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Friend indeed

Posted by By Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka on 2008/07/04 | Views: 2543 |

Friend indeed

"I was a pupil in this Central School, Amawbia and was in class 5B. Today, the school is no longer what it used to be and a lot of dilapidations have taken place in the school. So, I felt that as an old pupil of the school, it is imperative that I also contribute to the growth of education in my community."

•Woman builds 6 classroom blocks for alma mater

"I was a pupil in this Central School, Amawbia and was in class 5B. Today, the school is no longer what it used to be and a lot of dilapidations have taken place in the school. So, I felt that as an old pupil of the school, it is imperative that I also contribute to the growth of education in my community."

This was what moved Mrs. Oby Ikeh-Unekwe into beginning a process of re-building the Central School in her native Amawbia community in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Today, Mrs Ikeh-Unekwe has completed a six-classroom block that is well furnished with education facilities in the school.
The facilities in the new building which was commissioned recently include a functional borehole; six toilets, three for the female pupils and three for the male pupils; a computer room with a set of computers fitted with an air conditioner; 12 desks that would comfortably seat three pupils; ceiling fans and a generating set to power the facilities.

Looking at the facilities in the six-classroom block at the Central School, Amawbia, which is one of the oldest schools in the area, one of the prominent sons of the community, Ide Ifeanyi Nwokoye, was moved in anger, making him to berate the government for not doing enough for their children.

"When you compare what our daughter and sister had done with the things the government has done, you begin to wonder if an individual is richer and better focused than the government. Look at the toilet facilities in the school and then take a look at what the government claimed that the European Union (EU) did, you will discover that we are just fooling ourselves. All the same, our sister and daughter had done us proud," Nwokoye said.

Mrs. Ikeh-Unekwe who said she built the school in memory of her late father, Mr Kenneth Nwokolo of Umueze village, Amawbia, an engineer who had also made some impact in the community with his philanthropic works told Daily Sun that her joy knew no bound with the completion of the N15 million project.

"Today, I feel fulfilled and it is my wish and desire that well to do members of the society should also contribute. And it is my opinion that if such a thing is done in every community, we shall see a great change and improvement in our infrastructure. Government cannot do it alone and the collective efforts of all stakeholders in the society would go a long way in the society in bettering the lives of the rural dwellers," she said.

Commissioning the project, the Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Dr (Mrs) Kay Onyechi praised the efforts of the donor in partnering with government, noting that the government, individuals and communities have roles to play in development.
The commissioner stated that the state government was committed to developing all sectors of the state through the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS).
Speaking, the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Michael Okoye, the Okparigwe I of Amawbia, said that the gesture by their daughter was a blessing to the land just as he lamented over the government neglect.

His words: "We have long expected this kind of thing in our community. Most basic amenities in Amawbia have become shadows of themselves and we had always wondered if we are not part of government and Anambra State. We had complained about the sorry state of our schools, both the boys’ and the girls’ secondary schools. We have also complained about our primary schools. Successive governments in Anambra merely paid little or no attention to it.

Even presently, not much has been done four us though the state government has promised to give us all the goodies of governance. But today, one of our daughters took the bull by the horn and that is what we are celebrating." Talking about the neglect of Amawbia, the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Aba Nwora described Mrs Ikeh-Unekwe gesture as a challenge to the male folks in Amawbia, regretting that there was no government presence in the community.

He noted that whatever that has been done in the area was done by the people themselves.
Nworah observed that the school which could be passed for a shop before the intervention of Mrs Ikeh-Unekwe had produced most of the professionals and academics in the last 50 years in the area.
Also, the Chairman Parents Teachers Association of the school, Mr. JRL. Offodile thanked the donor.
"We, the PTA chairman, executive, and parents; the staff and pupils of the Central School, Amawbia, say a big thank you to the late Engr Kenneth Nwokolo family who built the beautiful classroom block donated to the school.

"We also seize this opportunity to call on other old pupils and friends of this school to emulate the good gesture of the Nwokolo family in supporting the school and also help in whatever areas they could aid the school since we cannot leave everything about our children’s education to the government.
"We appeal also to the authorities, the Education Commission, the Nigeria Police, and the town union to help us in providing the necessary security for the properties in this school in order that they are not vandalized. We also ask for traffic wardens to be posted to the school gate to help control reckless drivers".

Narrating how Mrs Ikeh-Unekwe came to their rescue, the Headmistress of the school Mrs. JU Anekwe said: "It was at the tail end of January 2008, a woman came into my office and demanded my name and phone number. I asked her if I was safe?" and she said that "You are quite safe".
She, therefore, gave her all she requested, adding that after some days, "I had a call, telling me that she was the person who demanded my phone number and name and that my school was her alma-mater. She told me that she came home for Christmas, went round and found out that her alma-mater had not change ever since she left it. She said she is going to create a change during my regime. I shouted ‘Alleluia’! Praise the Lord!"

"As from that time, there was exchange of information between us through the phone. Then, she sent me a master-plan, requesting for a site where it will be erected. I had to call a meeting of my PTA executives, and showed them the plan. They mapped out a site, which I quickly communicated to her immediately. She told me that the contractor and Ghanaian workers were coming from Lagos to start work on the site on the 18th of February, 2008, and they did so.
"As from that time, the work at the site was going on progressively and smoothly without any hindrance. Then, she instructed me that if any one should ask who is doing the job that I should say it is a ‘friend from above’ and I maintained that.

"By the early part of April, 2008, she called, telling me her plans and date of commissioning as fixed with the governor on the 6th of June, 2008. She added that the invitation cards and programmes are all printed and ready. Again, I said ‘To God be the glory.’
"Ada Engineer Kenneth Udemezue Nwokolo has complied with His Excellency Peter Obi’s call for development and improvement in the education of our children, the future hope of Anambra State. So, today, we are all witnessing the commissioning of our ultra-modern Central School Amawbia," the headmistress said while praying for God to replenish the pocket of ‘A Friend from Above’, Mrs Ikeh-Unekwe.

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