By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu


•Prof. Ngozi and students


The student was different.

The student was different.

She exuded confidence that seized the atmosphere like a charge of electricity.

It was the morning assembly of the all-female Mater Amabilis Secondary School, Umuoji, in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The esteemed secondary school had in its 62 years of prolific existence produced uncountable notables, but there was a presence today that commanded uncommon attention.

•Prof. Ngozi


She was spick and span in the light-green skirt and white blouse uniform of the school, complete with light-green braces and cap, white socks, and black-on-white-sole sneakers.

Let’s just say that she stood tall as a splendid advertisement of the school that had over the years earned deserving plaudits for women education.

The school has produced talented students who represented and won laurels for Anambra State and Nigeria in multiform national and international contests, a recent winner being Miss Obioma Okafor who was in Team Anambra that won the first prize in the 2023 Malaysian International Debate Championship in Malaysia.   

The august presence was a classic case of an accomplished alumna coming back to the alma mater in a new day school uniform on a warm Thursday morning.

Here’s raising a toast to Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, Anambra State Commissioner for Education, who came back to base in an uncommon display of identification with the old school.

It was akin to a throwback to when Ngozi was Ngozi, a zestful young student determined to conquer the world through education.

There is no running away from the fact that the name Ngozi makes things happen, as per: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and now this: Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh!

Ngozi on the block of Mater Amabilis, Umuoji, displayed her oratorical powers at the assembly ground by telling the students that it’s such a privilege being a student of the lionized school.

For her, there is no limit to the educational excellence that the diligent students can attain in due course.

She stressed that all it takes is total dedication to the ideals which the school serves through her vision and mission and curriculum.

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The camaraderie was holistic as the School Principal Mrs. Lucy Ibekwe, the School Manager Rev. Fr. Francis Onwuchulum, and the Senior Prefect Miss Jessica Ogbogu hailed the commissioner for always standing by the school.

It is because of her unwavering attention to duty that it stands to reason that the erudite Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, entrusted the pivotal Ministry of Education to Prof Ngozi Chuma-Udeh.

Ngozi has, following Governor Soludo’s lead, given a new lease of life to education in Anambra State.

Anambra State is tops above all other states of the federation with the score of 139 in the cut-off marks for admission to Unity Schools in Nigeria. 

The top scorer in JAMB comes from Anambra State, and when some controversies arose over a previous top scorer Commissioner Ngozi was on hand to address the matter with consummate aplomb.

When Governor Soludo set the pace of employing teachers on merit, Ngozi led the charge by undertaking the entire recruitment process through a transparent and competitive process. 

It needs to be recalled that following the dearth of teachers in schools as inherited by the administration on assumption of office, Governor Soludo took the immediate decision of the approval for the recruitment of 5,000 teachers.

The process was rigorous with her Ministry of Education not allowing anybody to cut corners in any way.

The recruitment of additional 3,000 teachers is also in process under the dutiful charge of the indefatigable Ngozi. 

The Soludo administration has offered free education from early childhood care to junior secondary school (JS III), and Ngozi is delivering from the frontline. 

There has also been the elimination of concealed fees and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) levies for truly affordable education for all.

The fee for senior secondary education has been significantly reduced to N5,000, thus ensuring widespread accessibility to learning.

The state-wide renovation of schools is all-embracing coupled with the introduction of Community Partnership Model in education which got into gear through a Public-Private-Community Partnership (PPCP) model.

This fosters community ownership of public schools through a club of patrons in each community.

Over 30 philanthropists have expressed interest in the project by actively contributing to school construction and improvement.

The national and international recognition bestowed on brilliant Anambra State students has been outstanding.

Anambra students achieved four top awards at the National President’s Inter-Senior Secondary Schools Debate Championship and emerged victorious at the International Malaysia–Nigeria Debate Championship.

Anambra teachers earned five top awards at the October 5, 2022 President’s Teachers Award in Abuja.

Now Governor Soludo has facilitated the distribution of 2,000 laptops across the schools of Anambra State and their drivers. 

With the ever rendering Ngozi on the saddle of education, Governor Soludo has hit the bull’s eye with expert precision. 

Let truth be told: Ngozi the Commissioner spells education!