Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Class 2003 Loyola College Old Boys’ Reunion

Ige, Abass & Chief Ayangbayi

On December 24 2011, some old boys met at the dinning hall of Loyola College Ibadan, one of the most prestigious mission schools taken over by the Oyo State Government and transformed into public schools in the wake of the 1980s. Founded in 1954 by Rev. Father Mackle of the catholic mission and originally distinguished by its qualitative education and adequate sporting facilities, the Loyola College which is still located along the Old Ife Road in Ibadan has produced many influential politicians, academicians, engineers, lawyers, doctors and other distinguished professionals over the years. But the eminent boys’ only school has grossly dwindled in glory as several of its most vital facilities are presently in dilapidated states while others are absolutely absent. The class 2003 which is disputably the last set of champion loyolans because of their active participation and performance at JETS competition, the Governor’s football tournament, Music, Arts, Basketball contests and Pepsi football academy recently assembled to share ideas on how to aid the restoration of the school’s lost glory.

The first speaker at the class 2003 reunion, Mrs Grace Oderinde, was one of the set’s favourite teachers, being the school’s life planning education tutor in their time. She was fondly remembered by many of the boy long after their graduation many years ago. Famous for her natural beauty and virtuousness, Mrs Oderinde offered the senior boys serial classes on sexual development and education. Most of the boys professed they were always looking forward to her lecture days to learn how to persuade the ladies from Saint Anne Girls’ High School at extramural classes. At the reunion, she made an interesting presentation on Recipe for building a good family with a focus on how to choose the right partner. She highlighted and explained the traits of a good woman or wife material and offered guidelines for having a successful marriage with someone from a different tribe. Sharing from life experience, she illustrated the problems associated with the search for greener pastures abroad and encouraged the alumni to acquire additional skills that can serve as an alternative means of livelihood in times when white-collar jobs are difficult to find. She relayed her time in Ireland with the ex-loyolans as a time of exposure, impact and redirection.

The other guest speaker, Chief S.O. Ayangbayi, who was the school principal for five out of the six years spent by the 2003 class, gave a lecture titled, self-sustenance, panacea to the dwindling Nigerian economy: our graduates’ perspective. He commenced with an enumeration of how Loyola College was built, how the school administration system was captured by the then government and the following but gradual mismanagement processes that reduced the school to what it is today. He also back-traced the failure history of government in performing its functions in our nation and identified the harnessing of local products and talents as a means of bridging the technological dichotomy between Nigeria and foreign countries. Advising the government, he said, “Let there be Igbo-made and okrika products. Government should seek ways of supporting them and improving the quality of their products. Those in government should close our borders to the importation of foreign goods.” Speaking further, Chief Ayangbayi, encouraged the many graduates of agricultural economics to continue the farming habit which they compulsorily practised while undergoing their undergraduate studies.

Though some of the 2003 set of loyolans, especially those in diaspora, were absent from the event, they sorely wished to be present. The event’s organising committee, chaired by Mr Abass Babatunde and comprising key facilitators such as Calculus, Sarofa and Owoyokun Abayomi, was severally praised by the ex-loyolans who were glad to see one another after an interlude of approximately 8years. Among those present at the reunion were Dr Olagoke Olakanmi (Ebora), Engr Tomiwa Ishola, Kunle Ola esq., Akinyemi Olayinka esq. (Sarofa), Engr. Ige Damilola (Calculus), Mr Ekene Mbalu (Oparun), Olawale Timothy esq. (Tanko), Mr Akerele Abayomi, Engr Femi Akintunde, Engr. Dimeji Adeyinka, Barr. Taiwo Egharevba, Mr Ismail Adeyemo, Segun Obisesan esq. (Senior Prefect), Mr Peter Adewoye (Ishoro), Mr Olajide, Mr Tolulope (Asst Senior Prefect), Mr Steven Bikers and many other prominent class 2003 loyolans. It is the desire of the organisers to have a recurrence of the event biennially. Until then, all class 03 loyolans are implored to keep their fingers crossed.

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