By Sam Eyoboka
WHEN Daniel Kolawole Olukoya registered at the Saint John Primary School, Akure in 1964, neither the headmaster nor even the young boy had any idea of what the future held for him. Like other pupils, the little Daniel just wanted to start a foundation for his education.
But 40 years after, the school in the heart of the Ondo State capital which served as the pedestal for a very spiritual giant has bowed to long neglect of the nationâ€™s education sector. Until recently, the school, like many others across the country, was in a very dilapidated shape.
But the current pupils of the school and their teachers now have reason to heave a sigh of relief as the school presently wears a new look, courtesy of Dr. Olukoya, the Founder/General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles, MFM, who recently rehabilitated the structures and added new blocks to it with a whopping sum of N30 million.
At the handing over ceremony, the school community stood still as pupils and their teachers lined the roads singing sonorous songs of praise to God in appreciation of the gesture done to the school by Dr. Olukoya who is an alumnus of the 1964-1969 set.
Apparently taken aback by the gesture, Ondo State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Adenike Fatogun said: â€œThis is the first time such a thing is happening in Ondo State. You know that primary schools do not have associations of past students, but for someone like Dr. Olukoya to have looked back to do this, shows that he is not only a true man of God, but a lover of education and mankind. God will bless him, his family and his ministryâ€.
Olukoya was represented at the ceremony by the duo of Pastor Jeff Akinsulure and Mr. Idowu Ajanaku who on his behalf commissioned several projects as part of the churchâ€™s social responsibility to the society.
Some of the projects commissioned included 12 blocks of newly built classrooms, 15 water system toilets, a block of eight crÃ¨ches, a state-of-the art administrative block, and a vocational department while the four existing blocks in the school were renovated.
According to Olukoya, the facelift done in his alma mater derives from his passion for education, adding that the school, which is his foundation has planted in him sterling qualities that have grown with him over the years.
His words: â€œI believe that excellence in education is important and should be encouraged. This is why we gave out 19 cars to MFM members who bagged first class degrees in different tertiary institutions in the country recently. Aside this, several students at various levels are enjoying scholarships we are providing.
â€œRehabilitating my primary school which served as the foundation upon which I eventually achieved my academic exploit, is the best thing I should do at a time like this for I still appreciate everything it impacted in me till dateâ€.
The cleric then charged the students on commitment to the things of God and their education which he described as a veritable key in breaking out of the chains of poverty.
The head teacher of the school, Mrs. Dayo Oladimeji expressed her joy at the facelift of the school which, according to her, was once in a very deplorable condition. She praised the initiative of the MFM General Overseer, saying that education and all its problems should not be left for governments alone. â€œIndividuals must invest in the future of our children by making their contribution to the development of education at all levels,â€ she appealed.
Army Signalsâ€™ day of triple celebration
By Fredrick Okopie
The Nigerian Army Signals Corps Headquarters, NAS Apapa, Lagos, recently hosted what it called â€œthree-in-one event. These comprised the commissioning of two buildings(e-learning centre and administrative office block), the launching of a magazine named Jimmy and the conferment of a fellowship award on the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General A.B Dambazau by the Certified Institute of Cost Management of Nigeria, CICMN, at the Officers Mess.
General Dambazau, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Major General Eugene Chiazo Nwanguma, was full of praise for the laudable project embarked upon by NAS.
According to the Army boss: â€œThe Nigerian Army Signals is not the only one involved in Information and Communication Technology, but it is the linchpin of the Army into cooking up ICT. So the fact that they have come from this conceptual aspect to bring that thinking into being means that they have been doing some serious thinking on how to rally the energies of the Nigerian Army into this field call ICT.â€
General Nwanguma also told Vanguard Metro thus: â€œIn the media these days youÂ hear about this direct labour; it means a project that is handled without passing through a second stage of a contract. The contractorâ€™s interest in elementary cost constitutes a sizeable portion. What this direct labour means is that the material interest has been set aside and that goes to make the project a lot cheaper to undertake. So that is why we feel that if you have capacity to do 10 projects, if it goes through the contractor form of executing the project, what we may have is a simple capacity of doing only three.
â€œIf you went through the direct labour, our experiences have shown that it is faster in completing the 10 projects that you have in mind and there will be no inconveniences like contract reviewâ€.
The Commander of Nigerian Army Signals Corps, Major General Godwin George Umo, later took journalists round the e-learning centre which has a well-furnished library with the latest books on ICT, a classroom where officers from the rank of Lieutenant Colonel are allowed to use, and a computarised mini hall with 10 desk top computers.
General Umo, explained that the facilities available would make officers in his command carry out effective research and learn more about ICT.
On the administrative office block, Gen. Umo said: â€œ The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. AB Dambazau, magnanimously responded by approving the construction of one office block which now stands in front of us. We are, indeed, deeply grateful to the COAS for this office accommodation. The block will accommodate the offices of the Headquarters of the Nigerian Army Signals, Army Public Relations, HQ NAS Regt. and the Finance Officeâ€.