BOTHERED by decadence in public schools, Professor Eric Kelly Inanemo Omogbai has urged Edo State Government to return Our Lady of Fatima College to its original owner.
Omogbai who made this call during the school’s celebration of its 58th anniversary said: “The resultant military administrations destroyed the moral, economic, ethical and social fabric of our society and the schools were not spared.’’
According to him, there was no longer any respect for proprietorship, religion and ethics, adding that the quality of education plummeted and schools were and have been badly neglected ever since under government management.
He said: “Pupils and students were and are still no longer exposed to moral and religious instructions and the vacuum thus created, has now been filled by cultism and blood-curdling practices in the society.”
Going down memory lane, Omogbai said: “In 1981, the simmering territorial tension between the two neighbouring communities (Auchi and Jattu) that sandwiched our school boiled over and Fatima College was razed, our classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, offices and records were destroyed and till now, the school has not quite recovered from that trauma which has been exacerbated by continuing Government neglect.
“If we desire an alma mater worthy of its name, we have to get involved and truly endow the school. How can we achieve this? That should be our pre-occupation from now on so that when we meet to celebrate the diamond jubilee in 2020, we would have put our College on an irreversible path of restoration and positive development and we would then have achievements worthy of celebration.”
He continues: “In 1960, Catholic Church established Our Lady of Fatima Grammar School at Auchi at the time of Nigeria’s independence. So, like conjoined twins, independent Nigeria and Fatima Grammar School came to life at the same time.
Fifty-eight years later, the simultaneous nativity of independent Nigeria and Fatima College has meant a mutual practical experience of the topsy-turvydom that has come to characterize our lives.
“In the early 60s while the Nigerian and Western Region political crises raged, Fatima, under the tutelage of the founding Principal, an Irish SMA Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr James Hickey (fondly called Hickeyboy) and a motley of teachers from Europe, US, India and Nigeria, took the school through its early tentative steps that led to the production of the first batch of WASC graduates in 1965.”