• Vow to give back to alma mater
By Olajiire Ishola
Forty-one years after leaving school, alumni of Esie-Iludun Grammar School, Irepodun Local Government Area, Kwara State (Class of 1976), on Saturday, November 4, 2017, met for the second time. They converged at the house of one of their members, Alhaji Ibrahim Ajibowo Salawu, on Ajibowo Salawu Street, near LASU, Lagos State.
It was all fun for the ex-students, most of whom had not seen one another since they left the school in 1976. They came from far and near across the country to set the ball rolling for the larger reunion of members.
The host, Salawu, while welcoming the members, said he was surprised that all of them could go this far in their respective professions, considering the circumstances that surrounded their final year at the school.
He said when they were in form five, a riot broke out, pitting them against form four students, leading to the expulsion of the whole students in form five. But they were later given the privilege to sit for their final examination, which led to many of them not being able to prepare well for the examination. He expressed happiness that, in spite of the setback, many of them were now captains of industry and successful businessmen and women, while those that worked in various ministries and government agencies rose to the pinnacle of their career.
Dr. Sule Ayodele Popoola, who observed that the reunion started like child’s play through the social media (Whatsapp forum), urged members to sustain the momentum by encouraging those not yet onboard to join them when they would formally launch the body. He urged the alumni to be committed so that the body could grow from strength to strength, while reminding them that the benefits of the reunion would soon be known.
Olabanji Olayemi, a two-time member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and member of the House of Representatives, expressed joy that all of them were able to overcome the challenges of life to reach where they are today. He thanked them for making out time to attend the meeting.
Alhaja (Chief) Ameedat Monisola Atobatele, a retired federal director-general and now commercial farmer said she picked interest in the reunion because of the events that happened in their final year.
She said she was particularly happy because, when they were in school, they were like brothers and sisters and she saw the bond that held them together then manifesting in their reunion meeting. She thanked the organisers and host for the initiative.
Another meeting was slated for February 10, 2018, to formally form the alumni association and appoint officers to pilot the association.
They ended the gathering with a firm commitment to be their brother’s keeper and to form a larger gathering of the set of 1976, with a vow to give back to the school for helping them reach the heights they have attained.
After the meeting, they were treated to fine music and food. Some members showed their appreciation for the reunion by dolling out gifts to those that were present.