MR. ANTHONY OMOERA: ADMINISTRATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE. byJohn Tunde Ogunnoiki.
The aphorism ‘a tree does not make a forest‘surely does not apply to Anthony Omoera. It could be said without any dissenting voice that the late Principal of MCSS personally piloted the aeroplane of both curricular and extracurricular excellence that the newly established school attained in its nascent years. A former Vice Principal of Saint Finbarr’s, the chain-smoking Omoera arrived in 1972 as only the second Nigerian Principal. He immediately identified sports as the channel to garner publicity for the school. The recruitment of sporting talent encompassed Table Tennis, Football and
Athletics. In Table Tennis, he hired a former national champion as coach. Omoera, incredibly encouraged the sporting gems by publicly showcasing the special place they occupied in his heart and automatically in the school. Mercy Ben Bassey, mercurial track & field legend recalled nostalgically, “Mr Omoera called us, the school relay team ‘MY SPECIAL GIRLS’. He bought us new track suits and sports equipment and generally provided whatever we needed. We were on scholarships and lived in the hostel on FREE BOARDING. We always felt loved and special when he affectionately termed us ‘MY GIRLS’. We were always determined not to disappoint him.” One of the amazing members of the quartet of
phenomenal athletes of that epochal period was Vivian Jacks who also attested to Omoera’s passion. ‘We knew we occupied a special place in his heart. I remember an Invitational Relay we took part in at Baptist Academy. The baton exchange unfortunately was faulty, as the second leg dropped the baton, which made us lose that race.
Even before we got back to school, he had already heard of the poor performance and we could see how disappointed he was. Subsequently, we perfected all aspects of our races as we realized what a father figure, our Principal represented. In a similar fashion, the astute Administrator launched an assemblage of talented footballers from all nooks & crannies of the country and an astounding football alchemy turned dross to gold. Just three years after his arrival, his team played the final of the prestigious Principal’s Cup. A phenomenal achievement, considering that the foremost school football competition in the country was hitherto dominated by schools which had been in existence for eighty or more years! In a barn-storming fashion, the Landers team steam-rolled all obstacles in its path before a gallant loss in the ultimate final match. The Edo-born Principal’s forte was the undiluted loyalty and love he enjoyed from his sports stars. All were willing to shed sweat & blood to win laurels for him. They realized he honored them among not only all their peers, but even among the teaching staff. Most times, the fact that you were a footballer spared you from corporal punishment. In his post retirement years, he took his administrative ingenuity further afield as he served in diverse capacities in Lagos football leadership. Usually, he acted as Leader of delegation of State teams to competitions and until his death, was acknowledged as a reservoir of sport administrative skills.
Rest in peace, “ONE-IN-TOWN,” ANTHONY OMOERA.