…Principal says she’s optimistic Gov Obi will come to its rescue as he promised
From DOM. EKPUNOBI, ONITSHA
It is actually very difficult to believe that an academic activity is going on in this environment, under this dilapidated and collapsed building.
At first, you may be tempted to believe that the place is an abandoned enclave. There is really nothing to demonstrate that an environment with this horrific picture is a school. Yet, Education Review can authoritatively confirm that this is the location of Community Secondary School Umuoji, Idemili North LGA, Anambra State.
Indeed, the school that was once the pride of its host community is today a ghost of its self. In view of the foregoing, the school authorites in conjunction with the traditional ruler of the community, HRH Igwe Cyril Enweze, has sent a Save-Our-Souls (SOS) message to Governor Peter Obi to come to their rescue. Built largely by communal effort, the school started as an all boys secondary school to match the other secondary school which was an all girls’ college.
When it took off, it had virtually all the facilities that could attract the attention of any prospective parent or guardian to seek admission for his child or ward. They include facilities such as dormitories, refectory, laboratories, library, multi- purpose hall. Sadly, due to neglect and decay, Community Secondary School Umuoji, is now a mixed school of boys and girls.
This was done to attract more students to the school as it might have gone into extinct if it had continued as an all boys’ college. Unfortunately, it is no longer a boarding school as its students had long taken their leave; the laboratories are no longer functional just as reptiles and other dangerous animals have taken over other landmark facilities like the library and the refectory respectively. The roofs of some of the buildings that are yet to collapse completely are leaking profusely. Besides dilapidation and decay, the school has been grappling with so many security challenges in recent times.
The reason for this is not far-fetched. Following the derelict nature of the premises, the school is now home to all manner of street urchins, touts and social miscreants within the host community. This group hibernates in the school at night even as few of them, sometimes, do not find their way out in the morning, thereby constituting security risk.
As there are fewer students in the school now, there are low profile activities, thus, most of the buildings currently affceted by the wind, drenched by the rain and scorched by the sun, have completely collapsed, leading to lack of adequate classroom blocks even as the space available for other academic activities has continued to shrink. However, the physical ugly nature of the school is yet to blur its brilliant performance in academics and social events.
This is an indication that the school would have been doing wonders, and probably its students winning awards in the yearly national JAMB promotions as sponsored by Cowbell Milk. It is on record that the school came first at the recent Ogidi zone secondary schools female football competition conducted in the area and created sensation when it emerged second at the state level. This is an indication that the school is really a pacesetter in all matters concerning academics.
Education Review visited the school to confirm if the state government is aware of its present predicament and to ascertain if it has been receiving all the essential academic amenities the Ministry of Education has been distributing to public schools in the area, but the school’s authority revealed that it has not benefitted from the computerization scheme of Gov Obi which made it compulsory for all public schools in the state to be computerized to enable the students be computer-literate.
It was also discovered that the school is yet to be given a bus as it’s now common with public secondary schools in Anambra State. The Principal, Mrs. Josephine Nneka Obi, said, however, that all hopes were not lost. According to her, some prominent people including the traditional ruler of Umuoji, Igwe Enweze, had appealed to the state government concerning the ugly state of the school.
She added that Awka has promised to respond positively to the plight of the school and urged the Anambra State government to follow up on its pledge by returning the school to its former glory. She also commended the Lagos branch of Umuoji Improvement Union (UIU), for coming to the rescue of the school by sponsoring some renovation works in the place.
Convinced that the school would do better academically if well-reconstructed and repositioned, the principal said: “When I came in about four years ago as a Vice Principal, the entire student population was less than 100, but I am stating with a measure of delight, that the school currently has a population of about 800 students.
This is an indication that we have the capacity to bring back the students and put the school on national map if we can get a minimal attention from the government”.She recalled that the combined efforts of an Umuoji lady, Chief (Dr) Adeze Muoghalu and members of Umuoji Improvement Union in North America, through their various donations to the school, on various occasions, in the recent past, is the magic touch that has kept the school moving on.