By Amechi Obiakpu
As part of its CSR initiative, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), in partnership with Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), a non-governmental organization, last week at Oraifite, Anambra State donated books and computers worth millions of Dollars to 15 tertiary institutions and 30 secondary schools across the South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo State.
A statement signed by Emeka Ezeh, Head of Communications, EEDC, states that the benefiting schools were made up of three tertiary institutions and six secondary schools from each of the states, and were nominated by their respective state governments.
In his opening remark, Hon. Tony Obi, the Coordinator, SEOF, said the action is aimed at developing the education sector, which the Foundation has been involved in across the country over the years. He said that the gesture by EEDC is worthwhile to the society and for posterity.
Hon. Obi stressed that the books and other educational materials that were donated must be used for the purpose it is meant for. He went on to charge the benefiting schools to ensure that their libraries are functional, as their monitoring team will be paying unscheduled visit to the schools to monitor and ascertain how well the books are being used.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Robert Dickerman on his part said that the gesture is in line with EEDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy of contributing towards the development of its host community.
In his words: “We know the importance of education, we have an obligation and responsibility to our communities, our business is not just to provide electricity, our job is to help and support the communities which we are a part of”.
Continuing he said: “Education is a part of the core of the development of any society; we are very honoured to be part of this donation and we are committed to take active role in the education development of the five states in which we are community member”.
Dickerman said that besides lighting up homes, companies and industries, EEDC can also light up minds; this, the company is doing through partnering Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. “We believe that the things we are trying to do and the thoughts we have towards supporting social programs under our CSR initiatives will be best served by partnering with such a Foundation. They have international partners like Book For Africa (BFA) and many others; and we are comfortable partnering with them”.
In his remark, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Okonkwo applauded EEDC and SEOF for this gesture which is a shining example of a CSR act, and welcomed by the state government. He said that, “government alone cannot accomplish all that is needed in the education sector, and it is usually a great relief when corporate establishments like EEDC come out to boil up the effort of the state government”.
The governor noted that the use of books cannot be over stressed, and that the donation of the books will go a long way in educating the students, as the more they read, the more they get enlightened. He said that the books will form the stock in different libraries of the different beneficiary institutions; and will encourage them to maintain functional libraries.
Governor Obiano also called on teachers and principals to endeavour to get the students develop the habit of reading as a lot of education which they need in life are locked up in these books. He went on to say that, “this is indeed a partnership for sustainable development between the private sector, our government and the education institutions”. He pledged the state government’s support, and encouraged EEDCnot to relent, because it is towards the development of the people and the country at large.
Both students and teachers of the benefiting schools expressed their appreciation to EEDC and SEOF for the wonderful initiative and promised to make proper use of the books.
EEDC noted that the gesture was not going to be a one-time event, as it is part of the organisation’s ongoing responsibility, and hope to continue partnering Sir Emeka Offor Foundation towards the development of the South East.
*Photo shows: L-R: Dr. Mrs Beatrice Okonkwo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Anambra State (representing the Governor of Anambra State); Mr. Robert Dickerman, Managing Director/CEO, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and Hon. Tony Obi, Co-ordinator Sir Emeka Offor Foundation at the formal presentation of the books and computers to 15 tertiary institutions and 30 secondary schools at Oraifite, Anambra State recently.