BY GRACE ANYANWU, ABUJA – Government College Ughelli Old Boys Association (GCUOBA), will on Wednesday, January 15, 2019, mark its Platinum Anniversary (75 Years) as well as its Founder’s Day Reunion and Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The event which is billed to hold at the College premises, according to the President General WorldWide of Old Boys Association, Arc, Charles Majoro, would showcase the heritage of the school and its grandaunts.
Majoro said that the products of the school over the last 75 years include top diplomats, public administrators, corporate titans, leaders in various professions and academics.
However, Majoroh had reservation over the drop in quality of teaching and learning at the school in recent years, which he said the old boys association has taken up as a challenge.
Majoroh further said; “The neglect of the school by the government for many years forced the Old Boys to deploy resources to restore the facilities at the school. Virtually all the student hostels, classrooms, laboratories, library, administrative block and recreational facilities have been restored and in some cases upgraded.
“In furtherance of the restoration project, the Class of 1970, which will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee anniversary of admission to GCU, has renovated the School Assembly Hall, one of the projects to be inaugurated at the Platinum Anniversary Celebrations,” he said.
The GCUOBA President, who was flanked by Mr Roy Odoko, Secretary General of GCUOBA Worldwide; and Mr Obed Awowede, National Publicity Secretary of the Association; said the Old Boys Association is committed to restoring the lost glories of the school to ensure a good place for current and future students to learn.
He was also critical of the admission process into public schools, which he noted has lowered standards and encouraged examination malpractices.
GCUOBA announced the conferment of Leading Lights recipients on 13 old boys across the generations who have made their marks in the humanities:
The include Ambassador B.A. Clark (Class of 1947), Nigeria’s one-time Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Chairman of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, Professor (Emeritus) John Pepper Clark (Class of 1948), a leading African literary personality with global recognition who has been described as the “the most lyrical of Nigerian poets, whose poetry celebrates the physical landscape of Africa.” During his time at Ughelli, he had the reputation of having read every novel in the school library, of which he was prefect. Impressed, the principal was compelled to buy him some more books and Peter Enahoro – also known as Peter Pan (Class of 1948): Famous for his wit and wry humour, he is perhaps Africa’s best-known international journalist.
Others include; Prince Sam Amuka Pemu – also known as Sad Sam (Class of 1949): Veteran journalist, publisher and founder of the Vanguard newspaper while a Posthumous award was bestowed on Professor Festus Ikhuoria Iyayi (HSC Class of 1967): He was an extremely versatile academic who wore many caps: award-winning novelist, outstanding academic and trade union activist.
The awardees list also include; Professor Obaro Ikime (Class of 1950): A distinguished academic and an outstanding historian who was visiting professor at the Departments of History at University of California and Harvard University in 1975, Professor (Emeritus) Egerton E. Uvieghara (Class of 1951): A former Commissioner at the Nigeria Law Reform Commission, Professor Itse Esanjuwa Sagay san. (Class of 1954), who is currently the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Olisa Agbakoba san (HSC Class of 1973): Founder of the non-governmental organisation in advocacy and law, Human Rights Law Services, he was named the 2006 ’FRA Williams Legal Practitioner of the Year.’ An outstanding legal mind and Albert Akpomudje san (Class of 1969): A distinguished legal practitioner and life bencher, Charles Edosomwan san (Class of 1973): A distinguished legal practitioner and Festus Keyamo san (Class of 1981): A distinguished legal practitioner, who is currently the Minister of State for Labour.
Majoroh said that the 12 awardees are being honoured to reinforce the Old School value of rewarding excellence.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of GCUOBA, Mr. Obed Awowede said the Platinum Anniversary provides a great opportunity for score-keeping and sober reflection, adding that it is vital that “the Old School sustains the tradition of producing great minds that go on to positively impact the larger society and the world in the years and decades ahead.
Government College Ughelli was founded on January 17, 1945 while the Old Boys association’s Constitution stipulates that the Founder’s Day celebration should be on a Wednesday nearest to January 17, for administrative convenience.