It’s with utmost joy that I wish to welcome the executive governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to our dear village, Ugbaike. When I heard that he will be our guest on the 30th of December 2020, the day we are officially thanking God for our son, Dr Emeka Mamah [Ide], Enugu State Commissioner for rural development. Both of them have been the pride of their people – Ide, the pride of the Ugbaike nation and the governor – a proud son of Orba Nsukka.
Historically speaking, Ugbaike has been blessed in numerous ways. She has been known in the entire Enugu State for giving the state some prominent men of great caliber. Ugbaike has also produced many enlightened citizens and great politicians. Among our illustrious sons are two terms of local government mayors, two local government caretakers, a Secretary of State, and two terms of state commissioners, to name but a few.
This is to say that about Ugbaike is not unknown to the people in decision-making positions in the state. She is well known both within the local government and in the State.
Unfortunately, she seems to be forgotten entirely in the history of rural development. So, we welcome our own son, who happened to be the commissioner for rural development and the governor, who has always portrayed himself as a development governor. We wish to use this opportunity to remind them that Ugbaike is also a rural community that can be considered in their rural development projects.
For example, sometime this year, we wrote about Umura Primary School, which was left to decay under our observation. From all indications, it appears that our son, the rural development commissioner, has not been aware of this shame called Umura Primary School, which happens to be where our children are studying. We are sorry they didn’t tell both the commissioner and the governor about that animal barn called the elementary school. But I trust they would now know.
I don’t want to talk about our abandoned road project. The former governor remembered Ugbaike Road after years of abandonment. His government tried to do justice to it but couldn’t finish it before the end of his tenure. And when the present governor was elected, we were all in joy knowing that as an Nsukka man, he will continue the construction of that road. And when our son was made a commissioner for rural development, we concluded that he would make sure that this road that passes in front of his own house would be finally completed. I wouldn’t say that we were wrong to count on him to do what was right. I just think that the opportunity has not yet arrived. Maybe this visit is that golden opportunity that we were all expecting. Let me cross my fingers!
Our borehole is another story, but I would rather not bother our governor and son with that problem. We also trust that they will know how to inquire about that too. However, since they will be received at Ugbaike Technical School, I wish they would find a little moment to take a brief look at this thing called Ugbaike Technical School.
This functional, abandoned government technical school was one of the first technical schools in Enugu-Ezike and formed many builders and electricians in the entire area. But her recent story is, unfortunately, a sorry one.
After a few years of glory, she was transformed into a community secondary school. And even at that, the school tried to hold on to certain levels of academic pedigree, producing young men who are today proving their worth in different parts of the world.
Then, a few years back, the government decided to change it back to a technical school. And, the news was graced with joy, knowing how the technical school it once was helped reposition the community. The entire community counted on this news to kick-start our community development. But what we ignored was that the change was more of a political move. The name of the school changed, but nothing changed, if not for the worst.
What once existed as a laboratory has become an abandoned building with no roof on top of it. Classrooms dilapidated beyond recognition. The school compound and its environment rapidly became worse than animal barns. Both students and teachers, frustrated by the sorry situation of the school, almost lost hope in pursuing success. Today, Ugbaike Technical School is everything except a technical school. No technical teachers, no laboratory, nothing except one shabby signpost hanging along the entrance of the school like a man waking up from a long hangover.
We know that this very pitiable school will welcome the governor and our dear son. It will be unfair not to let them know how shameful we are that no one ever told them that this school is the image of what our young people tomorrow will look like. It will be unpatriotic to pretend that we do not know that this school deserves more attention than it gets. Finally, pretending we are happy that our village has no good government school will be shameful. The only technical school in this neighbourhood can boast of one stove or even a decent kitchen for home economics.