By ’Tunde Thomas
FOR the school, Hopebay College, Alaba located deeply in the heart of Ajegunle a.k.a. Jungle City, this particular Friday was a special one.
The entire school was in a festive mood with students and teachers radiating special glow, while drummers and some of the students donning traditional attires sang and danced round the school premises. It was a carnival like setting. Banners welcoming guests to the special occasion were also hung at the entrance to the college, and other strategic points within the school premises.
It was a day the school had set aside to honour one of her old students, Peter Ayodele Dada, who recently set an enviable record of being the best graduating student in the history of any Nigerian university with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.00 point in Psychology from University of Lagos. Dada was honoured during the last graduation ceremony of the institution.
It was a rare academic feat never achieved by any student in the history of the country’s educational system. Like a goldfish with no hiding place, Dada has become an instant celebrity who is being celebrated by many individuals and organizations. He was also honoured by members of the House of Representatives last week Tuesday.
Apparently not wanting to be left out of the celebration of this uncommon achiever, the management of Hopebay College organized the elaborate reception to honour Dada whom the school principal Mr Lasun Adesokan described a good ambassador of the college.
While waiting for Dada’s arrival, students and other guests were already seated, and when the man being honoured eventually arrived accompanied by his mother and one of his siblings the entire school erupted in wild celebration with many jostling to either touch or catch a glimpse of Dada who obviously savoured the special moment.
After an interlude of dancing, singing and praise-worship, the principal, Adesokan set the ball rolling by telling the audience why Dada was being accorded special honour.
According to him:
“Today is a special day in the history of the school. It is a day we have set aside to honour excellence. It is a day something special has come out of our own zion. Hitherto, Ajegunle is regarded a jungle city, a city of dwellers who lack focus, Ajegunle is derided by many for bad things but to God be the glory it is out of this same Ajegunle that Dada is coming out from. Ayodele Dada is our own boy. Dada is Ajegunle boy,. And we are proud that we moulded his academic career at Hopebay College and he has not disappointed us.”
While declaring Dada as a worthy ambassador of the college, Adesokan noted that the honoree as a student of the school had showed early signs of someone destined for greater heights especially in academic endeavours.
“While he was growing up under our wings, he doesn’t take his academic work with levity. He showed clearly early signs of somebody destined for greatness. We thank God that he had not disappointed us. Today Dada has put the name of our school on the world map and for that we are proud of him,” he said.
Tracing the history of the school to 1987 when approval for its establishment was given by the Lagos State government, ADesokan noted that since then the school has been renown for academic excellence.
“Since we started in 1987, Hopebay College has remained a centre of academic excellence. Our school was listed as one of the best 40 schools in Nigeria by WAEC in 2003. We have also won many laurels and pries including Learning Point Debate on NTA 2, Nnenna Friend Brainpower, and Bournvita Brain Match Debate. The 2009 Gulder Ultimate Man Mr Nwachukwu Michael is also a product of this school,” he declared.
Praying that God will take Dada to the zenith in whatever callings he decided to follow, the principal urged current and old students of the school to strive to be good ambassadors of the school.
In his response, Dada who expressed gratitude to the school for the honour done to him said whatever achievement he recorded at UNILAG would not have been possible without the good foundation laid for him at Hopebay College.
“There is no way I can ever forget the role played in my life by Hopebay College. The school launched me on the path of success which I attained at UNILAG. I can’t forget all my teachers from JSS till the time I left the school. All of them contributed in no small means to get the best out of me. All of them provided conducive environment for me to succeed. It is only God that can reward them for the good deed done to me,” he said.
While admonishing students of the school to be always focused and worked hard, Dada added that the sky is the limit for any hardworking student.
“If you read well, you will get good result. Take your studies serious. Achievement of any sort is possible if you are determined,” he declared.
Dada also played tributes to his parents, especially his father who he said always gave him extra tutorials after he closed from school.
“Right from the time I was young, my parents pay special attention to me. My father always gave me extra tutorials after returning from school, and I remember very clearly that before I attained the age of 9, I have known most countries and their capitals, and my father often called me to come and enumerate these nations and their capitals whenever his friends came visiting. Of course, my mum being a teacher, also played a special role in my academic success.
Although it was not all book, book or reading and reading, my parents still created time for leisure for all of us. Even at UNILAG, it was not all book and books, I had time for socials. I was a social person on the campus. I attended birthday parties, cinemas and I had so many movies on my laptop which I often shared with my friends, just as I was also sharing academic notes with them,” he stated.
In his own remarks at the occasion, the Executive Secretary, Ifelodun LCDA, Hon. Adigun Wahab Adebayo said he was elated that Hopebay College located within his Local Council Development Area produced Dada whom he described as a genius.
Adebayo who could hardly contain his excitement said the council will do something special for Dada in appreciation of the honour he brought to the school and the community.
“I’m happy that today, Ajegunle has scored another first. Don’t mind those people that refer to Ajegunle as jungle. Dada who is the best graduating student is not from Ikoyi, Victoria Island or any highbrow schools as some would have expected but he was produced from Ajegunle, for that we are happy and Ajegunle community will celebrate him.
“Don’t forget that Ajegunle has also been producing other celebrities including football stars like Samson Siasia, Baba Fryo, Daddy Showkey among a host of others. We in Ajegunle are proud of our heritage.”
Speaking later after the ceremony, Dada told SATURDAY SUN that he has been approached by many companies including multi-nationals with a lot of offers. He however added that he is still studying the offers, even though he is presently working as an intern in one of them.
At the UNILAG convocation where the 29 year old psychology graduate who became an instant celebrity following the announcement of his feat, carted home prizes worth 1 million naira.
He won eight awards of various categories including the vice-chancellor’s award for the best graduating student. He was also given special award by UNILAG Alumni Association.