Posted by Valentine Obienyem | 13 August 2018 | 2,490 times
When we received the news of the giant strides of students of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) Secondary School, Onitsha, Nigeria on their winning the World Technovation Award hosted in New York, USA, we were overcome with joy on this epochal attainment.
Within the framework of this euphoria, I had the dilemma of whom to direct my formal congratulations. On the Protocol List, the first line of communication would be the Governor of Anambra State, who was said to have supported the students’ trip to the US.
However, there were people and institutions who laid the foundation for those young ones to excel. In this light, I heartily congratulate the Proprietor of the School, His Grace, Most Revd. Dr. Valerian Okeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha, and for germane reasons. Among others, he was one of the strongest partners in the momentous decision of the then Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to return the management of erstwhile seized schools to their initial Proprietors. All the way and through the manifestations of the positive outcomes of that strategic initiative, Dr. Valerian Okeke would always remind Nigerians that the Peter Obi administration had set the pace for the grooming of the young thus: ones to become REAL & EFFECTIVE leaders of tomorrow. At every opportunity in his diocese, he would assert thus about Peter Obi: “Ife di ka gi akona anyi [“What is like you should not elude me”. During the Obi tenure in Government House, Bishop Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese was more radical in his expressions about the handover of schools. Though not to be interpreted literally, this clergyman often declared that any Governor coming after Peter Obi that did not follow his footsteps would see him (Ezeokafor) removing his soutane and fighting the person to a stand-still. Some other clergymen like Archbishop Efobi – dismayed by the attitudes of successive administrators – were too short of words to describe the gesture of the then Governor Peter Obi. On his part, Archbishop Efobi encompassed the sentiments of the Church of God with the biblical quote: “When the righteous are on the throne, the people rejoice”.
On balance, it is with a sense of fulfilment that I also congratulate the past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, the architect of positive revolution in all sectors in Anambra State, including education. Reflecting on his tenure, I recall the aftermath of Loretto Special Science School, Adazi-Nnukwu’s award as the Best Improved Secondary School in Nigeria in 2015: The Manager of the school had sent a text message to me requesting I should help him thank the then Governor Peter Obi as the architect of that attainment by his school.
The latest achievement by Regina Pacis, Onitsha – World Technovation Award – was purely computer-based. We thank the former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi for making computers available to schools in Anambra State, providing them with trained computer teachers, Internet Connectivity, power generators, among others. Regina Pacis – like many other schools in the State – received all these, including two buses and many more.
As the Governor of Anambra State and years after vacating Government House, Peter Obi has undertaken what he terms “Schools Apostolate” during which he has undertaken visits to quite a number of schools and contributing in concrete terms to their upliftment. More recently, he funded the relocation of a Health Centre sharing boundaries with Regina Pacis School, Onitsha, and the donation of the land to the school for their expansion. Interestingly, when the new building on the site of the demolished Health Centre was commissioned, the authorities duly invited him to the commissioning; to which excerpts of Peter Obi’s response were: “I am greatly delighted to hear that the ultra-modern Academic/Administrative Complex of the Regina Pacis Model Secondary School and St. Rita Institute of Catering and Management Studies owned by the Archdiocese has been completed.
“As Governor of Anambra State, my administration took the momentous decision to return schools to their original proprietors on the strong conviction that it was in the best interest of the people and society at large. We also provided necessary resources for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of the schools – to enable rounded learning and scholarship.
“Seeing our initiatives yield fruits, it is with a sense of fulfilment that we felicitate with you on the commissioning of the strategic edifice. We also congratulate you and your team on your unalloyed commitment to the actualisation of the project in record time.
“As we look forward to the complex being put to good use, it is our earnest prayer and hope that our successors will sustain our tradition of providing concrete support to strengthen basic education in the overall interest of the development of our society.”
It is refreshing to observe how the actions of far-seeing leaders impact on the society even years after they have left office. As a person in the public trust, how would you want to be remembered? Will it be said of you that out of a thousand promises & pledges you made, you did not deliver on any in concrete terms? No matter how smart or manipulative you think you are today, those things will certainly play out in the future; and with disastrous consequences.
The simple reason for recalling all this is to say congratulations and heap honours where they should be. It is a veritable lesson that what we do today will speak for us tomorrow.
•Obienyem is Special Adviser to Ex-Governor Peter Obi.
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.