Government Secondary School, Odi In Bayelsa State Of Nigeria Receives ERI Donated Educational Materials 10th October 2006
Education in Odi Town in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region recently received a big boost when the state government secondary school there took delivery of thousands of donated books and other educational materials from Earth Rights Institute, USA on the 10th of October 2006.
The handing over ceremony which took place in the town’s modern meeting hall attracted such dignitaries as the King of Odi and his Council of chiefs, some state lawmakers, local government council staff and of course the students themselves.
Representing Earth Rights Institute at the presentation ceremony were ERI Nigeria Coordinator Gordon Abiama and Sambo Cookie a member of Odi Ecovillage Network. Also present were scores of student teachers from the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, College of Education, Port Harcourt and Ekiti State in the south west region.
The presentation ceremony, which began at 11.30 am, was 30 minutes behind schedule. This slight delay however presented opportunity for the students to treat already seated guests to some comedy shows and beautiful rendition of songs. The arrival of King Shine Apre and his council of chiefs however signaled the start of the ceremony.
Conspicuously displayed were boxes of ERI donated books and other educational materials which include non toxic chalks and dusters in full glare.
The weather was surprisingly sunny and a hand painted poster by the students, which read, “Government Secondary School, Odi Welcomes Earth Right Institute to Odi”, greeted guests approaching the entrance to the town hall, venue of the presentation. A second sign was pasted on the inside wall of the town hall right behind the seated dignitaries on the high table.
Presenting the donated items to the school which was received by the principal, Mr. Gordon Abiama briefed the gathering on ERI activities worldwide, the Odi Ecovillage project , and particularly ongoing humanitarian assistance to the Government of Bayelsa State by way of shipping hundreds of thousands of textbooks for the Niger Delta University, hospital equipment, wheel chairs and medical supplies worth hundreds of millions of Naira in value.
They were told of the fond memories ERI co-directors Alanna Hartzok and Annie Goeke still has for the community, having spent several wonderful weeks with them in Odi a few years back. Mention was also made of our indefatigable Francis Udisi who has also contributed immensely towards the success of ERI donation programme for Bayelsa State.
Receiving the donated items on behalf of the students, the principal, Mr. Forster Obubo passionately expressed the school’s deep appreciation for this great gesture by Earth Rights Institute and pledged that very good use would be made of the donated educational items. This was the first time the school was receiving such donations, he revealed.
Like the proverbial Oliver Twist, Mr. Obubo further expressed the hope that ERI would come up with more of such humanitarian gestures in future to assist such less a privileged community as Odi in the development of education for the children.
“We are extremely happy with this donation and thank Earth Rights Institute very well”, Mr Obubo said.
He then enjoined the students to cultivate a reading habit, emphasizing that it is only when they read and apply the knowledge in these books that will contribute to making their school great.
King Shine Apre began his speech by declaring:’ Earth Rights Institute has brought wisdom to Odi by bringing books for our children”. He advised the students to shun such vices as truancy, stealing and cultism but to focus on attaining what noble dreams each of them has for themselves in future.
King Shine Apre spoke lovingly about ERI co-directors Alanna and Annie and expressed regret for not coming along with the wrist watch he received as gift from them during their last visit to Odi to show off.
He then thanked ERI for its laudable efforts and reaffirmed that their activities were highly appreciated by the community, adding that he looked forward to seeing ERO co-directors in Odi again.
The senior prefect of the school was lastly called upon to speak for his colleagues concerning the donated items. “ We are happy to receive these books. Our library has been very empty but now we have books to stalk it. I wish to pledge on behalf of my fellow students that we will certainly make good use of these books”.
The event was rounded up with some light refreshments and a word of prayer offered by Chief Clever George a one time principal of Government School Odi now retired.