The Apostolic Church Grammar School Old Students’ Association, Orishigun, Ketu, in Kosofe Council area of Lagos, has urged government to address the deplorable standard of education, saying education remains the bedrock of development.
The old students who celebrated the 60th anniversary of their alma mater at the school compound on Saturday 27th January, expressed joy over the coming together of various sets having graduated many years ago.
Speaking with newsmen, the old students took turns to express satisfaction over the foundation that was accorded them, noting all hands must be on deck to ensure quality education.
The President of the association, Mr Solomon Alabi, who is from 1981 set said, “I stand before you as today, we come together not just as individuals but as a testament to the enduring spirit of our school (Apostograms) and the lasting bonds forged within its walls.
“Six decades ago, a vision was born that would give rise to the institution we proudly call our own today. The Apostolic Church Grammar School has not only stood the test of times, but has flourished, shaping the lives of countless individuals who passed through its corridors.
“As members of this distinguished association, TACGSOSA, we carry with us the values instilled in us during our formative years. The lessons of discipline, camaraderie and perseverance continue to guide us. No matter where life’s journey has taken us, our shared experiences at the school has forged a bond that transcends time and distance, and today, we come together to celebrate the legacy that unites us.
“In the heart of the school here today, we honour the missionaries who laid the foundation of our alma mater and we reflect on the impact it has had on each of us. At inception, the school welcomed its first set of students 44, 22 boys and 22 girls, but today 60 years after, the school’s population is close to a thousand (1000). To the glory of God, the products of this great institution, are flying in various fields of human endeavours.
The chairman of the occasion who is from the second set of 1965, a year after the school was established, Otunba (Dr) Alex Onabanjo said, “I was one of the second sets and that gives me a great pleasure to be here to find this, and I must say, meeting some of my old classmates, some of my juniors, also gives me a pleasure to see that most of them have achieved quite a lot based on the foundation that we are giving over here.
“I must tell you that the school gave us a very good foundation, made us very good christian life, gave us comfort to believe in God, that with God everything is possible. And it has sort of guided me.
“So I am so happy and I just hope that those young ones who are here, we imbibe the same culture. I know things are changing, children nowadays are digital children. Everything is all on Internet. Everything is what you see, is what you get. But I hope that we know that nothing can give you anything other than hard work. That’s all I need to say. “
Giving his perception of the school presently, he added, “Well, the founder of this school, a great pastor, he as a visionary man. And it was a shame that after his demise, the Apostolic Church members did not follow his master plan. If they had followed his master plan, this crew will have been one of the best, because he even planned a university inside the campus.
“Here we used to go to the principal school to look at the master plan of the school and all the rest. I came here, I was the only one in my set that was made a prefect in form 4 to join the form 5 people. And I was a library prefect because I was disciplined and I said I’m a no-nonsense person. Even if you are my senior and you make noise in my library, I will send you out. If you borrow books and you don’t return on time because we have limited one, I will not allow you to borrow books another time. Those were the things at that time.
“But coming here today and seeing what they reduce the size to, honestly, I cannot say I’m happy. But we give God the glory in everything. And my advice to the younger one is, don’t think about the size, think about what you’re able to get out of this place. We have taken great things out of this place, and we have built industries, we have built people, we have made people, and that is it. And even when I became a pro chancellor at a university, everybody knew I was a no-nonsense. I sacked lecturers who are abusive to students, I sacked people who were not meeting up with NUC guidelines, even professors who were not writing papers and all that. Those were the discipline that we took from this background and then it has sort of grown with one and we are able to pass that on to people as we move along, “
Speaking on the level of education in the country, the chairman said, “The level of education in the old country is not what it used to be. I remember when I left here for United States of America, subjects that we did in form 5 were taught in university, my physics, chemistry and all the rest of it. And we were leaders in our class. Nobody was beating us. And they used to look at who are all these African magicians? That’s what the white people called us at that time. But it was the foundation at that time the government took education seriously.
“But take a look at the budget that they give to education in Nigeria, that speaks volume. Look at the population of people, look at the population of the students. What is government doing with this? I hope, I pray that one day those who are saddled with responsibility of governance will look back and know that education is the bedrock of development and they will do something about education to add value to all our teaming students all over Nigeria.”
Also, Mrs Abimbola Kamson-Jeboda disclosed that the initial plan was to mark the golden jubilee of the school but that was not made possible due to COVID-19 pandemic.
She added, “So we all looked forward to today. And we believe we are here to chat, to talk to each other, to play and remember those good old days. I have not changed. Everybody can testify. The only thing is age has caught up with me. I was 70 last year and I seem to be one of the youngest in our class. It’s nice to be here. It’s nice to see all our mates.
“And I hope as the program continues, we’ll be able to see the younger ones. Because I don’t know most of them. We were the third set because the school was coming in 1964 and we were 1966 set. And I think our set did the best. I don’t know if any of the old ones have been able to beat us.
“We had Grade one, Grade two. Grade one and two were many. I dropped to Grade two just by two points. So, to me a lot of people think I went to Queens College but I told them that I was supposed to go to Centre when I was in primary six. I came back from school one day and my father said, you are too brilliant to be going to a centre, you want to be cooking? I said no. That was how he brought me here.
She added, “The school has been a guiding light for me. What I am in the church today is because I came to this school. I was a business person. I was one of the first youth. I went to China in 1989 when China was nothing. And when we were there, they were still using bicycles. So, where we find ourselves today in Nigeria. I don’t understand. The Nigeria that I know is not in Nigeria now.
She however expressed hope, “You know, one thing that I know is this. I schooled abroad. I went to university in England. But I can tell you that when I qualified, I came home immediately. There is no place like Nigeria. And I told my children, but you can only tell your children things. You cannot enforce anything for anybody, even your dog. There is no place like Nigeria. Nigeria will be great again. Go and write it down. I may not be around, but Nigeria will definitely be great again, that I know. And by God’s grace, we’ll get there,” she prayed.