Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The OC Igbokwe Foundation (OCIF) yesterday ignited a communal interest to improve the dwindling fortunes of a local school following the unveiling of a renovated classroom block at Umukabia Central School in Umuahia North Local Government, Abia State.
The unveiling ceremony of the three classroom blocks with library, office and store components was graced by royal fathers and prominent personalities from the community.
In his address, the head of the Igbokwe family, Chief Daniel N. Igbokwe, said that the classroom block was renovated in honour of the late patriarch of the family, Chief O.C. Igbokwe, the Ihe Mba I of Okaiuga Alaike Autonomous Community.
He said that his father was very proud of Umukabia Central School, which was where he got his first school leaving certificate “in flying colours” in 1949, adding that “he maintained the friends he made here till his last days”.
“He (O.C Igbokwe) sure will be glad for this gesture in his honour.”
Igbokwe noted that the “foundation was set up and registered to immortalise our father” adding that “the focus is to assist in some areas where he was passionate especially education and entrepreneurship.”
To this end, the OCIF, he said, for over a decade has been funding the nursery school at St. John Methodist Church Umukabia Okpuala by paying staff salaries, tuition fees and maintenance costs.
Chief Igbokwe further stated that the Foundation has also been involved in payment of examination fees for pupils sitting for First School Leaving Certificate examination as well as WAEC fees for some candidates from Umukabia Okpuala.
In the area of promoting entrepreneurship, he said that OCIF currently operates N1million interest-free revolving loan for 10 enterprising women in Okpuala.
“This is to encourage enterprise and ensure that all registered women in Okpuala are empowered to do business they are familiar with,” he said, adding the loan rotates among them every six months.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Chima Orji, in his remarks lamented the poor state of public schools noting that Umukabia Central School used to be a highly rated school in Ohuhu in the 60s.
He lauded the Igbokwe family for their intervention to improve the facilities in the school and called on other public spirited persons and groups to emulate them.
Earlier the headmistress of the school, Mrs. Cecilia Oselunna, said that the major problem facing the school is lack of teachers which has led to low population of pupils.
While thanking the OCIF for reconstructing the classroom block, the head teacher called on others to also intervene in the area of providing water, toilets and security in the school to make learning more conducive.