There are strong indications that December 28 and 29 this year promise to be remarkable in the history of Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu.
These two days have been set aside by the alumni association of the college for activities geared towards raising funds to rebuild the college, and restore its lost glory.
Already, elaborate arrangements are in top gear to accomplish the activities lined up for what the leadership of the association described as a grand re-union of its old boys and girls, from all over the world.
Part of it is a novelty football match slated for December 28 between the male and female old students of the college; road show, lecture, awards presentation and gala nite, which will culminate in fundraising. All facets of the event, it was learnt, are being tidied up.
President of the alumni association, Mazi Emma Okoro Egbukwu, said “the homecoming of old students of Aggrey Memorial College promises to be colourful, the planning of which had been entrusted to diligent old students who understand the enormity of the task. So far, I am impressed with the planning, as well as the feelers we are getting. In fact, the event will be both colourful and successful.”
He said “the committees have been working hard in the last six months planning the event. We are all involved because we have challenged ourselves to raise funds to rebuild the college that built us up.”
Indeed while it is expected that several of the old students of the college will fly in from around the world for the occasion, Egbukwu said important personalities in Nigeria who value quality education are being invited to join hands to resuscitate the decrepit infrastructure of the college.
Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu is the first co-educational post-primary school in Nigeria established by an individual. It was founded by the late Dr Alvan Ikoku in 1932, and named after a renowned Ghanaian educator, Dr James Kwegair Aggrey. It ranked along with Dennis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS), Onitsha; Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar, and Kings College, Lagos. In its heyday, the college also admitted students from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
But following the takeover of schools by the government, the college suffered neglect, resulting in systemic deterioration of its infrastructure.
Today the college is a shadow of its former self, a large swathe of its space having been acquired by the Abia State College of Education, Arochukwu (ASCETA), leaving Aggrey Memorial College without good classrooms; boarding facilities for its students and, least of all offices for the teachers.
Yet the institution has trained a host of prominent personalities including the late Mazi S.G Ikoku, Dr K.O Mbadiwe, and the first post-Independence skipper of the Green Eagles, John Onyeador among others who have distinguished themselves in different spheres of life.
Egbukwu is nonetheless optimistic that the institution will bounce back, given the overall agenda of the alumni association, which is to first re-build the institution before liaising with the appropriate government agencies to re-tool the teaching staff.