Hope rises for Hussey college as old students donate towards infrastructural development
Rewards Deserving Members At Lagos Dinner
The BICS Waterfront Marque, Lekki, Lagos, recently hosted dignitaries, including old students of Hussey College Warri Lagos Branch, who converged for their Yearly Dinner.Held under the chairmanship of Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, with HRM, Oba Tijani Akinloye Sateru II as Royal father of the Day, while Prof Grace Alele Williams is Special Guest of Honour, the evening, which doubled as the President’s Night, was an opportunity for the old students to not only network and unwind, but also raise fund for the development of their alma mater.
Established on February 3, 1947, Hussey College was named after Eric Robert James Hussey, the first British Director of Education in Nigeria. Though it started as an only boys school, the college became a mixed school in 1960 after the introduction of the first set of girls. However, the school was reverted to an only boys college in 2001 and renamed Hussey Boys Model College by the Delta State Government.Again, in 2014, Hussey College was reverted to a mixed secondary school, with seven competitive Houses; four for boys and three for girls. Over the year’s, the school has achieved a lot in athletics and football, which was like a religion.
However, from a video of the school screened at the dinner, it’s obvious that all is not well with the college as a result of poor funding, which has led to decay of facilities. While the school yearning for more facility and expansion, the existing ones need urgent attention.
In a bid to help restore the glory of Hussey College, the old students raised funds at the dinner, which will be channelled towards renovation of facilities in the school and provision of new ones, especially hostel accommodation for girls. Speaking at the event, which had Bismark Rewane as guest speaker, the President of Hussey College Old Students, Lagos Branch, Joseph Velley Awala informed that the event is tailored towards awarding deserving old students of the school, as well as supporting the school through donations.
“It’s two events in one; we have the Annual Dinner and the President’s Night. We do this every year and the executive members come up with an objective for the year. So, for the next two years, what we’ve decided to do is to take care of ourselves as old students and development of our alma mater. We have programme where we meet the financial, social, physical needs of our members.”
Recalling the good old days of Hussey College, Awala said, “By the time we attended Hussey College, it was a private school in Delta States; it was an Ivy League school then. But when government took over the college, the standard came down definitely. So, that’s why we want to do all we can to raise the standard in terms of structure. We’ve started the renovation of the girls’ hostel and we also want to build a new one because the ones they have are not enough. We believe in girl child education; we believe that the best way to do it is really in boarding house. So, that’s why we are trying to develop the hostels, build a new one, so that we can have enough girls in the school,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Special Guests of Honour, Prof Grace Alele William highlighted the need to have more girls in school, even as he commended Hussey College Old Students for their kind gesture in support of girl child education. For the chairman of the occasion, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, the time has come for private sector and individuals to get involved with the management and funding of schools in Nigeria.
“Government cannot do everything alone. Hussey College has produced outstanding, prosperous Nigerians, who should be able to, at least, give back to the College. They are raising the funds for difrent sections in the school, especially girls’ education. They believe that women should also be more encouraged because of people like Grace Alele William. During our days, women were not allowed into secondary school and it is time to encourage women, particularly in the rural areas, to go to school. The educational standout of women in Nigeria is still very low and our own view is that we must have conscious effort to develop the women.”
Adeseye recalled that Hussey College Warri used to be a leader in the area of sports, but regretted that secondary schools in Nigeria today lack sports facilities.
“You can hardly see a sport person, who grew up from secondary school, to university and then to National Honours. In those days, majority of our athletes were playing in secondary schools. Today, people don’t even go to school again because they say they are professional footballers from primary school.”
On the way forward, the former Minister of Works said, “Then, schools had Physical Education (PE) and masters that were training them, but these days, hardly can you find a school with a director of sports. There are no enough competitions any longer, but at the time, it was a big competition between schools. Up till today, some people are friends from football fields and inter-house sport. But things have gone bad; we need to bring all that back,” he said.The awardees at the even include HRM, Oba Tijani Adetunji Akinloye, Admiral Festus Porbeni and Victor Ogbeyiwa Eburajolo.