By Ayo Agholor, and Godstime

            The good  people of Ute-Ogbeje kingdom in Ika Northeast
local government area are obviously not against any educational programmes that
will be of benefit to their community. For how could one explain the condition
of a school that was established close to a century in 1919. Precisely 95 years
ago, Igwebuike Primary School situated at the entry point into the kingdom was
founded primarily to feed the only modern school also at Ute- Ogbeje. These two
institutions unfortunately and pathetically are moribund and a shadow of what a
school should be. When our reporters visited the community, we confirmed indeed
that it has been abandoned and overtaken by weeds and undesirable people in the
community. Except for the rusty sign board showing some skeletal inscription of
the school name, it would have been difficult to tell if a school existed

            Navigating through the bush path
into the school was not pleasurable with the whole atmosphere oozing with the
remains of faces left by weed smokers.

            It will interest the government to
know that this school is located on a half kilometer plot of land compared to
the only public Primary School; Ogbeje Primary School which was founded years
after it and situated on a small portion of land. Ogbeje Primary School is so
small that there is no space for recreational or extra curricular activities as
all the buildings are too closely built for comfort. Why should the State
Universal Basic Education Board (SUPEB) under Comrade Ejete decide  to ignore a school with enough land space to
investing in a school with little land space?

            Does is it sound rational? Why
should a vibrant community like Ute-Ogbeje have only one primary school since
1919. There could be no tenable reason why SUPEB should pursue a programme to
deny the children of this community their fundamental constitutional right to
primary education. This we see as a short fall in development  planning which should not be allowed  in the realm of education for our youths. Our
team visited the Obi  of Ute-Ogbeje
kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Gabriel Chukwuma Jikeme I (JP) who thanked the Ika
Weekly Newspaper for our intervention saying: Actually the school is
one of the most ancient schools we have in this town and one of the most
popular schools we have in the then Ika district. We have made several
representations to SUPEPB, under Comrade Ejete. Each time we meet him, he
assures us that something will be done. 
Uptil now, nothing has been done. Whether the school is officially or
indirectly closed, is not clear to us. Personally I wouldn’t want the school to
be closed down. For a community that used to have five primary schools, now
having one public primary school is not healthy for our people and nation,” the
monarch said.

            We also searched and spoke to one of
the most respected voices in the community, a retired educationist, a fighter
for humanity, and the Eleme of Ute Ogbeje kingdom, Chief A. I Sonwu, who
confirmed the community has made every effort to see to the revitalization of
the school without success. “What we initially heard was that SUPEB  under Comrade Ejete was coming to close the
school. I said I wasn’t going to mid wife over the closure of a school I
attended and that has produced so many no table Nigerian citizens. I refused.
So, later they changed saying they want to fix it and that the community should
organize for the clearing of the bush which we did. Ever since we cleared the
bush, we never saw them. If they close down the school, History is there to
tell. The teachers have been removed to a school with no land for expansion.
That is, Ogbeje Primary School. They continue to squeeze even into backyard.
Does it make sense?” he asked. Because of the kind of society we live in, one
may be tempted to ask if the Delta State government has not really released
funds for the revitalization of the school and 
maybe the funds have found its way into someones pocket. Or could be one
of those school that was reportedly fenced, and that wasn’t?  Governor Uduaghan must hear this. The school
has not received any attention from what we saw. SUPEB has failed the people of
Ute Ogbeje. Allowing this school to die is not in the interest of our people.
Education remains the key to brightening the path of our people from  ignorance. The development of the most
valuable asset, the human being starts from the primary level which must be
given all impetus. This is the key to unraveling the problem of
underdevelopment and backwardness. We expect the SUPEB team to know better.
Nigeria is one of the richest countries in the world where government spents
only 8% of it national budget on education (thanks to president Jonathan) as
against 26% recommended by UNESCO. Let it be sounded loud and clear to the
drivers of our economy that crude oil and other mineral resources are not the
most important assets but the human asset. When it comes to the issue of
education corrupt officials in government must steer clear of education. SUPEB
under combrade Ejete must not commit this greet DISSERVICE to our people at Ute
Ogbeje. After 95 years of the schools existence, these  community should be spralling with so many
public primary school. This is what we call REAL DEVELOPMENT . If SUPEb thinks
it can pull a wool on the faces of Ute- Ugbeje people, then they should have a
rethink. We hope the senator representing Delta North will also ensure that no
damage or hurt is done to Ute Ugbeje people as regards education. Ute Ogbeje
people at home and diaspora must be determined using all democratic and legal
instruments available in our country to see that what rightfully belongs to
them is not destroyed by self serving people within the government. This
community which is one of the neatest in Nigeria (courtesyNEST/FORD FOUNDATION
) should be praised for taking the bull by the horn for ensuring so many
developmental programs. This is a good sign post for inward and forward
development. Only egg heads could achieve good development strides. This is
2014 and the battle line is drawn between the progressives and the forces of

            The fight must be concerted and won
against all forces of dilution. We in Ika Weekly, know it is not going to
be an easy fight but with God on our side,the entire people of Ikaland shall be
librated from darkness into unquenchable light. Five years from now, all light
bearers in Ika nation would assemble at Igwebuike Primary school Centenary
celebration. Ceteris Paribus, it shall happen.              



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