INTRODUCTION

The Marist Brothers of the Schools Province of Nigeria is a Religious Congregation in the Catholic Church They have their Mother House in

Lorne, with Rev. Br Emili Turú Rofes, fans, as the Superior General. Here in Nigeria, the Province has the Provincialate at Chanpagnat House, Iva-Valley, Enugu. Rev. Br. Joachim Okoye-Ezctulugo is the Provincial Superior.

Currently in Nigeria, the Marist Brothers have seven secondary schools in six states of the federation Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Kogi Ebonyi, and FCT Abuja, MBJ being the pioneer school. They equally have others they manage for some Catholic Dioceses, such as Christ the King College, Gwagwalada, Abuja Christ the King Catholic College, Ire Ekiti, Ekiti State. Among the schools owned by the Marist Brothers are four nursery and primary schools in F.nugu, Abia, Imo, and Ebonyi Slutes Their sole apostolate, as promulgated by their founder, St. Marcellin Champagnat is the education of the background youths and bringing the young close to Jesus through Mary. They devote their lives to the service of the poor (of Jesus Christ) in the schools and social centers.

THE JUNIORATE BEFORE THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR, In 1963. Marist. Brothers’ Juniorate was established by the Marist Brothers as a formation center for candidates aspiring to become Marist Brothers. They started with a few young aspirants. Student Brothers like Rev. Bro. Fabian Okeke and a few others helped to teach these young boys during the holidays and long vacation periods. Many of the aspirants were businessmen, and Most of them had not yet ended secondary school before they came to join the Brothers, as such, the Juniorate was a kind of remedial center, where the aspirants received lessons for two years before going to the Novitiate Later in 1965, thirty young men began their formal Juniorate course under the Directorship of Rev. Br, Kieran of the blessed memory, and he was assisted by Rev. Brothers Francis Mac-Govan (Novice Master) and James Carroll, both of the blessed memory.

Another set of thirty boys again came in 1966, and two other Rev. Brothers; the late Loco Nwaigwe and Hyacinth Okoro: brought the number of the staff to live. ‘The Juniorate continued with this number until 1967 when it had to close down on account of the Civil War, and the aspiration (the Juniors) were sent home in July 1967 Before this time, basic structures were serving as the classroom block, laboratories, hostels, dining rooms, stores, and houses for the Brothers. For instance, where we have today as the Bursar’s office, which also houses the SS2 and S53 classes, a story building, was the

There was also a hand structure. the dormitory was a mud-brick bungalow. Another building, just by the gale, which was later used as a staffroom and school line, (presently the pavilion) accommodated the Brothers. The present senior boys, were then bare ground, while the school kitchen had originally been built at the very spot it is today. The building presently lousing the Director’s office, the secretariat, and so on, which was made of stone bricks, was there before the war but was used as, the store in those days, and it later housed the Brothers.

As of 1959, electricity and water had come. The present new basketball court was then watered well. The present house where the Director lives was the parish house for the Holy Cross Parish.

When the Brothers came to IJturu and amalgamated with the Brothers of St, Peter Claver in 1956, they built a parish house for the parish priest, in exchange for their house, that is, the Director’s house, and the Holy Cross Community. The building we call Alban Okoye Hall today, which is, the structure housing the computer laboratory and the library, was then (the novitiate house. It was built by an Italian construction company around 1963 as Novitiate House, and it was, a point of reference all around Isuikwuato and even beyond.

This building was used as the warehouse during the war for the relief materials sent by UNICEF while MBJ as a whole was used as a refugee camp. After the war, it became the workshop for the refugees, while Hopeville was being built. After building the Hopeville, they relocated from the MBJ and the Novitiatc (present Alban Okoye building) to the Hopeville, the late Brother Francis Mac-Govan (a white Brother) was the brain behind the establishment of the Hopeville By January 1975, as a result of an increase in population and activities in MBJ, the Novitiate was moved down to Orlu, with Rcv. Bro. Fabian Okeke as the Novice Master. Since then, the. Alban Okoyc Hall has remained the way it is, except for slight renovations over time, THE JUNIORATE AFTER. THE CIVIL WAR

There was the initial challenge of schools starting once again, as some of the students died in the war, and many of them never returned to the Juniorate. However, a few like Br. Christian Mbam, Joachim Ezetulugo, and others returned. It was a complete and fresh beginning. In 1970, Bro. Hyacinth Okoro, who had been the Director. before the war ensued, continued as the Director. Between 1970 and around 1980, the school had only one stream for each class, and the total number of student Brothers was not up to one hundred. The Brothers were though, unperturbed, as the Juniorate was run just for the aspirants. The great challenge was that a good number were not entering the novitiate after their stay in the Junior, they left for universities or job-searching.

Before then, they were paying very minimally. By that time, Science subjects, as well as Arts were all taught, and there were teachers for all of them. Like other Catholic schools within and around the area, MBJ students did quite well academically.

The Brothers ensured that adequate teaching and learning, as met the standard of the time, was given to the students. The present laboratory building was used as Chemistry and Physics laboratories around 1973. While Brother Lucious Palmer taught Mathematics and Physics, Brother Andrew Iwuagwu taught Biology The Brothers taught most of the subjects. In all, the staff strength was not more than ten.

Bro. Andrew Iwuagwu had taken over the Directorship by 1971, as Bro, Hyacinth Okoro went for studies overseas, Bro. Andrew Iwuagwu worked in the Juniorate as the Director from September 1971 to August 1974. He prepared the school for WAEC inspection. Bro. Michael Oruche became the District Superior. When Bro. Andrew left for Great Britain for further studies, Bro. Richard Ajaelu took over the directorship of MBJ. Bro. Hyacinth was through with his studies abroad, he came back to Nigeria to replace Bro. Michael Oruche as the District Superior.

When Bro. Richard Ajaelu came on board in 1974, he worked tirelessly to get the Juniorate registered for WAEC examinations. The 1974 set of Brothers Joseph Udeajah, Chima, Onwujuru, Basil Nwude, and the rest did not write WAEC in MBJ. They wrote in the College of the Immaculate Conception (C.I.C.) Enugu, because MBJ was. yet unregistered. However, in 1975, the first set of Juniors took the G.C.E., It is not worthy that Br. Richard Ajaelu fought to get thć Junior registered by WAEC. He went to the WAEC Lagos office by himself to it that they sent inspectors came to inspect the Jumiorate, and finally, in 1978, the Juniorate received an official letter of recognition from the Imo State Ministry of Education for West African School Certificate/G.C.E Examinations. Br.

Richard Ajaelu left the MBJ in 1980, He handed over to Bro. Isaac Elusiahu, who worked as the Director from 1980 to 1982. It was in fact, at this time that the Juniorate was thrown open to the public as a full secondary school.

From 1982, when Rev. Bro. Joachim Okoye-Ezetulugo took over as the Director of MBJ, there followed a rapid infrastructural expansion to meet the requirements of WAEC, this led to the demolition of the five bungalows that were in existence at the inception of the Juniorate. They were immediately replaced with modern buildings to facilitate teaching and learning.

Other Directors that piloted the affairs of MBJ from 1975 to 2023 include

Br. Isaac Elusiahu (1980 – 1982),

Br. Joachim Okoye-Ezetulugo (1982 – 1998),

Br. Christian Mbam (1998 – 1999),

Br. Fabian Okeke (1999 – 2005),

Br. Vincent Abadom (2005 – 2009),

Br, Christopher Onwuasoanya (2009 – 2011).

Br. Ifeanyi Mbaegbu (2011- 2017)

Br. Emmanuel Ogo (2017 – 2021)

Br. Henry Uzor (2021- till date)

Most of the other major infrastructural developments were done by Bro. Joachim Okoye- Ezetulugo and this went on through other Directors alter him.