For Lenu Kpagi, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, life was rough for him at the earliest stage. But the timely intervention of his mother averted the gloomy prospect of his life and changed his entire life story. But how did she do it?
Recounting the ordeals and pains of yesteryears can be a daunting and burdensome task, especially for people that have eventually kissed fame in life. Such moments and sordid experiences are mostly consigned to history to obviate a shattered memory. And as it is commonly said; failure is an orphan but success has many friends.
For few conscientious people who have made it in life, their past challenges, however, remains a pivot of charting the course of the future.
Recalling such experience gives them a sense of appeal to the challenges of humanity. It also inspires their vision and philosophy of life, depending on the peculiar challenges and experiences of the past that influenced their presence.
For Lenu Kpagi, a retired Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, life was rough for him at the earliest stage.
His particular disability was the lack of opportunity of acquiring a sound functional education as a growing child. Though spotted with great academic endowment, he narrowly escaped being a school drop out.
Speaking with The Tide on Sunday in an encounter in Port Harcourt, recently, Kpagi said that after a brush with his early educational career, he was consigned to the village where he engaged in menial carpentry work to earn a living. But the timely intervention of his mother averted the gloomy prospect of his life and changed his entire life story. But how did she do it?
Kpagi told The Tide On Sunday that his mother had to stake her meager resources to arrest the doleful prospect of his education. Apart from petty trading which was not enough to take care of the feeding of the family and paying of school fees, Kpagi said his mother took the risk of selling their family land to enable him go to school.
Unlike many parents of today who gives a casual attention to the education of their wards, Kpagi revealed that his mother sacrificed her comfort to send him to school because she had assurance that the future was rosy. Today, he had lived upto that expectation. According to him “the only way of giving back to the society that made him, is to invest in education, to avail the younger generation of the opportunity of acquiring quality education”. Such passion in educational investment is manifested in Zina Academy a staggering educational investment in his rustic Community of Nyorkuru in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
His words; “Zina Academy is an age-long dream which had come to reality. Our target is the total development of the child, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. It is our duty to ensure that the younger generation have access to quality education”.
One will consider that such huge investment will ordinarily be sited in the city, but Kpagi gives reason for locating his academy in the village. He pointed out that the community scenario was conducive for academic activities as it was shut out of the hustles and bustles of city life and devoid of the boisterous attractions associated with schools established in the cities. These attractions, he noted, diverted students attention from learning for pent up energies in anti social activities and other vested medium of expression in less creative exercises.
Asked if the rural populace would be able to attend the school, given the hard economic exigencies of the times, Kpagi said “I am not very comfortable when people complain that education is expensive, and that there is no money. People tend to spend more money on police cases than on their children’s education. Educating the child is the best preparation you can make for your children’s future, deviating from it is a postponement of the dooms day”.
Zina academy is a mixed boarding school. The greenery and natural beauty of the surrounding vegetation adds value to the business of learning and keeps the hearts of the students and teachers brimming with excitement and a sense of fulfillment not common in city operations which is prone to the blights industrial noise and pollution.
Though the school fees is relatively expensive, the state of the art facilities in the school, made it a formidable fortress of hope for educational rejuvenation. As a recipe for delinquency, Zina Academy has become the delight of parents who wants to chastise their wards against societal vices and prepare them for future challenges.
When The Tide On Sunday visited the school, it was learnt that the students are already adapting to the environment as they appear very much at home with the natural ambience.
Also astonishing was the linguistic abilities and sense of composition of the students within the short period of academic kickstart. Some of the students who spoke with The Tide On Sunday said they prefer the location and site of the academy and appreciate the quality of delivery in the system.
Stanley Lesor Deadag, a JSS I Student who spoke with our correspondent, said he likes the school and will want to complete his secondary education in the school.
Little Deadag, said he has no regret over the fact that the school was established in the village, as every facility he needed for academic training was provided.
Precious Prince Ngbor, another JSS I Student in the school said he liked the school because of the warmth and affection accorded the students, by the Proprietor, and the teachers.
According to the Pioneer Principal of the academy, Mr P. K Essian, a Ghanaian with a rich pedigree in educational development, there is no excuse for non performance. Mr Essian said Nigeria has the capacity of providing qualitative education based on an indigenous curriculum that will discourage foreign educational training.
No mean personalities and renowned academics such as Prof Don Baridam are on the Board of Governors of the academy.
The concept, according to the founder, is to “create and maintain a school that offers the highest quality of education and life experience by adding value to the student from admission to graduation”.