Ribs were cracked last Sunday in Lagos as former Anambra State governor Peter Obi narrated his experience in the South – East on September 7 during a trip from Nsukka to Onitsha. He ended up as a rescue operator.
His very light convoy ran into an accident scene in Ugwunzu, Oji River, Enugu State. As a father, the sight of traumatised students of the Federal Government Girls College ( FGGC )Ezzamgbo in Ebonyi State melted his soul.
The Students, 12 of them, were heading to their respective homes in Anambra when their school vehicle suffered brake failure. The confused driver was lucky as a God sent obstacle prevented all of them from veering into a ditch.
Obi swung into action. The students were quite lucky for the good Samaritan chose to travel on a bus which became useful. It accommodated all of them. Then the children started to narrate their tale, from school to Ugwunzu.
The teacher who was supposed to accompany them lost her husband just before the trip and could not make it. So phone calls became necessary to inform parents and guardians of the accident. The new widow saw it as a double calamity.
What drew laughter from everyone was when the politician narrated what went on when he started making phone calls to the parents. It showed the mood of the country at this time of insecurity, from the tropics to the Savannah.
Obi said: “When I called one of the parents to narrate what happened, I noticed that I was not convincing enough. The feeling was that it was a call by kidnappers who wanted ransom.
Another parent asked me to drop their daughter, that they would pick her up.”
The former governor had taken it upon himself to make sure he took all 12 girls to their respective homes. Dropping them away from home was therefore out of it. He did not give up and continued to push until that mission was accomplished close to midnight.
“There was this indisposed girl whose parents refused to show up out of fear that it was a ploy by kidnappers to take more victims. We had to wait and wait. Even when they came, you could sense panic. The student had to rush to embrace her mom before the mood changed from apprehension to joy,” Obi added.
Who would blame the parents? Anyone could claim to be Peter Obi. We have different con men operating with different strategies. Kidnappers for ransom, Yahoo Yahoo Boys, Bandits and Herdsmen have made big money doing dirty deals.
FGGC Ezzamgbo is one of the 104 unity colleges in Nigeria, one of the 12 in the South-East and one of the two in Ebonyi. It was in the top 50 according to a ranking released by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC ) in 2020.
All 12 Federal governments in the South- East are among the top 50. Federal Government College Okigwe leads in the zone, occupying the number six position. FGC Nise and FGC Okposi are placed eighth and ninth respectively. Ezzamgbo is 43rd, FGC Enugu, 49th.
Obi did a great job as governor and took Anambra to the top in education. He is still donating to schools even away from Government House. Recently, the man donated a 100million naira to the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
The bug is in the family. His daughter chose to return to Agulu to teach in the community’s village school. She was not so lucky. Lagos accepted her and she is there following her passion when many expected her to get a bank job through her father.
I am always attracted to Federal Government Girls, although in a different way. One of the first, FGGC Owerri was right inside my Government Secondary School, Owerri compound when it took off in November 1973.
Their principal, Miss Sheila Everard, was a cool, interesting character. I remember she owned a Toyota Corolla station wagon and wondered why she chose to remain single. We called the school ‘Fedi’ and I cannot forget losing my French teacher, Mr B.C. Keke to them.
With time, one of my sisters, Chinwe, found her way to Fedi, from FGGC Akure. Before her, a cousin, Nnedim was there. And I had FGGC principals who had blood links with my family, Dame Adeline Uwanaka (late) and Mrs Edna Nwadinobi.
It was through Federal Girls that I visited Akure for the first time. I left with memories, not of Oba Adesida or Arakale market. It was the house of Chief Olaiya Fagbamigbe which was still burning when I took Chinwe to start secondary school in 1983.
Fagbamigbe published books and was a popular politician. It was also during the Moonslide of the Second Republic. I was not strong enough to talk to Omoremilekun Omoluabi, the founder of Akure. The West was wild, wild again.
I rushed back to the University of Benin where I was studying History. I saw History in Akure. In the night, I went drinking near Federal Government Girls College, Benin. Those girls are close to Ugbowo Campus. Governor Obi’s rescue efforts took me back to Federal Girls.