… As Methodist college Uzuakoli marks 100 anniversary
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has called on all stakeholders to support his administration’s bid to restore education in the state to its former glory.
Otti made the call at a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, organised by the Uzuakoli Methodist College Old Boys Association (UMCOBA), as part of the activities marking the centenary anniversary of the College and 100 years of secondary school education in the South-East of Nigeria.
“The task of restoring the glory of education in the State is quite demanding and the state does not have sufficient resources to accomplish all that we have set out to achieve. This is where everyone of us including captains of industries and philanthropists must all step in to assist in the comprehensive resuscitation project in educational sector,” the governor stated.
He said that education was not only critical but central to development, adding that it was for that reason that his government committed itself to returning education to the front burner of governance in the state.
According to him, his administration had already sunk billions of Naira to the rehabilitation of public schools in the state, disclosing that about 17 primary schools and 17 secondary schools in the state are currently undergoing rehabilitations, under the first phase of the programme.
He assured that the rehabilitation of schools would expand to all public schools in the state together with upgrading of the school curriculum.
Otti said he was prepared to engage the administrators of Uzuakoli Methodist College to identify areas of collaboration in rebuilding and restoring the institution.
He commended the evangelism approach of the Methodist Church Nigeria, which involves social investments including the schools, hospitals, centre for cure for leprosy and rehabilitation of mentally ill individuals, among others, and stressed the need for other churches to emulate it.
The Governor expressed appreciation for the hospitality of the host community, Uzuakoli, and efforts of the old boys, which he said contributed to the success recorded in the last 100 years by the school.
“I want to specially thank the old boys association of UZUMECO, ably led by Mazi Ugochukwu Okoroafor, and all others before him, for all they have done to keep the spirit and values of this institution alive, especially in the years when the government shamefully turned its back on the educational sector.
“The historic land of Uzuakoli also deserves our deepest gratitude on a day like this for its traditional hospitality,” Governor Otti declared.
Earlier in his address, the National President of UMCOBA, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Monitoring and Evaluation, Mazi Ugochukwu Okoroafor, said that the college had provided a formidable pool of human resources whose contributions have been legendary.
Okoroafor, a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director, thanked Governor Otti for appointing over seven of their members in various positions of trust in his government.
Mazi Okoroafor said that the Methodist College Old Boys were now in the process of rebuilding the college and appealed to the Governor to assist them in achieving their dream.
The Prelate Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Ali Aba, represented by the Secretary of Conference, Rt. Rev. Dr. Babatunde Taiwo, commended the Governor for the ongoing rehabilitation of many roads in Umuahia, the state capital, and encouraged him to consider fixing the internal roads in the college, in commemoration of the 100 years anniversary of the college.
The event which attracted many dignitaries including the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Priscilla Otti; a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, The Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko; among others.
Old boys from all walks of life, featured in the unveiling of the college’s master plan, planting of the centenary tree and commissioning of a renovated hall by the Governor.
There was music display by an old Boy and popular gospel artiste, BUCHI, as well as award presentation to two nonagenarian old boys, while a minute silence was observed in honour of the old boys who had passed on.