Gifts of libraries, earns corps’ member plaudits



At a time opinions are divided over the continuous existence of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, a serving member, Ujunwa Anene, is justifying the need to sustain the programme with her actions.

She may not have had a fully stocked school library back in her secondary school, but having come to terms with the importance of the all-important resource centre in the life of an academic institution, she rallied funds to create two libraries in two secondary schools in Cross River State, where she is on national assignment.

Anene, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, whose place of primary assignment is General Electric (GE), Calabar, actualised her dream of spurring youths to read, by donating the facilities to Government Secondary School, and Estate Secondary School, Ikot Ansa in Calabar Municipality.

“The two schools needed libraries and my own objective is to improve the reading culture among youths, and by extension improve the country’s educational system. So, that is how I decided to position my special community development projects in the schools,” Anene said.

“The school library is centre of leaning, and plays a key role in encouraging innovation, curiosity and problem solving. Can you imagine schools without libraries, especially when these schools are secondary schools, where we have students preparing for their major certificate examinations?” she questioned.

Anene continued, “The library is a catalyst for literacy, reading and teaching. It will make a difference in students’ understanding, achievements and also provide support for teaching and learning. It is really the central point for engagement with all kinds of reading, access to information, knowledge building, deep thinking and even discussions. This project was my opportunity to reach out to 500 students, who are going to benefit from these libraries and enable them to study, become knowledgeable and achieve their dreams.”

Cross River State Coordinator of NYSC, Mrs. Ifeoma Anidobi, who was full of praises for Anene, said she falls under the exclusive class of corps members who serve meritoriously, work hard, crown their efforts with projects and leave positive footprints.

Represented by Assistant Director in Charge of Discipline and Merit, Mr. Effa Columbus, Anidobi said, “Without libraries there are no schools, without libraries there are no universities, without libraries, there are no graduates, and without libraries, there are no institutions. So, with these libraries, the students will do well in their studies. We want the students to manage them properly and also sustain them. For quite sometimes now, I have not seen this type of magnanimity from corps members in this part of the state.”

The state Commissioner for Education, Mr. Godwin Etta, described Anene as a hard working girl, who “has a way of capturing somebody’s heart. She chose to provide libraries for two secondary schools in the same premises, not minding the fence. Oju is not a selfish person because she moved around for help, gathered the money and did not do a shabby work. Instead, she provided the schools the best. I want the schools to sustain her effort by managing the libraries very well.”

Represented by Director of Schools, Mrs. Charity Otohan, Etta charged students and other corps members to emulate Anene, assuring that the ministry “is ready to give endorsement to any recommendation you (NYSC) want to give to her. I say thank you to all the stakeholders who helped her to actualise her dream.”

Senior Project Manager of GE, David Eichie, who was quite supportive of the project, charged the students to make good use of the facilities saying as well as emulate the corps members gesture

“If you make good use of the libraries, in another 15 or 20 years from now, when you look back, I am sure you will have something to smile about… make sure you use the library well, and I enjoin the two principals and teachers to put the place in safe hands. Make sure the books in the libraries are well managed.

“One of the attribute of a leader is empathy. When you have empathy for people around you, when you are in a position to do something that will add value to their lives and you do, it makes you a very good leader. It is how you impact the lives of people around you that matter, which is what Uju Anene has done. Some people live their foot prints wherever day go, and some people do not and from what we seen here, this should be an example for the rest of the corps members.”

Principals of the two schools, Mrs. Felicia Asu and Mrs. Regina Agaba, were full of praises for the donor saying their schools had been without libraries for years.

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