Delta Governor, Sen. Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has deplored rising cases of cultism in schools across the country and urged stakeholders to work towards eradicating the scourge.
He said at the launching and ground-breaking of projects at Ika Grammar School, Boji Boji Owa in Ika North East Local Government Area of the state, on Saturday that teachers, parents and other stakeholders had the responsibility of inculcating morals in students to prevent them from cults activities.
The governor commended Old Boys of the school for coming together to rescue their alma mater through projects initiatives
He said: “I am excited that as Old Boys you have gathered together to develop the school that has made it possible for us to attain the positions we are today.
“Growing up as a young man I had fond memories of this school, especially during the Inter-House Sports Competitions.
“Ika Grammar School had earned a name long before I went to school and i believe that none of us would want to see the school go down to the extent that we can’t tell people that we attended the school.
“I must thank Bishop Ekpenisi for the efforts he has made to upgrade the facilities here.
“There is need to improve infrastructure in the school because no matter how good your teachers are, if the ambience of the school is not appealing to the child he can never be comfortable to study.”
Okowa charged the old students to donate generously to the development of the school and announced that the State Government would carry out proper renovation of the administration block.
“We are not paying much attention to education and I believe that is part of the problems we are having today as a country.
“This school gave birth to who you are today and it’s important that we pay special attention to it otherwise the lives of many children would have been spoilt or lost,”
He commended the school for producing illustrious Ika sons in positions of authority, but decried the prevailing situation in the society where cultism had permeated the entire education chain.
According to the governor, the high level of cultism has become very alarming in our country; our children do not believe in quality education any more.
“I am glad that our Bishop is working hard to turn around the fortunes of the school.
“Please help us to groom our children with morals because there was discipline in those days but that is lacking nowadays.
“Help us to change their character so that they don’t resort to cultism again,” he pleaded.
Chairman of the occasion, Mr Daniel Usifo, said in his remarks that beyond donating for the projects, the old boys should endeavour to change the mindset of the youths.
Welcoming guests earlier, National President of Ika Grammar School Old Boys’ Association, Dr Sam Ojogbo, had said that they were providing the platform for the gathering of illustrious sons and daughters to return the school as the foremost in Ikaland.
The Guest Speaker and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delta, Agbor, Prof. Stella Chiemeke, said the importance of education in any society could not be over-emphasized.
She pointed out that kidnapping, banditry, child labour and other social vices were products of education failure and called for the improvement in education as a tool for national development and inclusion.
Chiemeke also called for a review of education curriculum to conform with current realities, adding that funding of educational system should not be left for government alone.
She highlighted the potential of alumni associations as catalyst for fund-raising among institutions.
“We must focus attention on training and retraining of teachers, because the challenge of education in Nigeria is beyond the poor reward system.
“Educational development of any nation is measured by the growth of public schools and therefore building a nation through educational development is a task for all,” she stated.
Bishop of Ika Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev’d Geoffrey Ekpenisi commended Governor Okowa for the various projects carried out in the school in the past two years.
He said that with the establishment of University of Delta, Agbor, Ika Grammar School would play a major role in the educational needs of new entrants to the community, adding that there was need to grow Ika Grammar School as the number one school in Ika nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia, represented by Zonal Head of Zentih Bank in Delta, Mr Lucky Ighade and member representing Ika Federal Constituency in House of Representatives, Mr Victor Nwokolo, were among dignitaries that attended the ceremony.