Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The joy of over 1,400 students of Origbo Community High School (OCHS) in Ipetumodu, Ife North Local Government Area of Osun State, knew no bounds on Friday, March 15, 2019. It was the day the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria donated an information and communication technology (ICT) hub worth over N10 million to the school.
Special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Femi Adesina, who facilitated the project, is an alumnus of the school, whose foundation stone was laid on December 26, 1959, by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi.
Items in the ICT hub include 15 HP computers, HP server, 10KVA solar power, two HP split air conditioners, computer tables, and networking materials. The monetary worth of the project was put at N10,250,000.
The formal inauguration of the project was graced by the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, Adesina, Commissioner of Police in Osun State, Mrs. Abiodun Ige, director of schools and special education, Ministry of Education, Osun State, Mr. Olagoke Obi, who represented the permanent secretary, Mr. Festus Olajide.
President, OCHS Ipetumodu Old Students’ Association, Mr. Oyegunle Adesiyan, a lawyer, secretary of the association, Mr. Rahman Adedokun, Mr. Fatai Awoyeye, who represented the tutor-general, Osun East Education District Office, Ile-Ife, Mr. Adelani Aderinola, principal of the school, Mrs. Abosede Alalade, executive secretary, Nigerian Computer Society, Iyiola Ayoola, an alumnus of the school, as well as royal and religious fathers were also in attendance.
On the occasion, the Chinese Ambasador to Nigeria, Pingjian, who promised that the Chinese Embassy would assist the school with another N5 million for capacity building, said the gesture was born out of the fine tradition of respecting teachers and valuing education, adding that investment in students should not be taken with levity because the children are leaders of the future.
His words: “The Chinese have a fine tradition of respecting teachers and valuing education. So, I believe Nigerians too have the same tradition. And I can tell from the presence of the senior officials of the state government. From the dynamic old students association, I can tell. From my frequent conversations with your old boy, my friend and brother, Mr. Adesina, you have in Abuja, I can tell.”
Presenting the vote of thanks, Adesina appreciated the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the Chinese Ambassador for the gesture. He said: “Regularly, the Chinese Ambassador invites me for dinner. One night, I was at dinner with him and he said, ‘We want to do something for your home secondary schoo.’ I was surprised.
“He continued by saying, ‘We’ll like to do something up to N10 million for your home secondary school.’ That sounded quite unbelievable to me.
“So, the next thing I did was to get in touch with the old students’ association. I said this is the offer from the Chinese Ambassador. The old students’ association began to talk back and forth with the personal assistant to the Ambassador, and that’s what brought us here. So, thank you very much.”
Adesina, who passed out of OCHS in 1980, stated further that Nigeria and China have been doing a lot of things together, noting that the impact of the relationship was also being felt at the grassroots. He said that he went with President Buhari to China in 2016, and “when we were leaving, I was seated right opposite the president in the plane.
“The president looked down through the window, he shook his head, and said: ‘See what order and discipline have done to China.’
This shows the respect the president has for China. This is why, today, there is a lot going on between Nigeria and China; is it railway, power, road and different kinds of infrastructure, even we have a currency swap, and people can do business using the Yuan.
“A good number of the achievements that this administration can lay claim to were also facilitated by China. Today, do you know what China does for Nigeria? Any project that we want to do together, China will pay 85 per cent, all they want Nigeria to pay is 15 per cent of the fund.
“So, it is not only Nigeria that is feeling the impact of China. Even at our local level, we have felt the impact, and we will feel it more because we have another promise of N5 million.”
President of the old students’ association, Adesiyan, in his address, said the donation of the ICT hub equipment by the Chinese Embassy came at a good time, as arrangements were on to mark the 60th anniversary of the school.
Said he: “We thank the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria for this kind gesture, and we promise to ensure that the students make good use of the facility. I use this opportunity to appeal to the principal of the school to monitor the usage of the equipment.
“We congratulate the students for this great opportunity of being the first beneficiaries of the first ever ICT hub in the school. If I am not mistaken, it is probably the first comprehensive ICT hub in any school in Osun State.”
Adesiyan, however, appealed to the state government to take over the yearly payment for the Internet from next year when the current payment would expire.
Director of Schools and Special Education, Ministry of Education in Osun State, Mr. Olagoke Obi, who represented the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr. Festus Olajide, said: “On behalf of the State Government of Osun and the authorities of the Ministry of Education, I promise that the items donated to the school will be well utilised, secured and maintained for the benefit of all.”
Aderinola, who was represented by Mr. Fatai Awoyeye, promised that government would ensure timely posting of teachers that are computer-literate to the school for the students and staff to maximise the benefits of the project.
On his part, Ayoola thanked the Chinese Embassy and Adesina for the project. He promised to ensure sustainability of the ICT hub, saying further that he would add five computers to the hub. The vision, he said, was to have 100 computers in the hub, and make the hub a computer based test (CBT) centre for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
The school principal, Mrs. Alalade, also thanked the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Adesina and the old students’ association. She stated that the ICT hub “would go a long way to complement the efforts of the government of the State of Osun in the provision of qualitative and functional education for our blooming youths, specifically in the area of ICT proficiency, as the whole world is a global village.”