Excitement in Oghara kingdom, as illustrious son donates classroom block
Oghara community in Agbarha-Otor, Delta State, was agog recently, as Editor of The Guardian, Mr. Abraham Ogbodo, donated a block of four classrooms to Oghara Secondary School, where he once taught. Built in memory of his late grandmother, Mama Ekavweghwo Idibiago for her service to humanity, former Minister for State (Education) Kenneth Gbagi performed the official commissioning of the project, as well as unveiled late Mama Idibiago’s statue located in front of the building.
Speaking at the formal unveiling ceremony, which held at the school premises, with notable sons and daughters of Oghara and neighbouring communities, with friends and well-wishers in attendance, Ogbodo went down memory lane on what inspired the project, urging other well meaning Oghara native to join hand in uplifting the community.
“I felt compelled to build this classroom block because, I wanted it to be a wakeup call for other members of our community out there that government alone cannot do everything for us; we need to help build our home. We have very successful people in this community; we have always lived in a communal manner. This school was founded in 1980 when I had left secondary school, which was why I didn’t school here. We all took part in the building of this school when it started, as a community service. And while I was in the university, every of my holidays were spent in this community teaching; I taught here for four years,” he said.
According to Ogbodo, Oghara Secondary School was established through community effort before government eventually stepped in.“I remember when the community decided to establish the school, there was a fund raising for the purpose and the sum of N20, 000 was raised. The money was used to erect this school, which was later handed over to government and that was how the school ended. However, there was no further development until recently, when the building collapsed and government had to do these other blocks,” he said, pointing at one of the old blocks in the premises.
Meanwhile, ever before Ogbodo took up the challenge of erecting the new block, he had in the past made efforts to get the Delta State Government to intervene in the school, but that effort yielded no result.
“In fact, on one of my vacations in the village, I placed a call to the former governor of the State, Emmanuel Oduaghan, telling him about the urgent need of a school building in the community. Of course, he promised to do something, but nothing came out of it.”
On why the project was dedicated to the memory of his grandmother, Ogbodo explained, “she was actually my aunt, but I regarded her as a grandmother; she and my father were the only surviving children of my grandparents. She was the first child, while my father was the last, but all the children between them died. She gave me the love in this community; I followed her everywhere she went. Her love was not only to me, but also to every child of the Odje family,” he said.
As far back as 1976, when he was still in class two, Ogbodo had promised to build houses for his father, mother and grandmother in Oghara. But unfortunately, his grandmother died in 1994, when he was still cutting his teeth in journalism.
“As at today, I have fulfilled the promises I made to my parents. So, I decided to build a house in memory of my grandmother, a house that would last; that was how the idea of building this classroom block came about,” he said.
The classroom block seems the most significant of all for Ogbodo.“This house would last forever. I can only guarantee my house while I am alive, but what happens when I am dead, I don’t know. I must also mention that my uncle Dr. Richard Iyasere is also building a church for this community. These are houses that would be guaranteed by the community, government and everybody even after we have departed this world,” he said.
While appreciating the gesture on behalf of Oghara community, Chief Dr. Richard Uyasere, commended Ogbodo for joining hands in developing the community, urging other well-meaning citizens to emulate such moves.While commissioning the building, Gbagi, who has been friends with Ogbodo since 1987, during their NYSC days, pleaded to support the initiative by partnering in furnishing the classrooms with needed facilities.