By Job Osazuwa
As Chief Ishmael Chikezie Attah, the pioneer principal of Oloko Comprehensive Secondary School (OCSS) Oloko, in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, goes home in a blaze of glory tomorrow, his former students are set to immortalise him.
They said Attah contributed so much in shaping their future, and they are so pleased with his deeds.
According to one of the old students of the school, Mr Cyril Okenmuo, Attah was more than just a principal. He said: “Chief Attah was a father, mentor, guide and adviser. I met him in 1983 as a teenager then and we attended the same church – St. Philips Anglican Ahaba – Oloko. He was my father’s friend. He was a choirmaster and he made me join the choir. Later, I went to Oloko Comprehensive Secondary School (OCSS) where he was the pioneer principal.
“He was a disciplinarian to the core and the students respected their boundaries. He was friendly but firm in his actions. Those of us who knew him benefited so much from him and that’s why we will immortalise him.”
Another old student, David, said: “ He was a hero, a mentor, a developer of men and women. He was an extraordinary leader and also a wonderful man.
“Indeed, he was a man of many worthy causes. He had such a great sense of humour and leaves giant-size footprint for us to follow.”
Indeed, he was a man of many trades and master of all. He saw tomorrow and invested in the future. He established schools and invented machines at a time technological deficiency defined his environment. Take this: In 1975, he invented a flat duplicating machine titled REXICON, for document printing, which operated with both light and duplicating papers and a method of economizing duplicating and other materials.
This invention was confirmed to be the first that season in the whole of Africa. Also, an incubator for hatching of chicken eggs, which successfully hatched 150 eggs within 12 days when tested. These inventions attracted the defunct East Central State government, though the then administrator, Dr Ukpabi Asika, at Enugu. Asika awarded him sponsorship through PRODA Enugu to overseas for more elaboration and marketing. Though there were hitches but in the end, the two inventions became assets and very useful to his school. On August 5, 1970, he established a craft Centre at old L.A School, Ahaba Oloko in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State where he also exhibited his various talents for the training both the able and physically challenged people in craft, arts and science education.
In 1973, he called for admission of students and apprentices into various trades. Chief Ochiriozuo, as he was affectionately called, admitted 17 students as pioneer students and engaged some special teachers and instructors who handled those courses. He had a speedy progress and growth and in 1974, he went for a market and site survey development. He discovered Oloko old customary court hall and he applied for accommodation through the judiciary and his application was granted. Before he could finish the admission list publication, prospective students from Ikwuano, Akwa-Ibom, Aba, Umuahia and elsewhere had filled the school. He recorded over 1,500 students within that admission session. After some years, he acquired a permanent site which became approved and named Oloko Comprehensive Secondary School, Oloko, the school has produced successful and respected individual today.