Role of alumni in development of their alma mater, by Orji Uzor Kalu

I must thank the leadership of this association for considering me worthy of delivering this inaugural lecture.  It is my prayer that our intervention here today will lead to the transformation of Community Secondary School, Ndokwa, beyond our imagination.

Members of the executive of this alumni group, eminent personalities at the podium with me, old students of this great institution, the media, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all.
I must thank the leadership of this association for considering me worthy of delivering this inaugural lecture.  It is my prayer that our intervention here today will lead to the transformation of Community Secondary School, Ndokwa, beyond our imagination.
It is crucial to underscore the point that effective collaboration between old students and their alma mater stimulates infrastructural renewal, establishment of developmental projects and internalization of such noble ideals in current students such that later in life they, too, would become agents of positive change.
Old students must resolve to be committed to supporting their alma mater in propelling development which requires effective synergy   between alma mater and school administration. There have been cases where bad relationships between these stakeholders retarded uplift of schools. Without healthy partnership between old students and the management of their alma mater, structural development and other critical issues will be greatly affected.
Programming activities must be evolved so that the process of assisting schools by their alumni will not become too demanding as there are other aspects of old students’ challenges equally competing for attention of scarce resources in these hard times.
The key role of alumni in the sustenance of their alma mater cannot be ignored. It is a continuous process that moves from one generation to another and occasionally even involves our wives and families generally. I give you an example: you need to visit C.M.S. Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos—the first secondary institution in Nigeria founded on June 6, 1859—and see the magnificent buildings and state-of-the-art facilities that the richest black woman in the world, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, periodically donates to that school just because her husband, Modupe, is an alumnus! On a lighter note, this should be a challenge to our wives!
All citadels leading today had their progressive developments undertaken by their own products. Governmental assistance to schools is shrinking due to dwindling national and state revenues. The implication, therefore, is that old students must inevitably be a part of the solution as they are best positioned to remedy the developmental crises in schools.
The role of old students in the development of their alma mater is not limited to financial donation or mediation, architecture and machinery, but generation of ideas and sourcing information that the school could leverage on for development. Introduction of institutional contacts here and abroad would also go a long way in advancing our alma maters.
Old students could also deploy their massive networks and contacts to attract projects from companies’ corporate social responsibility portfolios. Such opportunities which abound everywhere only need to be explored and maximally utilized. Organizational gifts most times are solicited and not given on a platter.  Scholarships could also be procured for exceptionally brilliant students, just as awards should be instituted by the alumni association. This is a sustainable tradition since beneficiaries and even some non-beneficiaries would be disposed to cultivating such a noble precedent.
Most vital points
Above all else, the alumni of this school must work towards the economic empowerment of their alma mater through strategic business partnerships with philanthropists and corporate citizens such that the school would have financial autonomy instead of fully depending on gifts.
At this point, may I propose that the old boys of this school should yearly focus on at least one of the following critical requirements in no particular order: alternative power supply like solar energy; potable water; school road network; furniture, computers; modern and well-equipped laboratories and library; hostels, classroom accommodation; air-conditioners; and security technology.
As I end this speech, I plead with our hosts—all old students of Community Secondary School, Ndokwa—to show enduring interest in their alma mater that laid the foundation for what they are today and their respective rising profiles, which probably would not have been possible without the high school foundation in Ndokwa.
I thank you all for your time and audience. I have the strong belief that our efforts here today would be fruitful in the days ahead, by God’s grace.
. Being a speech on: “Alumni role in the development of their alma mater,” by a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, at the inauguration of the Old Students’ Association of Community Secondary School, Ndokwa, held in Lagos on July 28, 2018. The speech was delivered on behalf of Kalu by retired Deputy Inspector General of Police Azubuko Udah.