The article, "Emeka Offor’s elixir for education," in The Nation provides a good account of the efforts of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) to aid schools in Nigeria. It tells the story of the Foundation's donation of more than one million tons of books for distribution to 230 Nigerian schools. The donations went to 100 primary schools, 100 secondary schools and 30 tertiary institutions. The schools are from the six geo-political zones of the country.
Making the donations in Oraifite in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, the founder of the foundation, Sir Emeka Offor, said the objective of the foundation was to give back to the society what God had given him.
Present at the distribution of the books and other educational materials including laptops, desktops among others, were the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and the host Governor Mr. Peter Obi.Others present included the Primate (Emeritus) of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Rt. Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola, Senator Emmanuel Anosike, all the Vice-Chancellors of benefiting universities and Rectors of Polytechnics.
Also present were the Managing Director of National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhii and former Chief Executive of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) Mr. Ernest Ndukwe.
Traditional rulers, market women, school children, members of the academia and corporate organisations, government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps and clergymen were also in attendance.
The books and other educational materials were procured by the foundation in collaboration with Books for Africa (BFA) at the cost of N900m.
The distribution was the first phase of such exercise which he said has nine phases. In the next four months, another set of similar educational materials more than the first set would arrive in the country.
According to the report in The Nation:
Sir Emeka Offor said: “We want our children to follow the good path. We want to make sure that we create a good atmosphere for our children."
He disclosed that he learnt the idea from Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha.
Governor Obi expressed his happiness on what the foundation has done, announcing that the state will now approve a policy of adopting schools instead of the extravagant lifestyle of some of the so-called rich men in the state.
Obi said his government would address letters to the affluent in the society in the state to cut down on their ostentatious lifestyles in order to embrace programs like this in order to move the state forward.
He said that everybody had gathered in the state to support a genuine cause, even as he added that education is the foundation for sustainable progress.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim said he was overwhelmed with what he called Offor’s wonderful gesture to the schools in Nigeria, adding that there was no other way to lift the schools in the country than what Emeka Offor had done.
Anyim, who was the special guest of honour, noted that the donation of the books would help the children to embrace reading culture that used to be the norm but which has dwindled of late.
"We know that our children no longer read, but I believe, with the quantum of books to each school and 15 states and community libraries in the six geo-political zones, that reading spirit will be rekindled in Nigerians.
The Coordinator of (SEOF), Sir Anthony Obi said the objectives of the foundation were mostly to alleviate poverty through empowering the populace to gainfully source means of livelihood, availing affordable free medical treatment, assisting indigent but intelligent pupils to acquire education and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure.
The Foundation carries out her operations under the following schemes: youth’s empowerment (YES), widows’ cooperative societies scheme (WCSS), health services scheme (HSS), education scholarship scheme (ESS) and infrastructural development scheme (IDS).
He said: "The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) and Books for Africa (BFA) will monitor the use of the learning materials. We appeal to other educational institutions that could not get theirs this time to exercise patience as other consignments are being expected soonest.
Representative of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education Chinyere Ngerem said the distribution would have serious positive impact on the country’s educational system. She said that the strength of any nation was dependent on its human resources, adding that the gesture was an excellent way of supporting quality education in the country.
Responding on behalf of other beneficiary universities, the Vice-Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Prof. Boniface Egboka promised that the schools and students would take adequate care of every book or material given to them. He commended the foundation for championing the cause of the needy in the society.
Also, the Rector, Federal Polytechnic Oko in Anambra State, Prof. Godwin Onu, told Newsextra that the school would always remain grateful to the foundation and the donor.
Onu said that no single individual or organisation had donated such volume of books to any school in the past, adding that if others who are rich in the society could do what the foundation had done, the society would be a better place to live in.