Father of lights, Father of The Light, God of all creation. Thank You for a day like this. Many have chosen this day to remember the sacrifice of Your Son, Beloved Jesus, on Calvary’s cross, for the sins of all humanity. I thank you for that great show of love. It is the greatest and total sum of love. Thank You.
By Your mercy, bring believers to produce the right response of love to that which you have done in love. Help us to die that we may live. Help us to live Christ. Help us to die to live again. Amen.
I want to talk about Igbobi College. You will wonder where I am going with this but patiently follow Sundays on this blog, or this blog on Sundays (anyhow). The Lord help us.
Igbobi College Yaba is my alma mater. First of the best and best of the first. There is just something about that school that excited me anytime I hear or see anything pertaining to that wonderful school. I had so much of gains there and life lessons, friendships, discipline and growth. ICY is undoubtedly one of the best schools in West Africa.
Igbobi College has humble beginnings and started as a union of Anglicans and Methodists to fashion a Christocentric education system for boys in the manner of British schools like Eton and Harrow. It was situated on a large expanse of land in the Igbobi area of Somolu, Lagos and was the only other developed place in the area, closest neighbour being the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH).
Igbobi College grew from being the school in the bush to an elite and elitist school in the first few years and the culture of discipline and tradition of excellence attracted students from all classes and became a training ground for Nigerians who became foremost leaders in their fields and in the nation.
Segun Awolowo schooled there. He was dormitory mate to Akin Aduwo, an admiral, former Chief of Naval Staff and former administrator of Western Nigeria. Olorogun Felix Ibru was also there and his brother Oscar. Olu Falae is another one of the great men to have attended Igbobi College. We will also claim Governor Babatunde Fashola from our brother school, Birch Freeman High School; let’s just say Fashola was in the green house in ICY. Cyprian Ekwensi taught in ICY.
I went to Igbobi College too. And I am more than somebody. I carry Christ.
Igbobi College didn’t have it all rosy. In fact, there were many times that the purpose for which it was created seemed unachievable and out of reach, and it seemed greater forces sought to veer it off course. During World War II, the school grounds caught British attention and the school was exiled to Kudeti in Ibadan. Trying period that turned out to be and the move from Lagos to Oyo seriously impacted the purpose of the school. But that passed, thank God and Igbobi College was restored to her land.
Very few people however know of the death of Igbobi College. Yes, at a time the school was dead. It lost purpose and direction and was nowhere to be found.
A time came when the Federal Government took over the school and for over a period of two decades, the school was tossed from federal government to regional government and finally to the Lagos State Government. Whatever! The crux of the matter is that Igbobi College became dead. Dead! The large expanse was halved and three other schools were created on the same property. There was even a time, as I heard, that girls (no offence to ladies) joined the school. Whatever the reason adduced for this takeover, it was outside of, and contrary to purpose. And it brought death.
It was a period of desecration, the government period. ICY travelled from the major purpose of being a Christian training institution for spiritual and academic upbringing of boys. Boys are biblically important you know, so that purpose is high and noble. Just like CMS Grammar School, like St. Gregory’s. Like a few others.
Mind you, that same period of desecration was a period of notoriety for the school. In fact, it rose in popularity and still managed a high level of recognition. But things had changed. It was a public school. Hundreds in a single class, drug lords and thugs for students, half-baked teachers and fast dilapidating infrastructure, Igbobi College became a shadow.
And though there were some positives from that period, especially in the Ojutiku era, and some students were still making good grades, the negatives far outweighed the positives. To me there were no positives. Because if you are not following direction toward purpose, then whatever achievements you get on that wrong path count for nothing really.
I knew Igbobi College well during the final years of the desecration. Anytime I saw an approaching Igbobian, my first impulse was to run. They were famed street fighters and urchins of varying degrees. My father, who taught in Igbobi College in the early 70s lamented a lot about what the school has become and his views mirrored those of old boys and old teachers of the pre-desecration era.
It was sorrowful. It was a dynamic fall. One that brought a total nature-change and purposeless reconfiguration of the school’s destiny.
Only God could save Igbobi College.
…to be continued