By Fred Ezeh
It was a time for laughter, hugs, handshakes, back-slapping, reminiscing, exchange of business cards and other pleasantries last week as the Kings College Old Boys Association (KCOBA) gathered at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, to celebrate love, individual and group achievements at a roundtable.
Aside from prominent politicians, governors, the former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, ministers and party chieftains that were members, the event witnessed the presence of captains of industry, philanthropist, those in the academia and clergymen, with the Matawalin Borno, Alhaji Kashim Imam, as the chief host.
The event was the 2017 first quarterly dinner. It provided a moment for the old students to reflect on how fair life has been to them decades after leaving the college and having, possibly, graduated from the university before venturing into one business or the other.
It also provided an opportunity for the former schoolmates to, among other things, discuss the current state of economic and political transition in Nigeria, and the economic policies of the federal government, which they said have visited unexpected poverty and hardship on Nigerians.
The development was emphasised by the keynote speaker, Mr. Atedo Peterside, who dwelt on the topic, “Evolving Economy, Good Governance and Repositioning Nigeria.”
Peterside criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for what he called its deficiency of economic ideas that further pushed Nigeria into economic and political doldrums.
He wondered why the government, instead of taking useful advice from people like the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, that have proven economic integrity and track record, launched a verbal assault against him for being one of the loud voices in the North.
Peterside, however, exposed the Kings College old boys to the economic and political potentials that abound in Nigeria, which, he said, require political willlpower to effect the needed restructuring of Nigeria before the expected progress could be achieved.
In his remarks, the chairman of the Abuja branch of the association, Mr. Miebaka Adoki, commended the old boys for their commitment to the association and urged them to keep it up.
He reminded them of the benefits of commitment and full participation in the activities and programmes of KCOBA because the association remained committed to the betterment of all members.
He said, “The association is obliged to cater for the welfare of members and as well contribute to the academic and infrastructural growth of Kings College Lagos in particular and Nigerian education system in general.
“Our constitution clearly states that we inculcate and sustain the interest of our college among old boys, promote social interaction and things that would promote the spirit of the school among members.”
After Adoki, the financial secretary of KCOBA, Yusuf Buhari, took the centre stage to give an update on the performance of the Abuja chapter of the association in membership, financial commitments and other things as contained in the by-law of the association.
He was unhappy that, despite several appeals, attendance at meetings still remained low.
“We had an average of 19.1 per cent attendance for the three general meetings since October 2016. That wasn’t impressive at all,” he said.
Nevertheless, Buhari said that the new executives have been creative in trying to lubricate the bond between the members by creating social media accounts and a WhatsApp group of 250 members for easy and instant communication.
In addition, sporting events, he said, have also been used as a socialising and bonding tool for members, while a database that contains contact and business details of all Abuja-based members has been created.
He commended the members for their financial commitment to the association, stressing that, “As at March 2017, records shows that 7.4 per cent of members have fully paid their dues while 10. 2 per cent have only made part payment.”
He encouraged members to take advantage of the King’s Economic Club (KEC) to promote their businesses and exchange ideas, knowledge, experiences and opportunities for self and national development.
KEC, according to him, promises to positively channel the energies of members, especially the younger ones, towards productivity and wealth creation, which would empower and unite all members and the entire nation.