By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Valerian Maduka Okeke has decried the the fallen standards of education in the country, saying it is not very good at the moment.
Archbishop Okeke stated this in Abuja yesterday at the public presentation of ‘Sons of a Priest’, a book published by the Old Boys Association of Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha, on the life-changing experiences of its members under the tutelage of the longest serving principal of the school, Very Rev. Fr. Nicholas Tagbo.
The cleric, who said the memories of Fr. Tagbo under whose leadership he obtained his own secondary education at CKC were still very fresh, however expressed hope for a revival in the education sector.
He said: “The standard of education in Nigeria at the moment is not very good because many of those in positions of authority to get things right are not living up to expectations.
“However, that does not mean all hope is lost. Nigeria still has a lot of bright students and teachers all over the country but they need encouragement and adequate motivation to bring out the best of their potentials.”
Also speaking, a former Secretary to Anambra state Government, Oseloka Obaze, said the education standards of the 1970s when he was also a student of CKC were not comparable to those of contemporary times.
According to him, “What I enjoyed as a class one student in 1972, most people in the universities today only dream of it. Some of the standards that were set in the 1970s; when you look back, you start wondering what went wrong in the society?
“Things have changed but we also have the responsibility to bring back the lost values of the days of glory in our education system.”
Meanwhile, the author of the book, Mr. Odili Ujubuonu described ‘Sons of a Priest’ as a collection of testimonials of Fr. Tagbo’s impact on the lives of over 10,000 students of CKC who were inspired to greatness in many fields of human endeavour between 1963 and 1985.
“It is not a mere collection of tributes or a crowd biography but a story of unique experiences of successful people who had their moments of positive turnaround under the Fr. Tagbo,” he said.
In his humorous presentation, the book reviewer, Prof. Pat Utomi, also an alumnus of the school, said a peep into ‘Sons of a Priest, reveals the testimony of a former CEO of Ajaokuta Steel, Dr Fidelis Ezemenari who among other things disclosed that as a youth, Fr. Tagbo once reproached a student goalkeeper, now an acclaimed monarch in the southeast, who conceded a goal and claimed he had seen six different balls at the same time, that he ought to have caught the ball rather than taking time to count six of them.
Citing excerpts from the book, Utomi, however said said, ” Fr. Tagbo gave up his life ambitions to make us rule our worlds. Tagbo was satisfied to be just a principal and a priest while some of his classmates in Christ the King College became bishops and one would later become a cardinal.
“He gave Nigeria over twenty Senior Advocates of Nigeria and remained an obedient citizen. He raised men who became GCON, CON, CFR, MFR etc. but was content and very proud to be honoured with just an OON. He produced three state governors while he remained a simple priest in a local parish. He had over a hundred billionaire businessmen as his sons yet he remained faithful to his vow of poverty as a priest.
“He trained boys that became Chief Judges of about four states and senior judges in courts across Nigeria, yet he ended as Citizen Nicholas. His bell of humility tolled twelve when he happily lived as a poor old priest under the current Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, who was once his obedient student in Christ the King College.”