Let the Government Colleges celebrate Wole Soyinka, Achebe, Harriman, Saro Wiwa, Grammar schools hail the Chairman, Glo Mike Adenuga…. where do we place Barewa, Kings College, Hope Waddell, Stella Maris, CMS etc.?
“Mayflower preaches a very strong educational philosophy grounded in self-reliance, self-sacrifice, public service and physical toughness. In Solarin’s words, the students must be ‘rugged.’ Since the school was first established, in the boarding house, female students are forbidden from using any form of cosmetics. A rigorous, military-style living regimen requires that every student wake up at 5:00 am for a round of moderate physical exercise which involved running and in-field stretches. In his days, Dr. Solarin would often be the first to show up for these exercises. He urged his students to always ‘lead by example.’ The school’s motto is ‘Knowledge is Light’ and it is noted for the outstanding quality of its graduates, many of whom are leaders in Nigeria and abroad.”
– A History of Mayflower College, Ikenne, Ogun State
The Owelle of Ogwashi-Uku Hon. George Uwechue, and the entire old boys of Rimi (St. John’s) College, Kaduna, would this weekend at Dolphin Estate, Lagos host an elaborate event to honor their National President Surv. Kabir Mohammed, “for his outstanding contributions to national unity.”
Immediately the famous Rimi (St. John’s) college invitation card tossed out from the scores of the weekend Invites, I clutched on that particular piece of fine design. This is Kaduna Nzeogwu’s St. John’s College! Every Nigerian secondary school from its first day under the sun is remembered primarily, by the products of the College, the founder and sometimes by the academic records of its graduates and invariably by the traditions, culture of the staff and the students. Before the war, great Nigerian Colleges like Mount Olivet Oyo, St. Greg’s, SPC, St. Murrumba’s Jos, Stella Maris PH, CKC, Edo College, Hussey College Warri, Queen’s College, St. Teresa’s, St. Louis, etc. come to the assembly every morning and listen to the historical exploits of their successful graduates as an example in pushing the ambitions of the students to accomplish their targets.
Indeed, Government College Ibadan is always rated very high as one of Nigeria’s premier colleges. This is the college that produced one out of the three Nobel Laureates in the continent, Asabamaka, Prof. Wole Soyinka! The College also produced Sanjo Kanmi-Jones, the first Nigerian to play professional hockey in the world; Nigeria Ambassador to the London 2012 Olympic for Hockey. Others in the golden parade include…. Professor Femi Osofisan, Professor of Theater Arts, James Obi, Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo, Mathematical genius and former Governor Oyo State, Professor Victor Ngu, physician and researcher, former Minister of Health, Republic of Cameroon, Dr. Richard Oni, orthopedic spine surgeon, Hon. Dr. Christopher Kolade, Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vice Admiral (Rtd) Michael Adelanwa, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigeria, Professor T. M. Aluko, eminent scholar and author, Dr. T. S. B. Aribisala, pre-eminent agriculturalist, Olanrewaju Bolarin, president, Majestic World of Business. HRH Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Erediauwa, King of Benin, Nigeria, Dr. Akinola Aguda, first Chief Justice of Botswana, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, first actuary in Nigeria, Chief Adegoke Adelabu, distinguished politician, Maj. General (Rtd) Olufemi Olutoye, former Federal Minister, Chief Hope Harriman, Industrialist.
In the same Ibadan, the Grammar school gave us one of the richest Nigerians and the Chairman of the Glo group. In the same Western axis, we have great sports and academic citadels like Mount Olivet, Akure, Loyola College and the unfor gettable Tai Solarin’s Mayflower! From Ikenne Mayflower to Lagos, you are accosted with the oldest CMS 1859, and for decades the college supplied the churches their early clergy and for the government, their pioneer administrators.
Enter the grandiose Kings College. Whatever has been the tussle, most parents would pay anything for their kids to be accepted to read at that African Eton on the Atlantic. Never to be intimidated are other great colleges like St. Greg’s, Obalende. Igbobi College, St. Finbarr’s Akoka, Holy Child College, Queen’s College, Methodist College etc. all great sports promoting colleges whose high demanding sports programs and inclination provide the students the discipline to soar up to the summit of academic records.
In the Midwest, Edo College was the premier college but towards the beginning of the war furiously, was receiving major competitions from Hussey College, Government College Ughelli, ICC Benin, and SPC Asaba, in both academics and sporting activities. Edo produced Ukpabi Asika, the great Nigerian triple jumper Charlton Ehizuliem, and may God bless his soul Victor Omoregie, the super athlete and the Vanguard Public Relations Manager, who died three weeks ago.
As argued, Nigeria’s best and most renowned colleges are signposted by the activities of their most renowned graduates in the history of that institution. Just like Wole Soyinka is the accepted brand logo for Government College, Ibadan; the Glo Chairman, Mike Adenuga, for the Ibadan Grammar School; Sydney Asiodu on account of his incomparable versatility and also because of the nature of his death in Asaba in 1967, Asiodu can carry the flag for Babatunde Fashola’s alma mata, Igbobi Grammar School, Lagos. For the Mayflower College, the everlasting stamp and logo belongs to the imperishable memory of the immortal founder and Principal, the irrepressible teacher, Tai Solarin.
I shall find my way to Dolphin Estate, Lagos, this weekend to join the classmates, the schools mates and the entire old boys of Rimi (St. John’s) College, Kaduna to honor Surv. Kabir Mohammed, Justice Saka Ibiyeye and those other fifty members coming all the way from Katsina, for their contributions as stated by my uncle, Owelle George Uwechue.
Following the Arewa ultimatum asking the Igbos to leave the North, Owelle George Uwechue stressed that, the National President of Rimi College, Surv. Mohammed at the head of over fifty other delegates of the Katsina Old Boys Association paid an emergency royal visit to the Royal Majesty, the Igwe of Nnewi, Nwafor Orizu. At the Palace, Kabir Mohammed, like the old boy of St. John’s College courageously pledged and reaffirmed the royal trust in the Nigerian unity as declared by the Royal Majesty, the Emir of Katsina, on the same question. They will die with anybody that will dare touch one hair of any innocent Igbo under the Katsina emirate.
While we congratulate the President, the old boys of that great college we remember at this time the beacon, the magnificent brand logo of that college. Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was the first and the last Nigerian Revolutionary. Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu was an alumnus of the great St. John’s College, Kaduna, and by the story of his life and times, he catapulted St. John’s to the pantheon institutions on the same level with Wole Soyinka’s and Achebe’s Government Colleges of Ibadan and Umuahia.