By Chief Charles O. Okereke, Nigeria Masterweb
(Saturday, August 4th, 2001)
*World acclaimed Chinua Achebe will be keynote speaker
Distinguised Old Boys including those pictured below will be there
Who are the Umuahians, and why are they meeting in New Jersey? If you infer from the word 'Umuahia', the name of a Nigerian town, you are wrong. Umuahians are both current and ex-students of Government College Umuahia. This school has contributed its might in the transformation of the world, through its traditional resourceful and distinguished alumni products. Umuahians are taking the lead and showing the light from Africa to Europe, and all over the world. World acclaimed Chinua Achebe, the literary super power is nothing but one of the many distinguished products of Government College Umuahia. Daily, news of more rising Umuahian stars are been heard, from Lucius Nwosu winning cases against oil companies in Nigeria, to Charles Aniagolu rocking western radio waves. In the traditional arena, Umuahians are not left out; the Odiche 1 of Arochukwu, Dr. Ezekwe Ojinmah, is another shining Umuahian.
Umuahians will be holding their first international convention/reunion in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A. from Friday, October 26, 2001, to Sunday, October 28, 2001. Literary gaint, Chinua Achebe will deliver the keynote address. Distinguished Old Boys of the school are expected to attend from all over the world. The general public is invited, interested parties have to make their own hotel booking arrangements. A whole wide range of subjects affecting the alma mater, alumni, Nigeria and the world in general, will be discussed. The folowing Umuahian goal getters were instrumental in the successful planning of the event, Charles O. Ukattah( President, Abia State Association, N.J., U.S.A. ) and Charles O. Okereke( Publisher, Umuahians.Com & Nigeria/Africa Masterweb ).
Here is a brief history of Government College Umuahia:
In 1929, Government College Umuahia, was one of the three secondary schools founded by the British colonial government around the traditions of British Public Schools at Eton, Harrow and Winchester. The other two were Government College Ibadan, and Government College Zaria( Berewa College ). This was the reason why in those days Government College Umuahia, was known as the 'Eton of the East'. The first of the Government Colleges of course was Kings College, founded in 1909 in Lagos, but the point was that the British imperial policy was constrained at some point. The constraint was the huge resources the British thought it expended in administering the empire and the colony. To this, it designed to create the equivalents of its public schools in the colonies, and in this particular sense in Nigeria, funded them very well, took a select few of the brightest boys around to prepare them in the technical and administrative running of the state. This gave birth to the three Government Colleges founded around British Public- Schools traditon, of which Government College Umuahia, was one of them. The late Robert Fisher was Government College Umuahia's first ( founding ) principal.
Government College Umuahia reflect an indescribable kind of heritage having produced some of Nigeria's most important men in a life time. In one generation, Umuahia , as this school is popularly known produced such men in the arts as the renowned novelists Chinua Achebe, Chukwuemeka Ike, Elechi Amadi, INC Aniebo, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and poets like Christopher Okigbo, and Gabriel Okara. There was also the renowned artist Ben Enwonwu, and distinguished personalities such as Jaja Wachukwu, Okoi Arikpo, N.U. Akpan, Victor Mukete, Dr. Endley( former premier of Southern Cameroon ), Dr. J.O.J Okezie( first republic Minister of Health ), and academics like Prof. Bede Okigbo, Kelsey- Harison, Wilfred Chukudebelu, E.J. Allagoa, Donald Ekong, Laz Ekwueme, and Dagogo- Fubara. Umuahia was the pride of West Africa when people like I.D. Erekosima would blast mathematics at Yaba Higher College and would be the best student in the London matriculation examinations of the British empire, and Donald Ekong, Martin Nwaji, and Chris Oyeka to name a few would graduate in first class honours in chemistry. In the unending list are soldiers like George Kurubo( first Southern Nigerian officer at- Sandhurst ), Alex Madiebo, Tony Eze, Anwuna, Tim Onwuatuegwu, Emelifionwu, and infact the top cream of Nigeria's well trained officers before the civil war.
In the current democratic dispensation, two out of the five south east governors are Umuahians. These Umuahian governors are Chief Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State, and Dr. Achike Udenwa of Imo.
Umuahians( students and alumni of Umuahia ), are known for their discipline and high moral values. One of the first attributes of Government College Umuahia( Umuahia ), is the value it inculcates, which is that moral inscribed on the great portals of the school's Stone Library 'To Be As Straight As The Ruler'.Related Links: Umuahia History by Iwedi Ojinmah( Ojinmah, I. ), Class of '78
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