This is a half-year report that covers specifically the era of the present leadership of the Association since its inauguration. It is meant to reflect not only its dreams and actions since July 2019 when it took office, but also its achievements and challenges within the period under review. Presentation is not necessarily in order of priority neither is it chronological.
A. We recall that shortly after the inauguration of the Executive Committee, the President, Mr. Aniekan Willie, unveiled the policy plans of the new leadership and the challenges that must be accomplished. He listed five broad priority areas which the leadership intended to focus on. These include:
1. Expanded/Enhanced mentorship, sponsorship and scholarship programme for students.
2. Strategic intervention in infrastructural development (library and laboratory supplies/equipment.
3. Welfare programmes for all members—health, death and funeral insurance scheme.
4. Completion and official launch of a robust Alumni website.
5. Sustained membership base expansion.
B. The President emphasised the need for the Association to collaborate strongly with the State Government for urgent intervention as well as net-working closely with corporate bodies and donor organisations for assistance. It was clear in his speech that the existing funding system requires a review and a more practical approach towards establishing more sustained sources of revenue for the group.
C. Arising from (A) above, the first Executive Committee Meeting was called on August 4, 2019 to discuss the policy plan. Certain decisions were subsequently taken for further articulation by different Sub-Committees for implementation. Consequently, the President announced the membership and establishment of the following Sub-Committees with their various responsibilities spelt out for discussions. Each of the Committees was authorised to discuss issues outlined and forward the Action Plan to the EXCOM. They are:
1. The Project Sub-Committee headed by Benji Ekpo
2. The Finance Sub-Committee headed by Mr. Anniekan Etuk
3. The Website Sub-Committee headed by Chief Usoro Usoro, PhD
4. The Welfare Sub-Committee headed by David Lawrence (Emeritus President)
5. The Awards, Sponsoring and Mentoring Sub-Committee headed by Francis Odoro.
6. Business and Investment Sub-Committee headed by Nkereuwem Ataudo
D. The setting up of these Sub-Committees was followed in late August with the Sub-Committee on the review of the last capital project by the Alumni Association—the 16-classroom block which was handed over to the school authority during the 2019 in a less satisfactory state due to non-completion and poor finishing of some aspects of the project. While some concerned alumni volunteered to undertake the completion of the project. It was necessary to find out what happened so as to forestall any recurrence. Clear Terms of Reference were given for the Sub-Committee; headed by the National Auditor, Mr Uduak Philips. It was expected to:
1. Reflect on the original state of the project so as to appreciate the hitherto envisaged scope of work
2. Match the funds released for the project with the work executed under different sub-heads.
3. Assess the scope and quality of work done at each stage.
4. Review any other relevant matter associated with the execution of the project
5. Make appropriate recommendations based on your findings
Unfortunately, the Committee is yet to submit its report to the EXCOM.
E. However, while still waiting for the report of the review sub-committee as stated in (D) above, work on the 16-Classroom Block has finally been reasonably completed and the building partially put to use by the school authority. We thank our committed old students who volunteered to ensure the completion of the project.
F. As part of the execution of the five-point agenda listed in (A) above regarding the need to identify with members particularly during bereavement, we have so far written nine condolence letters to our bereaved members. These letters were, in most, cases published in burial programmes of the deceased. Representations were also made at such events by members.
G. Also within the period under review, the present leadership led by the President, Mr. Willie, identified and paid respects to some of our most senior alumni—those who left the school in the 70s or thereabout. This has helped boost our membership expansion drive as articulated in the five point policy plan.
H. The Association, within the period, honoured one of the former teachers who taught economics and history in GSS, Afaha Eket in the 70s. Elder Udo Akpan Uquang during his 77th birthday on November 25, 2019. He was popularly called Prof and Etemi Uquangson by both his students and colleagues.
I. Another modest achievement within this period is the acquisition and furnishing of an office apartment assigned by our alma mater to serve as the National Headquarters of the Alumni Association. This is strategically located within the administrative block of the school. Funds for furnishing of the office came through voluntary donations by a few members.
J. Based on a proposal by the Mentorship, Scholarship and Sponsorship Committee, an annual scholarship worth N100, 000 was awarded to Mr Faith Christopher Brown, the Best Graduating Student in 2016/2017 academic year. He is a 200-level mechanical engineering student at the University of Uyo. Funding of the initial payment for the award came from committed members of the Association.
K. Still, in furtherance of the five-point agenda, the association under the current leadership wrote to and secured audience with the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Education. It used the occasion to intimate him on the dreams and visions of the association, its achievements so far and solicited government’s intervention in the infrastructural development of the school.
L. So far, the leadership has written twice to the management of ExxonMobil. The first letter was for a courtesy visit and was followed by an appeal for intervention in the infrastructural development of the school—specifically, the building of the Assembly Hall which has the potential to generate revenue for the school. We hope to receive favourable responses from the organisation.
M. Informal contacts have also been made with the interim leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). As soon as the already appointed new management team takes office, a formal approach would be initiated.
N. As soon as it took office, the leadership, in anticipation of membership expansion, moved its members’ interactive platform from Whatsapp to Telegram which has a higher capacity to accommodate more data than the previous platform.
O. Also, the design of the alumni website is receiving serious attention. Offloading of already submitted items to the site will begin before end of January 2020.
P. Shortly, after the 2019 Reunion and our first EXCOM meeting during which the issue of strategised publicity was discussed, the President and other members of the leadership, coordinated by the National Publicity Secretary, had some sessions with a cross-section of the media. More of these are being planned in the nearest future.
1. So far, the biggest challenge we face as a body is funding. The President has directed each of the Sub-Committees to submit detail action plan with specified and realistic suggestions on funding avenues.
2. The Association had, during the 2019 Reunion, announced a scholarship award for Mercy Emmanuel Akpan, a medical student at the University of Benin. At the time of writing this report, we were yet to honour our pledge to the student.
Despite some short-comings recorded due to lack of funds, the above represents modest achievements and efforts made by the current leadership in the last six months to re-position the Association and build on its previous achievements. Our main target in 2020 is to practically accomplish our mission as captured in the five-point policy development plan. This will surely require the cooperation of every member.
God bless you and Happy New Year. In Deo Stamus