By Chimereze Okoro
Mazi John Kanu Okoro is the global President of Mary Slessor Secondary School, Old Students Association (MASOSA). He spoke to Aro News from his base in the Republic of Ireland about the association’s plan for the institution
Aro News (AN): Hello; kindly introduce yourself
JKO: Good morning, thanks for having me. Well, I am Mazi John Kanu Okoro from Obinkita village, Arochukwu. I am a pioneer student (1982 set) of Mary Slessor Secondary, Technical School. I am also the current Global President of MASOSA.
AN: How long has MASOSA been in existence?
JKO: MASOSA – which is Mary Slessor Old Students Association – has been in existence for 3years now, and was officially registered as a legal entity on the 22nd of November, 2018.
AN: What has been MASOSA’s major contribution to the school?
JKO: The major contribution to the school is reuniting old students from different sets and embarking on renovation of the school’s science block. This science block was dilapidated, but we have, through our conscious effort, concluded the project, and it is ready for handover this year.
AN: What is MASOSA’s relationship with the school management?
JKO: Yea, our relationship with the school management is very cordial. Recall that the school has been for some time now under the management of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. The BOT Chairman happens to be Barr. Steve Amaramiro and he has been reaching out to us on several occasions.
AN: What is the MASOSA programme for this season?
JKO: This season, the Old Student Association will be having our second annual reunion programme. The Planning Committee chaired by Mr. Steve Dozer Elekwa has lined up several events, including the handing over of the renovated science block to the school management. We will also have our usual physical fitness, and as usual, round off the programme with a gala nite and evening party at the Accord Hotel, Atani, Arochukwu.
AN: How do you intend to achieve your membership drive?
JKO: Through newspaper publications, electronic/social media and personal contacts of members. We have been speaking to leaders of various class sets and this has been yielding expected results.
AN: Since you are leading the interim Exco, when do you intend to conduct an election?
JKO: The executive committee, under my leadership, recently constituted an electoral committee, and their report is being reviewed by the whole house for necessary consideration. However, the election will hold by the first quarter of next year – 2021.
AN: What strategies are you adopting to unify the various sets in existence?
JKO: We are reaching out to various sets executives on the need to have one formidable association, and we are making progress in that regard.
AN: What are the reactions of the school community in all the projects done so far?
JKO: It has been a very positive reaction from the school community. In fact, they are pleased about our intervention to renovate the classroom block.
AN: Is the reunion an annual event?
JKO: Yes, it is now an annual event and we are on 2nd edition this year.
AN: What other projects do you have in mind to execute?
JKO: We intend to renovate all classroom blocks and offices in the school, but it has to be one-step at a time.
AN: We learnt that you are based in the Republic of Ireland, what has been the experience leading this association from the Diaspora?
JKO: Yes, you are correct; I reside in Republic of Ireland. It has not been easy, but the experience is worth it due to the support from our members. However, to be on social media (WhatsApp) always is not my thing.
AN: What are your projections for MASOSA?
JKO: My projection for MASOSA is that in the next few years, we will be a household name in Southeastern region, and will be a reference point to other old students associations.
AN: What advice do you have for the School management and current students?
JKO: My sincere advice to the school management is to raise the standard of teaching, encourage students to concentrate on their studies and of course, discipline should be the watchword. Moreover, to students, we are renovating the classrooms to give you a conducive environment to learn, take your studies serious; education is the key to success.
AN: You seem to have many projects in mind, what are the financial implications of these to members and how do you raise the needed fund?
JKO: Yes, we have many projects in mind. Thank God we have committed members who sacrifice their resources to ensure we succeed in our mission.
AN: What is your advice to old students that are yet to join the association?
JKO: I encourage all old students to join the association; no one should sit on the fence, collectively we will achieve a lot to the benefit of the school.
AN: Thank you for your time.
JKO: Thank you very much for having me.