The Inoyo Toro Foundation’s 11th Anniversary celebration took place on Friday, November 2, 2018. The Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo was practically shut down for this well-attended event. Students and teachers selected from various public schools in the State converged at the Hotel in order to be part of this yearly event. The events of the day started as usual with the mentoring program. The mentors, professionals drawn from various walks of life, gave the students and teachers titbits on how to make learning, teaching and the general progress possible. Their life’s stories gave inspiration to the students. The mentoring program lasted for an hour and at the end of the segment, contingents from about 87 schools were greatly impacted.
Immediately after the mentoring session, there was a series of pep talks from a few professionals. The audience had the opportunity of hearing from three professionals whose duty was to walk the students through a few advice with regards to attaining their dreams and clearing the path for their future professional and work endeavours. Ms Imaibeghe Ekpoh, a pilot, Mr. Ntefon M. Akpan an entrepreneur and Dr. Titus Udom, a mentor with the Foundation, gave pep talks for the benefit of the students in particular and the audience in general.
The Second Segment of the event commenced with a welcome address by Mr. Eno Joshua, Chairman Screening Committee of the Inoyo Toro Foundation. He walked the audience through the screening process. Amongst other things, and as a reflection of the high quality of the screening process, he announced that this year there was no winner for the English and History category of the awards. A few other award categories were lacking in 1st, 2nd or 3rd prize winnings. He disclosed that 203 persons, made up of 194 teachers and 9 principals were invited for screening. However, only 109 teachers made up 24 English, 22 Mathematics, 15 Biology, 22 Chemistry, 19 Physics, 6 Economics and 1 Visual Arts teachers attended the selection test. 8 Schools’ principals also attended the screening for the Best Principal category. The Chairman appreciated the Foundation’s Founder and the Board of Trustees for their vision and their continued commitment to the noble project. He lamented the decline in the performance of some teachers in a number of award categories. As a result, he assured that the committee is putting in place measures in order to hold the competing teachers to higher standards of performance. He congratulated the year’s award winners and counselled that there is a lot more work to do now to prove their worth and maximize potentials.
The anniversary event seemed to have had the girl child theme running through the entire speeches, action plans and guest appearances. The earliest indication of the unofficial theme was the setting up of a steering committee to work towards instituting a project for the encouragement of the female child. The committee made up of professional women and a few gentlemen will work with the Foundation’s secretariat to draw up and actualize the mandate.
The Foundation was privileged to have Mrs. Emem Isong Misodi as the Chairperson of the 2018 edition of its annual anniversary. Mrs. Misodi, a renowned movie expert and Founder of the Royal Arts Academy, gave a brief history of her career sojourn and encouraged students to take their studies seriously. It was her summary that any level can be attained as far as hardwork, dedication and passionate pursuit were in place. She thanked the Foundation for the noble concept and promised to give support whenever called upon to do so.
One of the high points of the day’s event was the invitation of Mrs. Winifred Oyo Ita for the Guest Speaker’s speech. Mrs. Oyo Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation started off her speech by thanking the Foundation for finding her worthy to present the Guest Speaker’s speech. She was full of praises for the ‘Visioner’ of the Foundation, Mr. Udom Inoyo. She described what she had seen as truly inspiring and committed to support education in whatever level she could. As part of her speech, the Guest Speaker gave a rundown of her life’s story. She mentioned early in her speech about the support she received from her Mother, Mrs. Angelica Ekpenyong Nyong, who was also a teacher. Mrs. Oyo Ita was the last of five children. She attended Ireti Primary School, Ikoyi, Lagos. She also attended St. Mary’s School, Ajile Street, Lagos. Her first teacher, whom she described as unforgettable was Mrs. Lawson. Mrs. Oyo Ita later proceeded to Queens College Lagos where she met and made friends with a number of fantastic young girls, including the Chairperson of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, Mrs. Ntekpe Inoyo. At about this time, she recalls the discontent expressed by teachers then and expressed surprise that even at this glory days of teaching teachers complained as they had started realising that they were beginning to lose their panache and relevance. She attributed this discontent to overindulgence on oil and all that came with it.
It was against this background that she encouraged the teachers to remain focused and deliver on their mandates for the benefit of their students. She cautioned governments at all levels to give priority to education in order to grow other aspects of the Nation’s economy. In this light, she recalled her experience garnered over the course of her having to travel to various parts of the world. She marvelled at the encouragement given to education and teachers in those places. In a particular country, she mentioned that teaching was one of the top paying jobs there. The Speech concluded by thanking the Foundation for the vision.
Awards were given in several categories to deserving teachers. There were awards and grand mentor awards in the Mathematics, physics, chemistry and Biology categories. There was no winner for this year’s English and History awards. This year’s Best Principal’s award went to Mrs. Elizabeth U. Michael, Principal of Holy Trinity College, Mbiakong Uruan, Uruan Local Government Area.
This year’s event was acknowledged by a cross-section of students, teachers and guests as a colourful ceremony. The Foundation appreciates all who sacrificed their schedules in order to make it to our event. It looks forward to another impactful anniversary next year, Friday November 1, 2019.