History of ACCI

History of Annunciation Catholic College Irrua Old Boys Association

Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua, the first secondary school in Esan land was established in 1955 when the defunct Benin province was a part of the defunct Western region of Nigeria that had its Capital at Ibadan. Therefore, when one understands that the approval to establish Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua was granted by the Ministry of Education western region with Ibadan as the seat of Government, then one will begin to appreciate the efforts of the founding fathers of the college. It took tireless efforts and extra determination to shuttle between Benin and Ibadan in a volks wagon car or motorcycle to ensure that the powers that be approved the establishment of the college. The realization of this fact must also have made the founding principal very determined that he left lasting legacy by the high standard on which he set the college right from the start.

The history of Annunciation Catholic College Irrua therefore is the history to a large extent or the development of education in Esan land. Its establishment opened the way for the establishments of Esan Grammar School, Uromi. Anglican Grammar School Ekpoma and pilgrim Baptist Grammar School, Ewohimi within the decade 1955 to 1965. Annunciation catholic College Irrua is therefore the father of all the Secondary Schools in Esan land. Most of the early products of school were employed as the early teachers in the other Schools that were established in Esan land. Thus Esan land benefited from the experiences gained by Ojefua from Saint Patrick’s College Asaba.

In the days of yore secondary schools owned by the colonial administration were few. Thus the missions participated actively in the establishment and administration of more schools to meet the expanding educational desires of parents and their wards. In 1954 Bishop Patrick Kelly, who was in charge of Benin Ecclesiastical diocese got approval to establish a secondary school in Esan land. He naturally chose reverend father Anselm Isidahome Oefua, who was then highly educated and had gained valuable and extensive experience in school administration at Saint Patrick’s college, Asaba for the new experiment as it were.

Thus in 1955, Reverend father Anslem Isidahome Ojefua moved to Irrua to face the new challenge of establishing a college. There were no structures on ground and the assignment was urgent. On arrival at Irrua, Reverend Father Anslem  Isidahome Ojefua consulted widely with prominent persons at Irrua including the Onojie. Dr Christopher Okojie, Chief Odiase, Prince Shaka Momodu and others. At the end of the consultations, a large parcel of virgin land was secure for the college. However prior to working at the site, the Reverend Father negotiated for and secures a temporary place at the private resident of Prince Shaka Momodu where he started the school opposite Zuma Memorial Hospital, Irrua.

All the students numbering 30 and the founder- principal lived in this temporary site. During the first year, the nearby primary school, Saint Paul Catholic Primary School Akho became useful. The school hall served as venue for mass while the field was used for sporting activities. Also, the first tutor Mr Obaitan, who had just completed his first degree e course in December 1954, also lived in the school premises. Shortly after, Mr. Obaitan left the college temporarily and Mr Olisa replaced him. During the first year also, the Diocesan building contractor who was Reverend Father Fagan intensified the construction work at the school permanent site.

With the first, the principal’s house, the chapel, the class room blocks and a hostel block was built record achievement. In January 1956, the college moved into the permanent site .through extra-ordinary commitment and hard work], the first set of students spends just five years to complete their course. This was a very great achievement for most newly founded schools would spend an additional year to prepare their students for the same purpose. The pioneer principal ensured that everything was perfected for the educational inspectors who usually visited the college to assess its readiness for the Cambridge school; certificate. The was strict academic guidance and performance was rated highly. Thus the first set that started out aas 30, ended with 13 students. Thus during the first five years of founding Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua, Ojefua’s fame in Esan land spread like wide fire.


After the successful establishment of Annunciation Catholic College, Irrua and the successful graduation of first set of students in just five years, Reverend Father Ojefua regarded his mission at Irrua as accomplished. The Catholic authorities that had sent him to Irrua then saw the need to repost him out of Irrua. He was posted to Ashaka in Kwale area to found another Catholic institution. Thus in 1961 he opened Master Dei College, Ashaka. He did not stay in Ashaka to see to the graduation of the first set of the college.The Catholic authorities were in a hurry to open up schools and he was again requested to move out. This time he went to Fugar in what was then known as Afemia Division.

By 1958, with a crop of highly dedicated and energetic staff which include tutors like Mr .P. Agokie, Mr .E.U. Okwechime, Mr .D. Ataga and the college clerk, Mr .P. Ada. Omorogiuwa, it became necessary to start thinking seriously about turning out the first products of the college. Even by the end of the third year, it was not certain whether the first set would be spending 6 years as was common then with the most new schools since no much teaching and learning usually took place in the first year. During this period of uncertainty and anxiety, and pioneer and a brilliant student from Asaba, Robert Nwanze went on holidays and never came back to the college. This behavior caused us, his classmate, Mora anxiety and Fr. Ojefua, anger. He responded by sending all the students of asaba origin home. It took the intervention of all the parents of the students concerned to get back to the college   we later learnt that Robert Nwanze went too resumed in an older college and might not have benefited from the abrupt change he made.

It was with great joy and relief in the first term of the fourth year, on returning from one of his frequent visit to the ministry of education in Ibadan, that the principal told us that we had been accepted to sit for the West African School Certificate Examination in the fifth year. This was a remarkable achievement on the part of the principal. The end of the fourth year was followed by a more rigorous weeding exercise that brought the number in the class down to thirteen in class five. For Fr .Ojefua, this was the best way to ensure a good first West African School Certificate.
With the final examination over at the end of 1959, parting came with many of us not certain of what we were going to do thenceforth. I was lucky to be retained in the college as a tutor. It was the time in this part of the country when career guidance was non-existence and opportunities were very low. Nevertheless, the great spirit of hard work, resourcefulness, initiative and good leadership inculcated in us by the grate man, Rev Ojefua and the motto of our Alma Mater: “Recta discere et facere” (when we know what is right, we should endeavor to do it perfectly) propelled us on.
Early in 1960, A.C.C stunned the secondary school market where the result of the first set of students was released. Only two students failed to obtain the West African School Certificate, that is, a percentage success of 85.
It is gratifying to note that over the years the pioneer students have contributed and are contributing to the educational, social, economic and political development of Nigeria. Whenever we meet, we recall the days we spend together in A.C.C.; firstly, in Prince Shaka Momodu’s building,and secondly,at the permanent site .with nostalgia, we recall nicknames, such as Agamenon, Elimhin-eguale, Obagho Akapnuka, Amo,    and Uzuanmi. Most of us have never failed to thank Rev.Fr. Ojefua for the type of education and training he gave us.as students in the college, we thought he was unnecessarily stric with us and called him names. We have since known better, realizing that he was then doing the best for us.It is pertinent to add that when Fr. Ojefua left the college also in 1959, the Educational Secretary for the Catholic Mission and he based at Agbor. He later founded the St. John’s College, Fugar and Master Dei College Ashaka. In 1966, he was admitted into the Benedictine Monastery in the United States of America. He founded the Monastery at Awhum (1968-1978) and the holy cross Monastry at lllah (1982-1988) it is sad to recall the very Rev Fr. Abraham (Anselm) Ojefua, the funder of the knights of St Mulumba (1952) passed away peacefully at the mother of Christ Maternity Hospital, Enugu, on Thursday 28th July 1988 at 2.10.am.