The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has given insight into the importance of voluntary agencies in the development of critical sectors in our society.
Obi who said this at the weekend during an interaction at the National Conference of Old Boys Association of Nsukka High School,(Anglican Grammar School), revealed how his partnership with the voluntary agencies, helped him to achieve integrated development in Anambra State during his governorship of the state.
The LP standard bearer noted especially the impact of voluntary agencies in the critical sectors of Education, Health, and Poverty Eradication when he was the Governor of the State.
He explained that due to the government’s apparent neglect of these critical sectors across the country, many voluntary agencies have continued to fill the gap by providing educational and health services through schools and hospitals.
He stated that in the case of Anambra, he partnered with them in areas of education by not only handing over missionary schools back to their original owners but also funding such schools and investing aggressively in education in the State. He said that by so doing, he was able to revive the then-comatose educational sector in the State.
“As the Governor, I understood that Universal Basic Education in Nigeria is free, as stipulated by Nigerian law, so I ensured that all the schools, both state-owned and those of voluntary agencies offering basic education in Anambra, are supported by the government. The truth is that provision of education, at the basic level, is the duty of government, and the voluntary agencies must be commended for their support,” Obi said.
Obi further commended the old boys for their efforts and support in maintaining a good standard of education in the school, while urging them to do more. He explained the concept of planned giving through which the alumni of an institution can raise funds, continuously for their school. If adopted, Obi assured them that it would help them realize enough funds to carry out projects in the school.
“For example, if you say you require 10 to 20 million Naira, annually, to maintain facilities in the school, and you are over 400 registered members of the old Boys association, at the moment, then if each member contributes on average, N50,000, even though some will contribute more, you are sure of generating N20 million yearly,” Obi explained.
He argued that the planned giving is very easy considering that the school has many successful old boys which include; the Senator representing Enugu North in the upper legislative chamber, Okey Ezeah; the Vice Chancellor of University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof Charles Igwe; four former Secretaries to the State Government; several professors; high court judges; successful businessmen and captains of industries, like Chief Onyemauche Nnamani.
Obi also pledged to participate in the planned giving, saying that he is already doing it for so many schools.
Appreciating Obi for making time to grace their national convention, the National President of Nsukka High School Old Boys Association, Chief Onyemauche Nnamani, said the old boys unanimously requested his esteemed presence in their convention because of how he has impacted the nation with his admirable leadership qualities.
The keynote address was delivered by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator representing Abia South Federal Constituency.