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A philanthropist, Prince Ike Chioke, has rebuilt and handed over 85-year-old Central (Primary) School Obioma in Obioma community in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Handing over the well-furnished and state-of-the-art equipped school to the community on Wednesday, Chioke said that the total rebuilding was the first renovation the primary school got after being established in 1937 by the missionaries.
He said that the new building and its modern learning gadgets such as modern physical and electronic library, computer laboratory, inverters, power generating sets and state-of-the-art instructional materials and tables, chairs and desk cost about N100 million.
The philanthropist said that he was moved to embark on the project and call friends as well as other well-meaning individuals in the community to support due to the total dilapidated state he met at the school about a year ago.
According to him, I wonder what type of learning such a dilapidated school can offer to children expected to compete with other children in a globalised world of learning today.
Chioke, who is the Managing Director of Afri-Invest West Africa, also noted that bad leadership and the poor quality of education in the community compelled him to initiate the project.
He said: “I run a scholarship programme in the community but having observed the poor learning environment these pupils study, I was compelled to do something very urgent to totally uplift the quality of pupils here to world standard.
“I would have used the money to throw a party or asphalt the road to my house, or even buy a luxury car but I said no, these children are learning in a very poor environment. That was what motivated me.
“This simple act of building a primary school to be fit for purpose is part of our collective journey to rebuild our nation”.
The philanthropist said that the community had set-up a 17-man Board of Trustees for the school with over five committees to oversee security, environmental cleanliness, educational standard and curriculum attainment and other aspects of the school.
Responding, President-General of Obioma Community, Dr Emmanuel Jideofor, assured the philanthropist and state government that the school would be under 24 hours watch to avoid vandals as well as ensure judicious use of its facilities.
“This is first of its kind in our community, a non-governmental, non-politically motivated project being cited and fully executed by a single individual, while commissioned within a very specific period.
“We are glad that pupils, our children, are not stranded and relocating to a distant location because of non-availability of funds to complete the project. We say thank you,” Jideofor said.
In a goodwill message, Chief Ikeje Asogwa, ex-Chairman of Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), commended Chioke for rebuilding the school and installing modern learning gadgets into a school in a community.
Asogwa, represented by a Director in ENSUBEB, Mr Emeka Aniagu, urged the town union president and other members of the community to do everything in their powers to protect the computers and other equipment that had been installed in the school.
Mr Nonso Okolo, Councillor representing Obioma community in Udi Local Government Council, thanked Chioke for his large heart and compassion on the pupils and helping the community to lift a heavy burden.
The school’s head-teacher, Mrs Regina Aneke, said that for a long time she went cap in hand begging people to help in the renovation of the school which before now, was in a very bad state “but today it is a total reality”.