Founding of The College

Although the pre-independence colonial administration desired to employ and work with educated Nigerians, the administration did little to encourage the development of educational institutions. What the colonial administration did mostly was to identify brilliant Nigerians who were then sent to Europe to study. That was a way by which the colonial administration ensured that young educated Nigerians imbibed British culture.

Therefore the establishment of educational institutions was not a priority in any British territory. This explains why pre-independent Nigeria, the number of government schools or colleges were very few. In the whole of the defunct western region of Nigeria of which the then Benin province was a part, the only government colleges were the ones located at Ibadan, Benin and Ughelli. So few were the colleges established and run by colonial masters that could not cope with the increasing number of persons who wanted to take advantage of western education. The situation got serious especially after the end of the Second World War.

Therefore, the Christian missions took advantage to establish mission school. These were the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican Communion and Baptist. There was so much competition among the Christian missions and consequently the schools attained very high and enviable standards. The Muslims also established educational institutions although these were few compared to Christian ones. Also a few wealthy individuals established schools and some of them have of them have survived p till today.

Either because of the age, experience or resources at their disposal, the Roman Catholic mission surpassed all other Christian missions in the establishment and administration of schools. The catholic mission is also well known for inculcating very high moral discipline in their students. Although catholic schools were very many in comparison to the schools established by other missions, admissions into catholic schools were very competitive because of the large number of those who showed interest and made catholic schools their first choice. As indicated above, government schools were very few; in fact they were not more than fifteen in the whole county at that time. However, this was in an earlier era, which was before the military juntas established what it christened unity schools.

In Benin and Delta provinces of the defunct western region, the Roman Catholic mission established very famous schools or colleges. The earliest ones are Saints Patrick’s college, Ababa, Immaculate Conception College, Benin City and saint peter cleaver’s college, aghalokpe. Then, for the training of teachers, the catholic mission established Saint Thomas’ college, ibusa, Saint John Bosoco’s college, ubiaja and Assumption College, uzairue. As time went by, the catholic mission embarked on the massive establishment of schools and colleges. Annunciation catholic college, irrua was the first to be established after the first three very Old Catholic secondary schools. Annunciation catholic college, irrua had existed for some years before the following catholic institutions were established.


Saint John’s College, Fugar
Saint Pius College, Onitsha Ugbo
Saint Anthony’s College, Ubulu uku
Mater Dei College, Ashaka
Notre Dame College, Osoro ozoro
Mary mounts College, Agbor (Girls)
Saint Rita’s College, Sapele (Girls)
Our Lady of Lourdes, Uromi (Girls)
Saint Maria Gorretti, Benin (Girls)
Saint Charles College, Abavo
Saint George’s College, Obinomba
Saint Benedict College, Igueben

All the catholic institutions strove for excellence and parents cherished sending their wards to such schools. The schools maintained high academic standards and there were no records of examination malpractices or cheating. Authorities of the various schools used to compare notes. The institutions met regularly at athletics or football contests. The annual competitions for the bishop Kelly cup used to a highly cherished contest among the entire boys catholic colleges. Venues of such contests shifted annually from college to college. Those events welded all the institutions, their teachers and students together as one big catholic family for which every member was very proud.

Annunciation catholic college, Irrua, which was the fourth catholic secondary institution to come into existence in the then Benin and Delta provinces, was established in 1955. The college took off in the private residence of a philanthropist who, although was not a member of the catholic church extended such kindness to the mission because of the dearth of educated citizenry and the seriousness, which the founding fathers attached to the assignment of establishing the college without delay.

It is also no record that despite the practice then in vogue that all secondary schools established during that era first spent up to six years before their students could attempt the external examination, annunciation catholic college, Irrua students attempted the external examination in the fifth year. The pioneer student scored an impressive over all 86% in the West African School certificate examination.

The establishment of annunciation catholic college, Irrua at the material time showed clearly that the founding fathers knew exactly what they wanted and how they would get it. It was to fill a yawning gap, which the pre-independence colonial administration was unwilling to do. The colonial administration did not want so many people to be educated, for it was only educated citizenry that could challenge their continued exploitation of resources of the colonized territories. The pioneer students of annunciation catholic college, irrua completed their course in 1959, just a yare before Nigeria attained her political independence. Since that year, the college has continued to contribute to the manpower development in Nigeria.

Annunciation catholic college, Irrua like most other institutions suffered a serious setback during the administration of one of the military Juntas that truncated Democratic Development in Nigeria. In 1974 the military Junta took over all the mission schools in the state and tuned them into community schools. During that misadventure, Annunciation Catholic College Irrua re-needed Irrua Grammar School”. That singular act nearly destroyed the cherished values and legacies of Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua the battle to regain the lost name was very intense and fortunately this was achieved after several years. Even as the college prepares for its Golden jubilee, the government is yet to return the College to the Catholic Mission, the original owners. The catholic mission and the Old boys association are working closely to ensure that the college is returned to the catholic mission so that it can work towards regaining its lost integrity and reputation.

Annunciation catholic college, Irrua was never conceived as a community school. It is re-assuring that the old boys association is working relentlessly to ensure that structures for a complete boarding institution are reactivated to the full. It is hoped that the college would soon be returned to the original owners the Roman Catholic Mission so that children from all over Nigeria can again take advantage of the unique educational contribution to national development as it used to be in the glorious past.