; creative culture, and academic excellence.
In an interview with UCJ FUOYE, Emmanuel Oke and Damilare Tijani explained the benefits and how they were selected for the Royal African Award, which was presented to them alongside other undergraduates.
Speaking with an elated Oke, he said, “My H.O.D, Dr. Igboama informed me a day before the first exam (trial exam). I had to undergo an online test that went on for an hour before the real exam. The real exam was strictly conducted and monitored on Zoom. The result came out and I was unexpectedly part of the selected awardees among the twenty-six schools that were invited,”
“The Royal African Award guarantees a lifetime relationship with the King, Ooni of Ife,” Oke added.
Tijani, meanwhile, said, “It’s like a pass and induction into the hall of fame of the Ife palace, such that we get to have the opportunity to tender plans to the Forum for sponsorships.”
“I’ve always tried to take up the task of tutoring both my mates and junior ones so this award serves as a reward for all that and also a token to continue the good work,” Tijani concluded.