. . . as Cecil Ezem Osakwe Hands over Ultra Modern Hostel to School
. . . CKC has produced 3 Governors , Blessed, Cardinals, Archbishop, Bishop and many Great Men—Archbishop Okeke
By Uche Enem & Chioma Nnagbo
‘If you dream it, you can make it happen' were the words of the Archbishop of Onitsha Metropolitan, Most. Rev. Valerian Okeke, during the 85th anniversary of Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha and the handover of ultra modern hostel built by an Old Boy of the College, Barr. Cecil Ezem Osakwe on 25th November 2018.
The event which was held on the Feast Day Celebration of Christ the King was colourful and filled with students, members of Old Boys Association, friends and well wishers of the school. Delivering his homily, Most. Rev. Okeke explained the essentiality of celebrating major events and anniversaries. He said that such celebration was to remind us of whom we are and work on what we are expected to be. He said that anniversaries were celebrated to remember the past and to plan for a better future. He added that the school inherited a great history and noble heritage especially in 1977 when the school won the World Secondary School Football Championship in Dublin, Ireland.
Using his life experiences, he said that few people celebrate their anniversaries and much fewer people celebrate in healthy and sound ages. He mentioned an example of the Diamond (60 years) Priestly anniversary of Francis Cardinal Arinze, who was bubbling and full of life at his anniversary celebration in Rome. He recalled how CKC has produced many great men in the society. He added that Blessed, Cardinals, Governors, Archbishop, Bishop, Mathematicians, Scientists, Judges, Engineers, Business men were products of the noble institute.
Speaking on Primus Inter Pares meaning First Among Equals, the Prelate gave the students five principles to attain reasonable perfection in what they do. He told them that they should have a noble dream and then, they should find a method of achieving the dream. He said once they make their dream a reality, they should associate with like minded people who could contribute to their wellbeing and success. He concluded by adding perseverance and prayer as the propeller to achieving these dreams.
Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha was founded on 2nd February 1933, by the then Archbishop of Onitsha, Most. Rev. Charles Heerey, C.S.Sp. At the outset, the college shared premises with St. Charles Teacher Training College, Onitsha. In 1935, an entrance examination was organized for CKC Onitsha. Two hundred and one (201) pupils took the entrance examination and ninety (90) students were admitted into CKC. CKC was under the management of the congregation of Holy Ghost Fathers and the first Principal of the college.
After the Mass, the Archbishop blessed and opened the ultra modern hostel built by Barr. Osakwe. Afterwards, the students presented a congratulatory frame and an award plaque to the donor. The event ended with group photographs and cheers from friends and well wishers.
In an exclusive interview with Fides, Ezem Osakwe, said that the idea of building the hostel was as a result of his think home philosophy and training he got from his childhood. He said he wanted to give back to his community and to elevate the standards of his alma mater. He gave all thanks to God for the resources and thanked the Archbishop for this fatherly advice and motivation since the kick off of the project. He thanked the '85 set of CKC and the Old Boys Association (Abuja Branch) for their moral support and encouragement. Cecil Ezem expressed doubts over the mentality of students and Nigerians especially in the areas of giving back to the community. He encouraged students to work out things for themselves and to stop blaming the government for their problems. He told fides that the hostel built by him has provision for blind students, therefore, the standard of the schools should be improved constantly. He encouraged collaboration of the Parent's Teacher's Association to modify the schools fees of the students; adding that quality education from the teachers is determined by their salary.
'A number of things pushed me into carrying out this project. I have always wanted to give back to my community because I don't think the history of my life can be told without mentioning CKC. When the Archbishop told me the problem of CKC was accommodation, I decided to key into the idea of building a hostel that could accommodate at least 400 students which was the plan of the school.
'Although, the original plan was to complete the hostel in 3 years because of the budget but it was completed in 18 months. I had quite a number of encouragements from the Archbishop, the '85 sets of CKC and the Old Boys, Abuja branch. During my interactive session with the students on think home philosophy, I wasn't optimistic when I discussed with them because the first question they asked me was, 'what is their community giving to them? I thank Archbishop Okeke who is a rally point and also the CKC Old Boys Association.
'There should be collaboration between the school and the Parent's Teacher's Association because the school fees of 36,000 a term can't be adequate enough to take care of the staff because quality education from the teachers is determined by their salary. There is no doubt that the economy is poor but we should stop blaming the government whose children study outside the country; rather we should start working out things for ourselves and for our children', Osakwe concluded.
Some of the prominent men who were formed in the hallowed grounds of our college are; Late Cardinal Dominic Ekandem, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Late Bishop Eneja, Archbishop Valerian, Rt. Rev. Ken Ifemene, the Late Very Rev. Fr. Nicholas Tagbo, Gov. Peter Odili, Gov. Peter Obi, Gov. Willie Obiano, the Late Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe, Late Justice Anthony Aniagolu, Late Justice Ambrose Ezeolisa Allagoa, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, Chief Chike Ofodile, Prof. Pat Utomi, Late Prof Chike Obi, Hon. Oseloka Obaza, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu and so many others.