Jeff Agbodo, Onitsha
The graduation ceremony of Divine Mercy Gifted School, Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, on Saturday, July 14, 2019, had all the trappings of a carnival.
From the “who is who” in attendance to the performances of the pupils particularly the cultural component of their displays, it was quite glaring to the parents and guests that whatever investment made on the children was worth the while.
Dr Obiora Okonkwo, chairman of the event and benefactor of the school, said: “I am encouraged by what I saw at the graduation ceremony of this school, which I donated to the religious order of Sisters of Divine Mercy Ogidi, to run and develop our children. The kids have impressed me with their presentation at the graduation and I am convinced that every effort we make at developing our kids through education; is an effort in the right direction.
“It is for this that I commit to increasing infrastructure and expanding the school to accommodate more pupils. My wife and I are passionate about the catch them young philosophy. With God on our side, we shall do more. Thank you Sisters of Divine Mercy for the wonderful work you are doing in the lives of our kids.”
He called for improved funding of the education sector in line with United Nations’ recommendations so as to improve on the quality of human resources produced for the country. He said the products of Nigeria’s education system clearly attest to the fact that lack of adequate funding for education has impacted negatively on the country.
He noted that for Nigeria to take advantage of its diversity and develop abundant talents and human resources that abound in the country, it must take more than an ordinary interest in the funding of education development including infrastructure, research and publications.
With Nigeria’s growing population, he argued that it was only logical that education funding is taken more seriously as a means of focusing attention of the youths and preparing them for the future: “I therefore use this opportunity to call for more funding and support for education.
“I do this because if these little ones we are graduating today do not have access to quality secondary and tertiary education, where books and instructional materials are readily available, their future will be jeopardised.
“So, it is important that we get our acts together and put more money into education. Our future needs us to properly educate our children. And that’s actually what we owe them. We don’t owe our children cars and houses. We owe them quality education which opens the gates of possibilities for them.”
Proprietor of the school, Rev Mother Amaka Osegbo, lauded their benefactor for donating the school infrastructure as well as subsidising fees paid by pupils. She said that his benevolence is felt by every child, and teacher, at the school adding that enrolment of children at the school has been on the increase.
She also urged wealthy Nigerians to emulate Okonkwo’s gesture by building and donating schools as well as subsidising fees to encourage more children go to school.