Rev. Fr. Harry Edah, Principal, Mater Dei College, Ashaka, Delta State, has appealed to the school’s old students, Delta Government and Non-Governmental Organisations to rescue it from going down.
He made the appeal in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, saying that the school was in dare need of rehabilitation.
Mater Dei College, founded in 1962, is a Catholic-owned institution and is being managed by the Catholic Diocese of Warri.
He said prior to his assumption of duty at Mater Dei college on Jan. 31, 2022, he heard many positive stories about it, but was disappointed on arrival because of its current deplorable state.
“Upon my assumption, some parts of the school fence had collapsed largely due to the flood that had ravaged the entire country since 2013, the classroom blocks all dilapidated.
“The library, laboratories, ICT centres and all the structures that make up great schools were all in a ramshackle state,” he said.
According to Edah, the taking over of the school management by government did not help in anyway.
He explained that even after the school was handed over to the Catholic Mission in 2010, the former principal tried his best even with little resources at his disposal.
He added that the task of moving the school forward was enormous and needed the collaboration of all, including government, its old boys, the host community and spirited individuals.
“I met only a few students with a tuition fee not even enough to cover the salaries of the team of staff adequately.
“When you consider the fact that the standard of the school over the years must be maintained with adequate and well qualified teachers, you will realise there is need to go the extra mile.
“Many persons have encouraged admission drive which I have been doing passionately since I assumed office, but not many parents are willing to bring their children for enrollment due to the dilapidated state of the school,” he said.
Edah added that in spite of the situation, he would not be discouraged, but keep fighting to save the situation and to bring the school back to its old glory.
“Premised on this, I am appealing to the old students of Mater Dei College, Ashaka, the Delta State Government, Non-Governmental Organisations and all men and women of goodwill, to come to our aid.
“They should assist and support us with the reconstruction of the perimeter fence, renovation of classroom blocks, laboratories, library, ICT centre and hostel facilities.
“I am not calling on you to pick up all the projects in the school, it is my job to do so, that is why I have been sent here, but am handicapped at the moment because of the low student population.
“You can pick up a project, either as individuals, as a class, or even as a chapter, no matter how small the contribution is, you complete the circle,” he said.
The principal expressed optimism that ones the school is rehabilitated with the support of its stakeholders, its student enrollment and population would increase.
Earlier, Clement Chikogu, National President, Mater Dei Old Boys Association, said the old students, principal, staff and current students of the college would had celebrated its Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 2022.
He added that the event had to be cancelled because of the devastating effect of the 2022 flood which destroyed most of the school’s infrastructure.
He said the flood destroyed most of the school’s infrastructure, thereby rendering learning and extra-curricular activities impossible from October to December, 2022.
“The destruction was so enormous due to the over flooding of the River Niger and its tributaries, this has become a yearly occurrence in recent years.
“The level of destruction is beyond the financial capability of the school principal because of low school enrollment and current population of students, ostensibly because of present state of affairs,” Chikogu said.
He said it would be sad that a school that produced great persons in different spheres of human endeavours, including Generals in the Nigerian Military, Medical Doctors, Journalists and world class professors, among others, is allowed to go(NAN)