Home Uncategorized 23 Years After, Cross River Community Gets Schools, Courtesy Obong Elect 

23 Years After, Cross River Community Gets Schools, Courtesy Obong Elect 

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Obong Elect, Etubom Anthony Ani

After 23 years of communal conflict, war  ravaged Ikot Offiong community in Odukpani Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River state will now have schools of their own.  

With this development, over 20,000 out of school children scattered all over the state due to the crisis can now have access to both primary and secondary schools of their own, courtesy of the Obong elect of Calabar, Etubom Anthony Ani.

The former Minister of Finance in the regime of late General Sani Abacha disclosed this yesterday in Calabar while inaugurating the seven man committee  that will drive the school projects from start to end and identify suitable land for the construction of the primary school immediately and a secondary school in future. 

Etubom Ani said, “during the visit of lkot Offiong community to me on August 1, 2023, they had complained that for the past 23 years, they had not been given any education, roads, and other social services. I had immediately, thereafter, said that since education is communal, they should not wait for the government to provide these facilities all by itself; but that they (Ikot Offiong community), should start something on their own.

“I had promised to show leadership, by building a primary school, as well as award scholarships to deserving students. I have considered education as the birth-rock of development and progress. A situation where children cannot go to school, means the next generation is a wasted generation and this must not be allowed to happen”.

The Obong elect said, “It is for this reason, that we are setting up a committee to look into the educational requirements of the lkot Offiong community, starting with a community primary school. Initially, we are going to build a Six room primary school block, with all the facilities and we hope that by this time next year, all eligible children and even Adults will commence school at lkot Offiong community”.

He said “no community should wait for government to provide all basic amenities, particularly in this period of hardship and shortage of money. I believe that the government on seeing what we have done, will naturally intervene to secure the project.

“To this end, the primary school will be funded by donations, gifts and contributions from the people of Ikot Offiong community; the name donated will be properly evaluated and treated as a contribution from the people of Ikot offiong.

“Aside from personal contributions that I will make towards the completion of the school, I am awarding 50 brand-new scholarships to the first 50 ompletion students of the primary school; so to you, my dear people of Ikot Offiong, the ball is in your court, so hurry up and seize the opportunity given.

On the construction and administration of the school,  he stated that “the school will be built in the name of Ikot Offiong people by Ikot Offiong people; however, its progress will be supervised by a Trust” but charged the Ikot Offiong community to give a guarantee that the Pupils’ property and school properties will be safe and that none of the pupils, teachers or other staff will be molested.

“The people of Ikot Offiong must form a ring around the school, so as to ensure that anyone entering its portals is safe and free from all threats, actual dangers or anything associated with violence”,  he added.

In view of this, Etubom Ani inaugurated the seven  man committee to oversee the construction of the primary school with the former Nigerian Ambassador to Uganda, Etubom Nya Asuquo as Chairman, Chief Ekpo Eyamba, Secretary, Chief Igoni Archibong, Chief Henry Okoh, Chief Bassey Okon Asuquo, Rev. Bassey Ekanem and Chief Etim Akpaso and members “with a charge that the first intake of the primary school will commence education, on 1st of October, 2024” .

Among the terms of reference, the committee is expected to survey the land, identify and engage a suitable architect to design the primary/secondary schools complex, ascertain in totality, the cost of the primary school, award the contract for the construction of the primary school, after receiving my approval to do so.

Others include to identify students, both young and old; and recommend same for the award of scholarships, liaise with the State Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and other Governmental institutions for approval, guidance, assistance in the provision of teachers and curriculum, for the takeoff of the primary school by September 2024″.

On his part, Etubom Asuquo, Chairman of the Committee and Clan Head of Ikot Offiong thanked the Obong-elect, in his magnanimity, saying, “tha is a community that has not had any facility for 23 years, so the first good thing that has come to that community is the primary school that would be functional and running. He has also promised to give scholarships to the students that would pass through that school. We the ikot offiong people have never have had it so good and we are thankful from the bottom of our heart. I will list the members of that special committee and their work is construction of the primary school.

“I was surprised when i came to meet the Obong-elect a few days after, to thank him privately, he told me that when we go to survey the land, we should survey enough land to accommodate a secondary school and that means in future, we shall have a secondary school in Ikot offiong. Our people who are mainly fishermen with war imposed on them, will now be able to send their children to school so that even those who are adults and also fishermen, can equally go to school to learn how to read and write”. 

Equally thanking Etubom Ani for his kind gesture, a Community Leader in Ikot Offiong,  Chief Okon Lazarus Okon said, “We are grateful for what the Obong elect has done for us. In the past he used to give us fish but now he is teaching us how to fish in Ikot Offiong.  God will bless you for giving us education again after many years of crisis”. 

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