By NBF News

The Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi has revealed that the Federal Government is planning to reposition the 104 Federal Government Colleges nationwide. Hence a retreat was held recently with the Principals to marshal out plans of making them what they used to be.

The minister who disclosed this at the annual luncheon of the old boys of Government College, Ughelli held recently at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, noted that education is a serious business that should be given all the attention it deserves.

It was because of this that he took a memo to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently, he further revealed, asking that a university be established for every state without the presence of a Federal university. He added that unless some people take a leadership position on issues, the nation will not move forward.

Speaking on the purpose of the luncheon held to discuss the state of affairs at Government College, Ughelli, the Minister agreed that current situation of things at the college is a source of worry to stakeholders but assured that he had discussed with the President of the Old boys on what to do before the government can come in to help.

Worried by the deplorable condition of their alma mater, some stakeholders at the annual luncheon, recalling the good old days of the 65 years-old college and comparing it with the present, concluded that it is time to that school was salvaged and restored it to its lost glory.

The annual luncheon of the college attracted prominent Nigerians like the Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, Minister of Works who was represented by Mr. John Chukwu, Chief E.K. Clark, Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Uncle Sam Amuka, General David Ejoor (rtd), Chairman of Arik, Sir Joseph Arumemi, Chief Alfred Okumagba, Professor J.P. Clark, Ambassador B.A. Clark, Alhaji O.L. Salami, Director with NTA, Professor Osato Giwa Osagie, Principal of the College, Mr. Nelson Erhijefe, current Head Boy of the College, Umude Oshevire Paul, President General of Old Boys Association, G.T.S. Adokpaye and the Lagos Branch President, Dr. Taiwo Idemudia.

Speaking at the occasion, the chairman of the event, Chief Clark lamented that the college was losing its identity and said: 'today, I don't think you can differentiate the college from other schools around.'

Clark told the old boys that celebrating here (Lagos) was not enough as the last time he visited the college when it celebrated its 50th anniversary showed that things have not changed. He tasked the old boys to lead a rescue mission to salvage the situation.

'As Commissioner for Education then,' he recounted, 'I visited the college and saw the decaying structure and I had to recall the Principal back to the ministry. I and my family because of the situation decided to institute scholarship award for the students to improve the academic standards.'

In his speech, the President-General of the old boys, Chief Adokpaye, said the college has created some building blocks across the nation and tasked lawmakers to legislate for schools to have boarding facilities to enable the pupils nurture the unity of the country.

While agreeing with Chief Clark that the college is passing through some difficulties, the President, Lagos Branch of the association, Dr. Idemudia, noted that the annual luncheon event was meant to raise funds and also to give awards to persons who have contributed to the progress of the college.

He disclosed that while the association is supporting the scholarship scheme by the Clark family, it is also focusing on the quality of teachers and assured that the college will continue to produce high-quality students who will do the college proud.

The Principal, Mr. Erhijefe, mentioned the issue of students' indiscipline as one of the problems confronting the college but noted that the old boys had promised to take up the matter with the state government to make the college boarding. He also talked about renovation of the Principal and staff quarters and some boarding houses, rehabilitation of roads, provision of school bus and provision of well-equipped library and other facilities as some of the things that need urgent attention in the school.

Erhijefe who paid glowing tributes to the old boys, urged others to emulate their good work and said with the changes put in place, the college has continued to attract parents and children as enrolment has increased from 739 in 2009/2010 session to about 792 in 2010.

The occasion was used to launch two magazines, 'The making of a role model' by Mac Morgan Asemota and 'The treasure hunt' by Rolic Oboh in support of the on- going renovation works at the college while Professor John Moyibi Amoda, delivered a lecture titled 'The challenges of the moment: The renewal of the wisdom of the founders of Independent Nigeria.'