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Emiye Girl in Retrospect, by Imonikebe

Emiye Girl statue is the brainchild of Manasseh Emamoke Imonikebe, the sculptor of Unknown Corper. The Emiye Girl is a 6ft tall sculpture in mortar produced in 1982. The sculpture stands at the entrance

Emiye Girl statue is the brainchild of Manasseh Emamoke Imonikebe, the sculptor of Unknown Corper. The Emiye Girl is a 6ft tall sculpture in mortar produced in 1982. The sculpture stands at the entrance of the Emiye Girls’ Grammar School, Oleh, Isoko South Council of Delta State.

The statue represents excellence and signifies honesty, modesty, fortitude and achievement. Therefore, the statue’s significance to the life of the school is to rekindle and arouse an unparalleled spirit of the pursuit of knowledge and the attainment of excellence in all its ramifications.

It is important to place on record that the Emiye Girl project was inspired by the unprecedented achievements as well as the achievement imagery created by the then Principal of the school, Evangelist (Mrs) Theresa Oghenekome Ekase (Nee Umebese), who incidentally passed on February 13, 2022.

“I could remember vividly the challenge this Michigan (USA) trained-graduate, Ekase, threw to me when she made a declaration that if NYSC Ondo State could motivate me to produce the statue of the Unknown Corper, she was equal to the task in providing the enabling environment for me to produce the sculpture of the Emiye Girl.”

The unveiling ceremony was held on May 4, 1982. Chief G. U. Aikpokpo, Commissioner, Teaching Service Commission, in the then Bendel State, officially unveiled the statue.

Commenting on the statue at the event, the commissioner encouraged the students to emulate the unparalleled spirit of hard work and patriotism demonstrated by the sculptor and the school authorities. Also at the ceremony, he extolled the sterling and exemplary leadership qualities and developmental strides of Ekase in giving the school a new look within one year that she assumed duty as Principal.

Moved with the high level of her satisfactory performance, the Commissioner disclosed to the general public that the Teaching Service Commission would from that day, insist on the appointment of female Principals to head all-female secondary schools in Bendel State.

The artist Imonikebe, who hails from Owhelogbo in Isoko North Council of Delta State, was a member of the teaching staff of the school and had his earlier training in art at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu. He carried out the production of the statue in 1982, a feat he achieved at his leisure at home, after his official working hours.

His Unknown Corper stands for the generality of corps members in Ondo State. The statue was unveiled on behalf of the then Governor of Ondo State, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, in 1982. The statue was mounted at the NYSC Secretariat Akure in Ondo State.

Emamoke Imonikebe is an academic staff and Professor at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Benin where he teaches Painting and conducts research.

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