Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade are among the old boys of the Government College, Ibadan to be honoured as the school marks its 90th anniversary and the 2019 reunion.
Others to be honoured are a renowned playwright, Prof. Femi Osofisan, the author of ‘One Man, One Wife’, Prof. Timothy Aluko and another literary icon, Dr Bode Sowande.
Dr Wale Babalakin, the National President, Government College, Ibadan Old Students’ Association, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Lagos.
He said that during this year’s anniversary, two areas of endeavour had been chosen to celebrate the former students of the school.
“One of the areas is the Creative Arts, because we think this is one area that the school’s old boys have dominated,” he said.
According to him, the college has produced thorough-bred academics who have all distinguished themselves in their different endeavour.
He noted that not less than 15,000 students have graduated from the college since its inception in 1971.
Babalakin, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), stated that in trying to identify those deserving of awards during the anniversary celebration, the association had been faced with a huge task.
According to him, this is because the association has a pool of over 1,000 distinguished old boys who have been outstanding in academics, especially in the area of engineering.
Babalakin said that if any government chose to fund education, it must be qualitative, as education remained the bedrock of civilisation.
According to him, the crave for qualitative education in the country is in the right course, adding however that it may not come without some costs.
He said that most countries, which had recorded landmark achievements in various spheres of life, had done so through huge investments in the education sector.
“That is why we are set to roll out drums to celebrate some of our own who have made outstanding contributions to the development of not just the college, but the country at large.
“This year, we are going to be celebrating our school’s 90th anniversary of rendering service to the nation.
“The theme of this year’s anniversary is: ‘90 Years of Service to the Nation’.
“We are very grateful to the founders of the school, who created a model school in the Western part of Nigeria in 1929.
“This school was founded on certain defined principles, which are basically an assembly of the most gifted boys in the old Western Region,’’ he said.
Babalakin said another principle was the entry qualification, which was strictly hinged on outstanding performance at the entrance examination.
According to him, another nature of the college is its unique traditions, adding “these traditions were established and nurtured in the course of 50 years of its existence.
“For example, though we have a united front, we also have strong affiliation to our various houses, which were four in number, up till the late 1940s.
“It was a collegiate system where the houses sought to thrive in its glory but collectively, we stayed united for the school. Discipline too was a key quality of Government College Ibadan.
“There was great emphasis on rewarding hard work or success, and there was sufficient penalty for bad behaviour. There were grades of school penalties for whatever offence committed,’’ he said.
Babalakin, who stated that the college had contributed enormously to the development of the country, added that he was proud of its achievements.
“We are having a play titled; The Folly of Men, which is an adaptation of plays of Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan and Bode Sowande, also one of the awardee
“This play will be staged at the University of Lagos on October 13.”
Babalakin added that an annual public lecture, with the topic: ‘Resolving Nigeria’s Energy Challenges’, would also be held on October 16, as part of activities for the celebrations.
He said there would be a visit by the old boys to orphanage homes as well community/welfare services.
The national president said that some projects, including the refurbished laboratory, re-grassed main field and others would also be inaugurated.
According to him, the old boys have injected about N500 million into the redevelopment of the college.
“These include construction of the road leading to the college and provision of potable water.
“We are also working in collaboration with the state government to revive the boarding system for the college,’’ Babalakin said.
He said that the grand finale of the celebration would come up on October 19, with an annual luncheon and merit awards as well as raffle draw.