In the colonial period, history has it that some Ibadan chiefs had a meeting with the District Officer and in the course of the meeting during which they (chiefs) reeled out projects that they embarked upon. While this goes on at every mention of a project, the district officer would nod in appraisal, good, good (7x) yeah yeah (6x). The Ibadan chiefs came back with the tales of how the Oyinbo did Seven(7) goods and Six(6) yeahs. (gudugudu meje, yaya mefa)
This was exactly the story of the Old boys Association of the Ibadan Boys High School at the just concluded 80th anniversary celebration.
The Eightieth anniversary of The Ibadan Boys High School has come and gone but the memory will live long for a long time. The pomp and pageantry that greeted the event, the conviviality, the re-union, the euphoria, the nostalgia and the pleasure of meeting old longtime friends and classmates may have fizzled out in the event of overriding activities and the prevailing socio political currents in the country, but the lessons learnt from this great experience will definitely live with us for the foreseeable future. Indeed there are lessons to learn.
It was indeed a spectacle to behold as the activities marking the 80th anniversary celebration kicked off on Thursday running through Saturday with a plethora of activities much to the benefit of the students who, as you can visibly notice were super excited to have the Old boys around. For them, it was Christmas come early.
The event came to its crescendo on Saturday, the grand finale, as the old boys in their different princely robes greeted the premises with so much excitement, the joy of reuniting with old folks, the nostalgia of reminiscing old memories lodged in their subconscious, memories of life and times in the hallowed institutions.
Leading the throng of old boys is the National President Ibadan Boys High School Old Boys Association, the eminent industrialist Chief Bode Amoo OON who in conjunction with other old students commissioned a host of projects embarked upon by different sets of old boys in commemoration of the 80th anniversary.
The first sign of CHANGE and impression of celebration is the imposing and magnificent school gate which boldly and warmly invites one into the precinct of the institution. The once rough muddy compound has being transformed into a finely interlocked surface that nicely complements the all-white uniform of the students. A newly commissioned beautiful bust of the founder of the school Chief T. L Oyesina greets your presence as you walk down the premises. Aside the side attractions of fanfare, the old boys really gave back to the school that gave them so much in their formative years. Majority of the projects commissioned were remarkably towards the intellectual and academic enhancement of the students of the school.
Aside the refurbishment of the various laboratories namely: Biology, Chemistry and Physics Laboratories, there were new Electronic Libraries; there are also conventional library and newly acquired books and educational materials by the Old Boys for the benefit of the students.
Kudos must be given to the leadership of the Old Boys Association led by Chief Bode Amoo and Otunba Reuben Famuyibo as well as the Principal of the school, Alhaji. Abubakar Olasupo who is also an old student for coordinating, Organizing and planning the various projects commissioned through the contributions of the Old Boys.
While we continue to laud the Old Boys for their contributions to the academic and intellectual development of their alma mater, this celebrations call for deeper reflection on a broader perspective – the state of our education sector and what would have been if old students could contribute to the infrastructural and academic development of their various alma mater.
The deplorable situation of our institutions of learning is all clear for all to see. This in no small way has virtually affected the quality of our education. The rot in our education system is ubiquitous, from dilapidated classrooms and school infrastructure to the poorly equipped library facilities, to poor quality, redundant and uninspiring performance of teachers.
Governments at all levels have been and are being complicit in the rots in the educations system. However while the negligence over the years. However, it is good to extend the drag net of blame to all stakeholders in this most important sector of our society; old students inclusive. While the Government will more often than not take the lion share of the blame, if all relevant stakeholders can also always contribute their own quota to the development of this all important sector, perhaps the current state would have been non-existent.
Therefore, it is important for all old students of various institutions to take a cue from the old boys of Ibadan boys’ high school in contributing their quota to the development of their alma mater in the infrastructural development, the academic and integral development of the students.
Many would argue that So much ‘burden’ has been imposed on the head of government who true to its statutory duties should oversee these institutions of learning. Some would argue that the level of corruption and mismanagement by the relevant stakeholders have left these institutions in Limbo, but the various stakeholders; parents and old student in a more ways than one can collaboration with the government can resuscitate these institutions and perhaps return them to their glory days if not to further their growth and development.
Old student can contribute to student’s welfare and educational advancement through the offering of scholarships to indigent students and the brilliant students can benefit from their brilliance by getting bursary and other incentives. This can be practiced at all tiers of our education system; primary, secondary as well as tertiary.
In this part of the world, we seem to lack the culture of giving back to the society. Only a handful of Nigerians have actually contributed towards the infrastructural and academic growth of their alma mater and the society at large. Advanced countries have a system whereby rich and wealthy individuals in the society enhance educational advancement by contributing a portion of their fortunes to a school or institutions within their society. These individuals often create a seat in the institutions of learning and through that aids, funds and grants are disbursed toward the promotion of research and learning and research. Many of our scholars and luminaries in Nigeria are beneficiaries of this largesse.
The Old Boys of Ibadan Boys High Schools deserve some accolades for organizing themselves in such a way that such lofty projects could be executed effectively. History will definitely be kind to them and Chief T.L Oyesina could only smile at them in appreciation for building on what he founded, thereby becoming collaborators in the bold dreams of achieving quality education for the citizens of Ibadan.
Reports and Photographs by Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity ANNOUNCER