CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos is the first secondary school to be established in Nigeria. It was established in 1859. Methodist Boys’ High School Lagos was established in 1878, Methodist Girls’ High School Yaba in 1879, Baptist Academy Lagos in 1885, Hope Waddel Training Institute in Calabar in 1895, Saint Annes School, Molete, Ibadan in 1896, Etinan Institute, Etinan in Akwa-Ibom state in 1902, Methodist School, Oron in 1903, Kings College, Lagos (FLOREAT) in 1909, Saint John’s School Bida in 1904, Abeokuta Grammar School in 1908, Alhuda College Zaria in 1910, Eko Boys High School Lagos in 1913, Ibadan Grammar School (Deo Et Patriae) in 1913, Ijebu-Ode Grammar School (Non nobis Domine) in 1913, Government Secondary School, Ilorin in 1914, Government College Katsina-Ala was established in 1914, Murtala Muhammed College in Yola in 1920, Barewa College in Zaria in 1922, Methodist College Uzuakoli in 1923, Government College, Ibadan in 1927, Government College Umuahia in 1927, Queens College Lagos in 1927, Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu in 1931, Saint Gregory’s College, Obalende (Pro Fide Et Scientia)in Lagos in 1928, Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, in 1932, Saint Theresa’s College in Ibadan in 1932 and Christ the King College, Onitsha in 1933.
Christ School Ado-Ekiti (Christus Victor) was established in 1933, Ilesha Grammar School (Ehuwa Omoluwabi) founded in 1934, Saint Patrick’s College in Calabar,1934, Dennis Memorial College Onitsha in 1935, Holy Rosary College in Enugu in 1935, Government Secondary School, Owerri in 1935,Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo in 1935, Edo College, Benin in 1937, Ibadan Boys High School in 1938, Offa Grammar School, 1943, Government College Ughelli in 1945, Remo Secondary School, Sagamu, 1946, Imade College Owo, 1946, Emmanuel College Owerri,1947, Hussey College Warri in 1947, Victory College Ikare in 1947, Stella Mary’s College, Port-Harcourt in 1948, Aquinas College, Akure (Integratis) in 1951, Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure in 1953, Gboluji Grammar in Ile-Oluji in 1954, Saint Finbarrs College in 1956, Igbo-Elerin Grammar School, Ibadan in 1957, Olofin Anglican Grammar School Idanre (illuminatio In-rupe) 1957, Edo Boys High School Benin in 1960, Government Comprehensive School, Port-Harcourt in 1962, Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro in 1963, International School, Ibadan in 1963, Federal Government College Ido-Ani in 1977 and Vivian Fowler College in 1991.
All these institutions, thousands of them which cannot be mentioned in this article for lack of space, all have history behind their establishments by communities, governments, religious bodies and individuals including Lagos City College, Yaba, Lagos established by Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe on January 3, 1963 and Titcombe College, Egbe founded by Reverend Tommy Titcombe on behalf of Sudan Interior Mission on January 26, 1951.
I am sure that our secondary school experience must have shaped our lives either personally or collectively. And in the words of Sesan Ogunro, an ex-student of Christ School Ado-Ekiti, whom I agree with when he said, “Christ School to me was the University of life, it taught me all I need to make it in life, how to laugh in the face of hardship and lack, how to be positively competitive, how to be a friend before having a friend, how to trust and love Jesus Christ as our cornerstone and more importantly how to handle success with humility. These were the lessons that prepared me for life”.
The subject matter is the first secondary to be established in the present Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Delta and Edo states, that is- Ondo Boys High School in 1919.
In 1917, the then Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Jimekun worried about the absence of secondary school in the town and the ordeal which his subjects experienced in sending their children outside Ondo for secondary school education, set up a six man planning committee in collaboration with Canon Moses Craig Akinpelu Adeyemi for the establishment of a secondary school in Ondo. Members of the planning committee were Chief Logbosere Cornelius Awosika (Secretary/Treasurer), Chief Lomafe Olatunji Awosika, Daniel Rogers, Chief Seriki Akinrosotu, Chief G.O. Fajiye and Mr. J.O. Akinwotu all late. In 1918, the committee recommended the establishment of Ondo Boys High School and Canon Adeyemi who later married Miss Elizabeth Modupeola Okuseinde, became the first principal of the school. That is why today a College of Education which I understand is now a university is named after Canon Adeyemi.
Not only had the Christians contributed to the Education in Ondo. The Moslems also did. For Islam arrived in Ondo in 1888 through Alfa Abubakar Ajao who made his son Alhaji Habeeb Ajao, the first Chief Imam of Ondo Kingdom in 1885. In 1942, the late Seriki of Ondo, Alhaji Saheed Tugbobo Fawehinmi donated five acres of land for the establishment of the first Muslim Secondary School in Ondo in 1942. The Present Seriki of Ondo State Alhaji Khaleel Fawehinmi is the grandson of Saheed Tugbobo.
The Establishment of Ondo Boys High School in 1918 gave the Ondos a window of opportunity to advance in commerce, agriculture and education. Who are the Ondos? They occupy part of the present Ondo Central Senatorial District. Most of them are farmers producing cocoa, rubber and timber. The Ondos, Ile-Olujis and the Idanres speak identical dialect. Traditional political authority is vested in the King (the Osemawe), who is generally considered the spiritual and political head of the Ondos. He heads the Council of senior chiefs called Eghae; these are (Lisa, Jomu, Odunwo, Sesare, Adaja, and Odofin) who with him make up what is considered a cabinet, referred to in other Yoruba towns as Iwarefa. The Obaship is hereditary, and currently, three ruling families are recognised to produce candidates, one after the other. These are: Okuta, Foyi, and Leyo. The coral beads worn on their wrists and ankles as well as the big drum “ugbaji” which they and a few Ekule Chiefs are entitled to beat during ceremonies distinguish the Eghae.
At first the Ondos were not keen on public service; they were more interested in commerce where they excel but at the urging of the late Osemawe of Ondo, Dr. Festus Adesanoye who was Federal Permanent Secretary as far back as 1963, Professor Olu Akinkugbe and others, their interest in public service grew and so were the opportunities.
As a result of their link to education as far back as 1919 and with two universities and over 34 secondary schools, coupled with their hard work and foresight, the Ondos have produced eminent sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers.
If I may mention at the risk offending many, they include Bishop D.O. Awosika, the first Primate of the Anglican Communion Bishop Omotayo Olufosoye (1907-1992), late General Adesujo Ademulegun (1923-1966), Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), the present Osemawe, Dr. Victor Kiladejo, Chief Alex Akinyele, Chief Gbenga Akinnawo, Captain Fola Akintotu, Professor Olu Adegoke, Sunny Ade, Ope and Jimi Bademosi, Sandoye Fadojutimi, Kole and Gbenga Ademulegun, Yele Ogundipe, Bode Betiku, Feyi Famutimi, Ronke Akinsete and her dad, Dr. E.O. Akinsete, Chief Dayo Duyile, Raheem Ayo Akinkotu, Seye Ladapo, Kunle Bolodeoku, Fusi Adefusika, Mrs. Omobolanle Johnson (nee Akinnola), Engineer Akinyinka Akinnola, Mrs. Yewande Zaccheus (nee Akinnola), Mrs. Aarinola Kola-Daisi (nee Akinnola), Jise Akinmurele, Abbas Akinwande, the Akinboboyes, the Awosikas, the Ladapos and many more too numerous to mention.
But one name that stands out is Chief Oreoluwa Ilemobayo Akinnola, who answered the final call recently. He was the Mayegun of Ondo in 1978, Lotin of Ondo in 1984 and the Lisa in 1992. Tall, big and dark; he was a vibrant human being. His hobby was courting friendship and he courted the friendship of so many including mine, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Segun Agagu, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, Chief Subomi Balogun, General T.Y. Danjuma, Chief Pius Olu Akinyelure, Chief Igbinedion (the Esama of Benin), Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, Chief Kunle Ojora, Chief Olu Falae, the Ooni of Ife, Kabiyesi Oba Okunnade Sijuade, the Deji of Oyemekun, Oba Biyi Adesida, General Abubakar Abdusalam, General Ibrahim Babangida and so many more.
May his soul rest in peace.
(Source From :The Nation 28,March 2013)
Written By: Teniola’s former director at the Presidency lives in Lagos.