By November 30, a few weeks from today, all the Old Boys and Girls of Orogun Grammar School, Orogun, in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State, shall gather at the college ground of their Alma Mater for a reunion and more importantly to witness the commissioning of several projects the Old Boys have executed in a bid to resuscitate
the dilapidating structures of the great college built by a great visioner and educational icon, Late Chief Demas Akpore, former Deputy Governor of defunct Bendel State.
The Old Students had tasked themselves to raise some funds, just as some well-endowed Old Boys had single-handedly sponsored the reconstruction and renovation of some old structures in the 53-year old college.
At the re-union which will be graced by top dignatories and influential persons like the state governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Obarisi of Urhobo Kingdom, amongst others, some of the projects undertaken by the Old Students will be commissioned.
Indeed there have been the reconstruction/renovation of some blocks of class rooms, the Principal’s residence, Corpers’ Lodge etc.
Few years back, some graduating sets of the old students had undertaken the installation of functional boreholes in the school with reticulation facilities to provide potable water to the school community. Similarly, the college had been connected to the national electricity grid such that the school stopped depending on only generating plants for electricity supply. In fact, the old students had also bought and installed a big generating plant for the steady electricity supply to the college.
Beside the appreciative act of gathering to celebrate our common mentor, leader and founder of the college, Chief Demas Onoriobolakpovwa Akpore, the old students will be seeking to further intervene in the rejuvenation of the college in such a way that it
will yet rank high and regain its pride of place in the state. Primed high in academics and sports, those days, it is a sad tale now to hear, for instance that the school which produced the likes of top fly oil and gas guru like Austin Avuru, retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Marvel Akpoyibo, financial guru and technocrat and former Commissioner for Finance, defunct Bendel State, Olorogun Lucky Oghene-Omoro, Army General and Optician, retired General Tony Okpobrisi, Financial and Management expert, Emmanuel Konyebagu, top-flight lawyers like Felix Akpobaro, Benson Ndakara, Godwin Ekokota, Christian Omoru, Meshack Anuku Engineers Godwin kperite, Edmund Egerega, , not forgetting great educationists like late Professor Matthew Ohanoma, Godspower Odenema, former principal of Government College, Ughelli; Amos Madago, Godspwer Odivwri, both principals of various colleges; former Editor of The Guardian, Abraham Ogbodo, this writer, and a host of other diverse professionals in various fields of endeavour; neither has an English teacher nor Physics or Chemistry or Biology teacher. It is tempting to ask what is left of the school?
Telling the story of the state of the schools as they are today can only invoke tears. It bespeaks of why we are as we are as a people.
The paradigms have shifted radically and dangerously from noble paths to the slippery paths of quick-fixes, get-rich syndrome and a wholesome sacrifice of our hitherto cherished values. That is thus one of the challenges the re-union will have to tackle. Some had taken the initiative of hiring teachers to teach in the school, at their own
This same OGSO was one of the top-rated colleges at the time, given the standard the proprietor and founder set. If it is the entrepreneurs of today, Orogun Grammar School, would have been one great private school, from which Akpore and his descendants will
continually be reaping from.
The irony is that this is the same age and time that huge budgets are voted for education. But we hardly see the benefits and fruits of these budgets. Like all aspects of our national life, corruption plays its menacing role in cutting short the expectation of the people, plus the fact that we hardly still have dedicated teachers, who function as
gate-keepers of vested interest and are given to the raising of leaders. Today, teachers are hustlers, abandoning the children to navigate their ways to wherever fate leads them.
It is one of the reasons that at the OGSO reunion on November 30, one outstanding teacher who so-to-say, gave his all to teaching the students and nudging them on the path of honour and truth, now Evangelist Akpoviri Awero, an octogenarian, will be honoured specially, along with some few other Old Students.
So, beside the euphoria of a reunion and meeting classmates of years of yore, it will also be a time of sober reflection and possibly a time to re-set our goals and values, in a way that seeks to rescue the younger generation from the implosion that awaits us all, if we fail to act.
The fate of Orogun Grammar School is not unique. I have heard and read of hitherto great school having just three teachers beside the principal. I have read and heard of how the old Students of many colleges like Government College Ughelli, Igbobi College Lagos, Ibadan Grammar School, St Peter’s Claver College, Aghalokpe, Ika Grammar School, Edo College, etc etc, have taken up the gauntlet of rescuing their alma mater from rot and recession.
Yes, I applaud the roles old students are playing in revitalizing their alma mater; I should think that the government must deliberately raise the bar of its responsibility in providing quality education in words and in deed. No responsible government, at any level, will allow the present plague which has befallen our educational sector, to continue to torment the younger generation, otherwise we shall all, sooner or later, become casualties.