How ECDA Leadership Strives To Sustain Standard, Addressing Impediments In ECSS
By Anthony Adgidzi
The saying that education is the bedrock of any thriving society, is no doubt a fact that has come to bear in the Eggon community, benefiting the people in many areas of endeavours.
Undoubtedly, the assertion has confirmed the fact that education helps in the entire development of people and communities.
Consequently, today, there are two functional and reliable community secondary schools in Eggon land, playing a key role in the educational development of the people. They are: Eggon Community Secondary School, Nassarawa-Eggon and Wana Community Secondary School, Kagbu, all in Nassarawa Eggon Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Beside the educational development of the people, the community schools have created job opportunities, lessened the financial burden on parents in terms of school fees and increased school enrolment among others.
It is against this backdrop that, this piece focuses on the Eggon Community Secondary School, a treasure that was discovered by the Eggon Cultural Development Association (ECDA), a socio-cultural group of the Eggon People.
Understanding the role of a community in the education of its people, informed why the ECDA conceived the idea to help nurture and prepare children of indigent or low-income parents who don’t have the means to enrol their children in expensive private schools around them to be part of society.
Established in September 1979, the Eggon Community Secondary School has existed to fulfil the dreams of its founding fathers and has over the years complemented government efforts in disciplining and grooming students of Eggon Community Secondary School to be better leaders of society.
The school which is an initiative, now a pet project of the Eggon Cultural Development Association (ECDA), was founded 43 years ago during the leadership of the Alhaji Adamu Musa (now late), the then ECDA President. The school was established to operate as a boarding and day school.
Livinus Namo is the pioneer principal, who started the school with 25 students and after serving for a while, he handed over to Mrs Mary Kudu who briefly spearheaded the school and left for a greener pasture. The vacuum created by her existence put the proprietor on their toes searching for a graduate to head the school. Mr Odame Agyei, a Ghanaian, who was also a classroom teacher in the school, came in handy and held brief on acting capacity.
Thereafter, Danlami Tsakpa, who was also a teacher in the school was appointed substantive principal. Tsakpa served for one year also left to join the services of the then Plateau State Government.
Knowing how Odame Agyei justified the confidence reposed on him with competence, commitment and seriousness, ECDA was then not worried about looking for someone to replace Tsakpa. The proprietor then appointed Agyei as a substantive principal of the school. The trio of Namo, Kudu and Tsakpa laid solid foundation upon which the school is still enjoying today.
Agyei, who served as principal for 26 years, meticulously sustained the tempo of shaping the character of the students and the growth of the school.
The first set of the school completed in 1984 and so far, from 1984 to date, 38 sets graduated from the school, and today, the school has produced so many notable Eggon sons and daughters, who are in the high positions in their fields of endeavour.
Before going any further, it will interest one to know that most community secondary schools that were established in almost the same period as Eggon Community Secondary School are either not in existence or struggling to survive.
At its take-off, up to early 80s, the Eggon Community Secondary School was among schools, such as Wana Community Secondary School, and Mwaghavul Community Secondary School that were enjoying subventions from the then Plateau State Government. The school was first sub-vented with Five Thousand Naira and subsequently rose to N10, 000, N20, 000 and N30, 000 respectively, depending on the needs of the school, and the said amount used to be for a whole session.
The school, Eggon Community Secondary School, which started with a block of five classrooms, and subsequently with another block, including a staff room, is today proud of having additional five blocks of classrooms, ICT/Internet facilities, a multipurpose hall, a library, a computer laboratory, two boreholes, hostel accommodations, science laboratory, and two buses among other facilities in the school.
The school has grown fast to become a symbol of the Eggon Nation, and a sustainable heritage that must be nurtured with utmost priority by all the Eggon sons and daughters. That is to say, the school is a project of all, and whether ECDA stops functioning or not, the school must not collapse.
The establishment of the school, however, explains how much, aside from farming, the Eggon people love education, and this further confirm why among the various tribes in Nasarawa State, the Eggon Nation has so many Professors, Academic and Medical doctors, Master’s degree holders within and outside the shores of Nigeria, with many aspiring to gain entrance into the higher institutions of learning to attain the feat.
Those plying the Lafia – Nassarawa Eggon road can testify or have been testifying about the well-mannered, disciplined and the uniqueness of the students, where when going to or from school, they move along the busy highway in uniform, being conscious of traffic rules and regulations, even as cases of truancy, absenteeism, lateness during school hours are intolerable acts in the school.
The students who always dress neatly in white top shirts, blue trousers and blouses for the girls, as school uniform, conspicuously endear themselves to many members of the public passing along that route.
For years, the school enjoyed enviable and exemplary renown or prominence because of the standard maintained and from all indications, the standard of discipline in character and learning remains quite high.
Considering the nature of the road, where some students had to trek about two or more kilometres to the school, there was no time, according to records, a student or students were knocked down by a moving vehicle, as road users on their part always apply caution when approaching Nassarawa-Eggon, knowing well that the students are at risk of any recklessness on the way.
To say the least, the general academic performance of the students was exceptionally excellent at that time, which shows that the teachers were not resting on their oars in impacting sound teaching on the students.
The parents of the students who were satisfied with the output of their wards were confident that, should the management of the school be accorded the necessary support, their children would be better off, hence the prompt payment of school fees. The school fee per student at the initial stage was in the range of Fifteen Naira (N15, 00), which was difficult for some parents.
The creation of Nasarawa State in 1996 and subsequent enthronement of civil government in 1999 gave the school more prominence and gains, as being one of the highly rated schools that attracted enrolment of close to one thousand students.
Due to the high standard of discipline and performance of the students in both NECO and WAEC examinations and other curricular activities, this moved the first civilian Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, to show interest in the the school.
The interest shown by the Nasarawa State to accord the school the needed support further brought Eggon Community Secondary School to limelight and prominence, as not only the best secondary school in the state, but one of the top-rated community schools in the north central states and the country at large.
It is on record that, the state government carried out some infrastructural development in the school, such as the construction of male and female hotels, drilling of borehole, provision of science equipment, donation of Mekano power plant, and financial support to aid the administrative cost of the school, fencing of the school and construction of a block of four class rooms. It is important to note that the project for the male hostel was abandoned.
Aside from the projects executed by the proprietor and the state government, the school got a donation of 100 computers, two Laptops, a generating set, internet facilities, printers and other accessories by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an ICT outfit under the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
This was facilitated by the then Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku The essence was to ensure the students acquired full computer knowledge and in the case of any eventuality experienced during the COVID-19 period, they could be taught via internet from home. The gesture earned the school accreditation to be registered as one of the WAEC and NECO examination centres in the state.
No wonder, the Eggon Community Secondary School, at some point in the educational history of Nasarawa State, was leading in all aspects, setting the pace for government and privately owned secondary schools to emulate, most especially in the areas of sports, quiz and debate competitions in science and arts subjects. The school was known for always winning laurels in every competition at the state, regional or national levels.
Some of the persons who contributed in one way or the other to the growth and development of the school include: Prince Abdullahi Idde, Senator Solomon Ewuga, Senator Patricia Akwashiki, Danladi Halilu Envulu’anza, Hon. Sam Allu, Senator Yusuf Nagogo, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, Zakari Idde (late), Mr. Labaran Maku, Raymond Danjuma Akolo and Stanley John Buba (late).
The exit of Odame Agyei, who retired after clocking 60 years in services, began the steady decline of the school.
However, of late, due to concerted efforts by the proprietor, ECDA, the school is again back to its footing, replicating the successes that earned it much admiration by many.
Credit must however go to the present ECDA leadership led by David Mandy Abuluya and the current management team of the school, headed by Mamud Ubangari, an educationist and a retired Nassarawa-Eggon Local Government Education Secretary, who are taking up the responsibility of restoring and revamping the operational system in the school for sound teaching and learning.
This is largely responsible to the existing peace and the support accorded to ECDA leadership, hence the latest move to reposition and to address the enormous challenges confronting the school.
Ubangari who has clean records while serving as ES, was called upon by ECDA to revive the school that was almost collapsing with few students. He started his campaign with the education authority of the locality, canvassing for students’ enrolment.
As a commitment to boost confidence and to encourage other parents to return and/or enrol their children in the school, the principal alongside other staff, whose children were schooling elsewhere are now students of Eggon Community Secondary School. Ubangari is said to be moving from house to house, mostly around Eggon Communities to sensitise parents on the current state of the school.
It is evident that, since Ubangari took over the management of the school as principal, he has maintained a consistent academic standard, comparably to what was the case in past; high moral value, discipline, excellent academic performance, accountability, prudency and growth. So far, the school has a total of about 412 students in its records, with 13 teaching staff and 9 corps members.
Perhaps, aside from the effort being made by the school management, the proprietor is also looking inward to holistically revamp the school to an enviable height, pegging the school at N5, 000.
This explains why the proprietor, in recognition of the present economic reality, graciously declared free education for junior students from JSS 1 to JSS 3, while those from SSS 1 to SSS 3 now pay N2,500 as school fees per student.
With its attainment over the years, the running of the school and the composition of the management team and governing council members should go beyond the scope of ECDA, and where the proprietor cannot finance the running of the school, including staff welfare, there shouldn’t be cause to worry as to how to sustain the legacy of our founding fathers.
In other words, as a community project for the entire Eggon nation, both the Nassarawa-Eggon local government, Akun and Agidi development areas can partly take responsibility for financing the school, as part of their community development project to its people, through the Community Development departments of the areas.
Records have shown that, since the inception of Eggon Community Secondary School, there is little or no support coming from the local authority to encourage the proprietor, as those benefiting from the initiative and vision of the founding fathers are mostly from the locality. This is necessary as the role the school is playing in complementing government efforts in the areas of mentorship, moral value, impacting sound education and discipline cannot be overemphasized.
With the increasing population of students in the school, there is the need for structural expansion, employment of more staff, provision of computers and ICT facilities, science equipment for learning, improvement in the welfare of teachers, provision of furniture and desks, electrification of the school and the need to stock the school library with new books of all classes.
On the whole, the staff, students and facilities are not safe and as such, there is a need for the fencing of the school to checkmate issues of truancy, encroachment and cases of insecurity in the school.
With the ongoing efforts to inject life into life, the management of Eggon Community Secondary School is planning to introduce entrepreneurship courses in its curriculum, where students will also be trained on various skills.
Contemporary education requires scientific-oriented skills application, and if this is introduced, it will further increase the standard of education in the school.
For the proprietor, alongside the school management to strives to sustain academic standard, increase school children enrollment and to address infrastructural gaps and other impediments threatening the existence of ECSS is worth commendable, as the MD Abuluya led-ECDA leadership, being an educationist and a proprietor of a monotechnic in the state, he will not folds his hands to see the fall of the school.
It is hope that, with the launching of a N500 million appeal fund scheduled for December 3, 2022, the challenges hindering the educational development of Eggon Community Secondary School will be addressed.