Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Evergreen memories came alive, just as long lost classmates and friends were reunited after many years at the 2019 Igwebuike Grammar School (IGS), Awka Alumni National Convention held recently.
The Old Boys Association of the college has been making positive efforts to encourage their alma mater founded in the year 1958.
The school has produced many individuals doing great in various fields of endeavour and the Old Boys seemed not to lose sight of the fact that they were groomed during their secondary school years, hence the need to give back to where they started.
1n 2018 when the school marked its 60th anniversary, they were on ground and they celebrated the milestone with several projects, including the ultra modern legacy gate of the school, planting of ornamental trees with flower and landscaping of the premises.
The 2019 Alumni national convention was a consolidation of their previous efforts with a resolve to do more. The convention, which featured the election of new executives of the association, saw the re-election of Mr Nnamdi Nwobu as the National President.
Delivering an address, Nwobu recalled that the IGS Old Boys Association came into existence in 1975 primarily to promote good relationship among the ex-students. He noted that the present crop of executives and members have changed the narrative to include helping the alma mater and, by extension, pull everyone together.
He said that the theme for the year’s convention: “Giving back makes everyone a winner” was carefully chosen because it further imbibes in the character of members, generosity and kindness and reminds them that when they are successful, they should look back with a reaching arm and pull up their members .
Nwobu said that in ‘giving back,’ they must look beyond the material and temporal, since the real power of money is the power to give it away.
He said the founding fathers established the school, not minding that while they planted gardens, they might not be around to eat the fruits. He said the present generation of old boys were already eating the fruits and hoped that generations to come would continue to eat the fruits.
Reeling other achievements of the present executive members , Nwobu recalled that they started with the donation of a complete set of musical band and 80 branded college blazers with ties to the school, items he said, changed the image of the college completely.
“We marked the 60th anniversary with legacy projects commissioned with awards to members and students who have brought honour and glory not only to themselves but also to our alma mater in various areas of public and professional life. This celebration brought deserved attention and visibility that consolidated our bond as a family.
“We also got the desired state government’s attention to remedy the aggravated ugly situation on the damaged hall and fence by a government contractor that handled the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the adjoining street. Today, both the multipurpose hall and the perimeter fencing projects are ongoing on a swap agreement basis between the state government and the old boys association,” he said.
The association also called on the state government to intervene by tackling the ugly massive infrastructure decay and dilapidation in the college by way of intervention through immediate renovation.
The old boys also called on government to construct new classroom blocks and dormitories, noting that the existing buildings are grossly inadequate to accommodate the ever-increasing population of students and also donate generously to the re-launching of the endowment fund project for the proposed multipurpose administrative block project whose foundation was laid in December 2018.
The president noted that the project, when completed, will not only replace the grossly dilapidated facility built by their founding fathers in 1965 but will also provide adequate accommodation for the non tutorial and tutorial staff, bursary, principal and vice principal’s offices including old boys national secretariat.
Anambra State Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha, who was a special guest, said that there is nowhere in the world where education is left only for the government alone. She commended the old boys of IGS for remembering the need to give back to the school that groomed them.
The commissioner acknowledged that she went to Igwebuike Grammar School at the initial stage and was not excited because of dilapidated structures but gave assurance that the school had been selected as part of the colleges that will experience the “Obiano effect” soon in Anambra.
The member representing Awka North /South Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon Sam Onwuaso expressed excitement over the positive turn around which the old boys have decided to undertake in the college.
He gave a yearly endowment of N500, 000 naira to the old boys for the uplift of the college and promised to ensure that the school gets a share in the constituency projects that he would execute in his first legislative tenure.
Other executive members of the Old Boys Association included Stephen Mba Nweke, Deputy President, Ndu Nwana, Secretary, Uchenna Nwobu, Assistant Secretary, kanayo Dilibe, Treasurer, Charles Chukwuma, Financial Secretary, Ike Nwosu, Social Director, Orogbu Alex. PRO and John Nwuba, Provost.