Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
Community Model High School, Isieke Ibeku Umuahia was a model school just in name even though it is located in the capital city of Abia state.
Most of the buildings are in state of disrepair while functional science laboratories are absent in this ‘model school’. But the oil giant, Chevron has led the Agbami Parties to change the situation for better by building and donating a modern classroom complex equipped with the needed facilities for effective teaching and learning.
The school can now be rightly referred to as a model secondary school with this real model classroom complex adorning the landscape of the school.
The Agbami field is operated by Star Deepwater Limited, a Chevron company and its parties comprising Famfa Oil Limited, Nigerian national petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Equinor Nigeria Energy Company Limited, and Petroleo Basileiro Nigeria Limited.
It was therefore fitting that both the school and Isieke community rolled out the drums on May 2, 2019 to welcome the oil firms when the model classroom block was inaugurated and handed over to the school.
The Director, Deepwater and Production Sharing Contracts contracts, Mr. Ricks Kennedy said the intervention by the Agbami parties was borne out of their belief the “education is key to unlocking the potentials of the youth and developing their capacity for societal relevance”.
The director, whose address was presented by the manger, policy, government and public affairs, Mr. Michael Kabi, said the company “is committed to promoting quality education in partnership with the government and other stakeholders”.
According to him, “the drive behind our education support is to improve access to education for all Nigerians through the donation of hybrid libraries, science laboratory complexes and scholarships.”
No doubt students and staff of Community Model High Isieke Ibeku Umuahia count themselves as lucky beneficiaries of the Agbami gesture.
The model classroom block was described by Kennedy as “an “integrated learning centre” as the fully equipped and furnished storey building is composed of 12 classrooms, three laboratories, each for physics, chemistry and biology, each with a prep room. The complex also boasts of a computer room with capacity for 48 computers, a fine arts studio, a library, a sick bay, staff rooms, offices and other facilities. “It is one of the programmes in our social investment plan aimed at improving education amongst secondary school students in Nigeria,” the director of Deepwater said.
This sentiment was also shared by the Chairman/Ceo of Famfa Oil Nigeria Limited, Mr. Modupe Alakija, who noted in his address presented by Mr. Obinna Iheonu that “quality education is key for the development of any nation” while a sound education is sine qua non for success in every sphere of life.
“The provision of the model classroom block underscores our resolute commitment to promote quality science education in Nigeria in line with our corporate social responsibility programmes”,he said.
While emphasising the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure adequate provision of educational infrastructure in the country the Famfa boss noted that the company, as a concessionaire to the Agbami field “is proud to be associated with programmes aimed at providing the necessary support for qualitative education in Nigeria”.
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was happy with the Agbami parties for donating the integrated education complex, saying that the oil firms have been very helpful to his administration improving education infrastructure.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu, noted that education remains the foremost industry of Abia and “everything is working well for us” in this regard. “You have really changed the landscape of this school (hence) as a state is very grateful; to Agbami for this project,” he said.
The Abia chief executive assured that government would do everything to ensure proper maintenance of the facilities and also provide qualified staff as well as security to the school.
He urged the host community to take full ownership of the facility, guard it jealously and prevent it from being vandalised by anti-social elements.
The state Commissioner for Education, Professor Ikechi Mgbeoji acknowledged that the school was really in bad shape before the Agbami intervention, saying that the project was unique as it has the compliments of all the facilities needed for quality teaching and learning.
The Chairman of Umuajiji Development Union (UDU), Comrade Ben Nwosu profusely thanked Chevron and its Agbami parties for finding the community worthy to benefit from its intervention projects aimed at providing quality education to Nigerians. “I will say that this is the first time in our history that this kind of project has been constructed in and around our place,” he enthused.
The principal school, Mrs. Christie Kanu said she was happy that her school was chosen for the “gigantic project” and assured that the model classroom complex “shall be put to maximum use”. But she noted that the school still has other needs and urged the Agbami parties to consider them for more projects.
The excitement of the students was conveyed by the school prefect, Solomon Uchechukwu, who in his address, praised chevron for its concern for the future of youths by providing them with state of the art educational facilities.
He said that there was need to put adequate security in place to safeguard the facility, adding that the ministry of education should hasten to fix the electricity line disrupted during the construction of the classroom complex.
The school prefect also called on Chevron to assist the students with scholarships as the rising cost of education was forcing many to drop out of school. “The maxim that children today are leaders of tomorrow cannot be realised without quality education,” the youngster said.