Song, Dance, Laughter as Airtel Donates School to Ediba Community

By Erhumu Bayagbon

Lagos, Nigeria; July 24th, 2013: It was a joyous moment for hundreds of children, teachers and indigenes of Ediba community in Abi Local Government Area, Cross River State, when they gathered recently to witness the unveiling and commissioning of an ultra-modern school complex donated by leading Telecommunications Services Provider, Airtel Nigeria.

Tears of joy dropped from the eyes of many faces as they watched an excited crowd of pupils sing local, joyous songs and dance animatedly in sheer happiness. At another end of the school complex, some pupils were bouncing in joy as they showed off their new school bags to community elders, who watched and nodded in pride. Even the head teacher of the school, Deaconess Maria Riman, could not hide her emotions as her mood swung in ecstasy.

And when she was called to deliver her speech during the commissioning ceremony, she became very emotional, surprisingly delegating the huge task to Bunmi Solomon Egwa, a primary four pupil of the school. Young, dark-skinned and beautiful, Egwa accepted the task and read the head teacher's speech with the accustomed ease of a professional newscaster that the audience responded in a joyous roar after her inspiring delivery.

In her speech, Deaconess Riman expressed appreciation to the management and staff of Airtel Nigeria, saying the Telco has restored joy, pride and dignity to the school and the entire Ediba Community.

“Today, we are joyous that the work which started in early August 2012 has been completed and is being celebrated. In addition to the renovation and transformation of the school premises, Airtel has also provided benches, tables and chairs.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that today is one of the happiest days for our school. We pray that the Good Lord should continue to bless the Management and Staff of Airtel for this kind gesture,” she said.

The Executive Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, also joined in showering encomiums on Airtel, commending the Leading Telecommunications Operator for playing a crucial role in the development of primary education across the country.

Imoke commended Airtel for partnering with the State Government in improving the standard of education.

The Governor, who was represented by his Commissioner for Education, Professor Offiong E Offiong, specifically, thanked Airtel for the transformation of the school complex and donations to the pupils and teachers of the primary school, describing the company as a quality organization that ensures the best quality in anything it does.

“We remain very grateful to Airtel and I want to urge the entire community of Ediba to ensure that adequate security is provided to the school for maximum utilization,” he said.

Also speaking at the occasion, Airtel's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Segun Ogunsanya, who was represented by the company's Regional Operations Director, South Region, Godfrey Efeurhobo, underlined Airtel's commitment to its strategic partnerships with governments and organizations to uplift the standard of primary education in the country.

“We are delighted to partner with the government and people of Cross River State in their quest to chart a new course for the development of education.

“Without a doubt, quality education offers children the best opportunity in life to realise their dreams and become the leaders of tomorrow. A great environment is also critical to the development of a sound mind. It is, therefore, in recognition of the importance of education and as part our Corporate Social Responsibility initiative that we have committed to the adoption of public primary schools across Nigeria,” he said.

Airtel's commissioning of Presbyterian Primary School 2 is coming barely two months after a similar project was commissioned in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State with Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, wife of the state Governor unveiling the commissioning plaque with support from state Government officials, education authorities and the traditional institutions.

The Presbyterian Primary School 2 was adopted last year and reconstructed to wear a modern look while pupils and teachers of the school were provided a conducive learning environment equipped with modern facilities and teaching aids.

Airtel also provided branded school bags and furniture for the pupils and members of staff.

The event was attended by top local chiefs including the Ovia Usa of Ediba, Ovia G.B Egbe; Ovia Ubi William of Ediba West and representative of Abi Local Council Chairman, Comrade Ibi Eko Edu. Airtel staff at the event included Zonal Business Manager, South East, Onyekwucha Ikezu; Regional Marketing Manager, South Region, Airtel Nigeria, Dipo Jolaosho, CSR Manager, Airtel Nigeria, Chinda Manjor and Media Relations Manager, Erhumu Bayagbon.

The adopted school is part of Airtel's umbrella CSR program which focuses on the education of underprivileged children in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education for all. It also aims at uplifting the standard of primary education across Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the telecoms operator, upon commencement of operations in Nigeria, flagged off the Adopt-A-School programme with the multi-million naira ultra-modern blocks of classrooms, offices and lavatory facilities at Oremeji Primary School, Ajegunle in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos.