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Class ’79 of PBGS Issele-Uku Reunite To Give-Back To Alma Mata




By Patrick Ochei

For the memory of Rev. S.W. Martin, founder of the Pilgrim Baptist Grammar School Issele-Uku and of course, the quality of education and discipline the school was known for, the 1979 Set was able to reconnect their mates through the social media and had come together to tinker a way forward to support the school in terms of bringing back the Boarding System and fast-tracking other development needed in the school.

In their reunion meeting on April 3rd, 2021, at Orchid Hotel Asaba, the then Senior Prefect of Class ’79 and Chairman of Orchid Hotels, Engr. Jonathan Odega welcomed members after over 42 years, adding that the reunion had opened a new vista of hope for humanity and also brought back a feeling of nostalgia to the Old Boys of Class ’79.

While speaking on the topic “Encouraging the Less Strong”, the now Chairman of the group used Bible references to draw illustrations to the group’s vision of raising funds to uplift the present standards of the school, especially the need to bring back the Boarding facilities in the school.

According to him, “We recall with nostalgia the good old days in the boarding house. We were knitted together in love, unity and cameraderie and hard-work.



“But the boarding facilities are gone now. Whatever happened, we need to resuscitate it for its benefits of academic excellence. It was fun and exciting having to share quality values with teachers and fellow students. We went through this school and we are the ones to fix the things that had gone wrong, not minding the position of government. They can come in when we need them, but it’s divine for us to contribute our own quota towards uplifting the school.

“I want to advise the younger students of nowadays to endeavour to adhere to hardwork and discipline as a way to go. Hard work and fear of God remains pivotal for academic excellence. There was nothing like Special Centre then, we all studied hard to pass. Special Centre can’t help anybody; it’s just an acronym for corruption. When you have indulged in all of these academic crimes, the real world will definitely expose you.

“So, I encourage us all to collectively bring the transformation that we all desire in PBGS. And I tell you, history will not forget you for advancing the course of humanity”, Odega affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Lead Discussant for the meeting and a renowned former Senior Prefect of PBGS in 1975, Prof. Osadennis Egonwa refreshed his audience’s memories of how the school thrived so much in quality education and discipline in those good old days.

The Professor told them stories that made them felt they were in school again, thereby challenging them on the need to help the school resume the boarding system which then made studying interesting and impeccable discipline that can never be forgotten instilled in the students.

According to him, “Times have changed now, the quality of education has fallen. In those days people were more serious, values were held sacred.

“Unfortunately, some students these days believe that education is a scam. Our young ones now graduate from the University without jobs and some of them that are eager to support themselves go to learn skills. Why can’t schools incorporate entrepreneurship and skills acquisition into the University system, where graduates will not have to scout for job after graduation to put food on their table. My understanding of education is that, it should be education for living”, Prof. Egonwa said.

Another Old Boy of Class ’77 and Lead Discussant, Dr. Chuba Keshi dwelt on “Giving Back To Our Alma Mata”.

He talked of the need to sustain the educational standards of PBGS, while re-establishing sports especially hockey into the school curriculum. He equally recommended the introduction of basic entrepreneurship training in the school and mentoring through social capital.

The last Discussant, Mr. Wilson Ideva of Class ’79 made his case on “Funding Model for PBGS Class ’79.

Mr. Ideva talked about raising funds through annual dues and fundraising dinners. He expatiated on social capital and its benefit to a group of this nature with a mission for humanitarian service.

Earlier in the day, the group had visited the Traditional Ruler of Issele-Uku Kingdom, HRM Agbogidi Obi Nduka to intimate him of their mission in Issele-Uku and the plans to contribute in uplifting Pilgrim Baptist Grammar School.

They were highly received and the Obi was happy that 29 of them from various communities and backgrounds were able to come back together to give back to the school that gave them insight for life. He encouraged them to remain united, saying that one who does not know where he started a journey would not know where to end it.

His words, “Your concern for the school you attended is exceptional. This is the best way to promote progress. And I believe this gesture will teach our young ones the lesson to know that when life gives, you don’t have a choice but to give back. As we pray for the Chairman and members of the group, I also want to encourage members to support the Chairman by giving him quality advice that will enhance his leadership capacity for the good of the group”, Obi Nduka advised.

The Pilgrim Baptist Grammar School Issele-Uku was the next pot of call, where the Old Boys took time to conduct themselves at the Assembly Ground, singing praises to God through Hymn and singing the school anthem.

The Principal of the school, Mrs. Stella C. Ajufo also joined them at the Assembly Ground and later addressed them inside the school hall.

The Principal appreciated the Class of 1979 for remembering their Alma Mata and briefed them on the state of the school.

According to her, “We have received different sets who had come to support the school in one project or the other. The Class of 1994 built us a well. The current ongoing renovation by AGIP is spearheaded by an old student. The library was built by a family that also passed through the school.

“What we need basically now is fencing, refurbishing of our laboratory and equipping of our ICT unit.

“We are lucky in this school, our Old Boys have never abandoned us. And I know that this will not be different; we will still definitely benefit from the magnanimity of the Class of 1979”, the Principal stated.

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