Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, says his government would encourage individual contributions towards enlarging the frontiers of education in the state.
Speaking at the commissioning of blocks of classrooms, laboratories and foundation laying of a-250 sitting capacity library at Saint Andrew’s Anglican Primary School, Owo; Saint George’s Primary School, Owo and New Church Grammar School, also in Owo; Governor Akeredolu said private sector collaborations with the State Government to advance the delivery of qualitative education will be a welcome development to the government.
The projects reconstructed, renovated and equipped was wholly financed by Prince Rotimi Ibidapo Foundation, whose initiator, Prince Rotimi Ibidapo is a businessman, philanthropist and an indigene of Owo.
The event was part of activities marking the 55th Anniversary of New Church Grammar School, Owo where Prince Ibidapo had his secondary education and also had his primary school education at St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary School.
The governor described the development as rare gestures that conform with the policy thrust of his administration with the acronym “JMPPR”, which accentuate provision of functional and qualitative education.
Arakunrin Akeredolu added that the roles of public schools, especially secondary schools, cannot be overstated, as it provides universal access to affordable education and guarantees equal opportunity for all children as well as unify a diverse population, saying the type of functional and effective society that we get is largely predicated upon roles these schools play.
“In view of this, we as government will continue to strive to take the educational sector to greater heights by providing within the limit of our resources, requisite infrastructure, as well as ensuring safe and conducive learning environment for our students.
“Capacity building and reorientation of our teachers remain the major plank for bringing the required and compelling change to our education system and this, we shall pursue with vigour”, he assured.
Governor Akeredolu who commended Prince Rotimi Ibidapo for his invaluable contributions towards the development of the schools by renovating blocks of classrooms, Physics, Chemistry and Biology laboratories equipped with modern science equipment, the School Administrative block also applauded other members of the Old Students Association for their demonstration of enthusiasm at giving back to an institution that contributed significantly to making them what they are today.
Earlier the National President, Old Students Association of the School, Mr Adewale Olatunbosun Doherty thanked Arakunrin Akeredolu for making the ceremony a historic one, being the first State Governor that would visit the School since its establishment.
He appealed to the Governor to help in reconstructing the road that leads to the School and also check the unwholesome activities of land grabbers who have encroached on the school land which had left the school with nothing or little for future expansion.
In his address, the Principal of New Church Grammar School, Owo, Mr Bamidele Olowu expressed satisfactions at the roles of the school at providing qualitative education to Nigerian boys and girls through the services of competent, highly trained and motivated teachers.
The Principal however said that loose entries into the school compound thereby making discipline, concentration and security enforcement difficult by the school authority appealed for continued support from the State Government and the old Students’ Association.
The Initiator of the donor foundation, Prince Rotimi Ibidapo appealed to the State Government to turn the school to a Comprehensive Secondary school where students could undergo vocational trainings, acquire skills and become self-employed after graduation.
“When the School begins vocational training, students will be adequately prepared to face the challenges of life by being self-employed upon graduation, rather than having themselves been thrown into the saturated labour market where competition for white collar jobs is very fierce where they exist”, he said.
The Philanthropist who stated that his desire to embark on the projects was born out of his desire to give back to the society in appreciation for moulding him to prominence, appealed to other well-to-do Owo indegenes to also contribute their quotas towards the development of their communities.
Also speaking, Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Aladelusi described Prince Rotimi Ibidapo as a great philanthropist who has continued to transform lives positively.
While commending him for the visionary projects whose impacts would not be limited to the schools and Owo Community alone, the Deji of Akure admonished well-meaning individuals to endeavour to always contribute their quotas, however small, to the development of their alma mater and the society that made them.
The Oniyere of Iyere Owo, Oba Alaba Omotunde Adako said the initiative would spur more sons and daughters of Owo Kingdom to remember giving back to the ancient town.
The projects include 8 blocks of 37 classrooms with offices ,chairs, tables and toilets for Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church and Saint George’s Primary Schools while at New Church Grammar School, Physics, Chemistry, Biology Laboratories fully equipped with ten blocks of classrooms were reconstructed and renovated.
Dignitaries who graced the ceremony included; Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, Ojumu of Owo, High Chief Lanre Famakinwa who represented Olowo of Owo, Oba Victor Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, Oniyere of Iyere, Oba Omotunde Alaba Adako, Col. Roland Omowa (Rtd), Interim Caretaker Chairman of Owo Local Government, Hon. Gani Omoluka, old students of the school and other illustrious Sons and Daughters of Owo.