Save Mater Dei College from going down, principal begs Delta Govt., others

By Emmanuel Mogbede

Rev. Fr. Harry Edah, Principal, Mater Dei College, Ashaka, in Delta, 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 an interview with newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, saying that the school is 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.

Edah said if urgent steps were not taken to rehabilitate the school, it may go into extinction like St. Mary Magdalene, a renowned girl’s secondary school in the 70s and 80s, also in Ashaka.

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, I had no befitting place to stay, some parts of the school fence had collapsed, 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, not much could be said to have been achieved.

“I can only thank my predecessors for the efforts they put in, because I know they had very little resources to work with,” Edah said.

He said 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.

“When you consider the fact that the standard of the school over the years must be maintained with adequate and well qualified teachers.

“It becomes very clear that meeting up with the salaries across four months in every term is a difficult task, let alone having enough for development.

“Many persons have encouraged admission drive which I have been doing passionately since I assumed, 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.

He said when he ran out of steam with regards to payment of salaries sometime in 2022, he immediately wrote to the diocese which came to his assistance.

“I am mentioning this so as to dissuade some of us from thinking I have not met the diocese for assistance to address the deteriorating state of the school.

“Nevertheless, I am still willing to go the extra mile to pursue that cause when the new Bishop settles in,” Edah said.

He, however, added that with the present state of the school, the new Bishop and the diocese could only do the much they could do with regards to making funds available for revamping the school.

“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, Mr Clement Chikogu, National President, Mater Dei Old Boys Association, said the old students, principal, staff and current students of the college would have 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 down(

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