THE SCHOOL CONTRIBUTION TO NIGERIA’S DEVELOPMENT PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Good evening, The Trustees, the Executives of OGS Americas particularly Mr Godwin Illoh, Special Guests, Distinguished Old Boys and wives, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let’s start this evening with the well-known song- The Doxology, we all learnt in Grammar School.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
For those that were in School when Sir Doke was a prefect, let’s sing his popular song,
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Each little Flower that opens
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all
Up School! Up Boys!
Up Boys! Up School!
I consider this an opportunity to address the eminent gathering of Grammarians in the Americas gathered in Houston, Texas. This is my second coming to this city. The first was in the mid 90’s when I was in a different profession then and now as President of the OGS I am here to share the school’s laudable and immense contribution to Nigeria’s Past, Present and Future Development.
When Emeritus Professor Adebonojo called me, I guess at the instance of the Secretary, I had enough excuses to turn down the request but given his clout, brilliance, towering reputation and my senior as he entered the school even before I was born. The only possible answer was yes. This explains why, despite my tight schedule, I am coming straight from the airport and sorry if I probably delayed your programme.
I needed to leave the church service of one of the sons of my recently-wedded daughter’s in laws family in Chicago at 2pm, dash to the airport and connect a flight to arrive here at 5pm. I could not even wait for the wedding reception which my wife naturally had looked forward to with great anticipation and several practiced dance steps and had to convince her that for the Grammar School, she should please help to sacrifice!
I was told I could choose any topic of interest and my first inclination was a topic that would help rally the troops to complement the excellent work of the executives in the Americas. Could you please give them a round of applause? However, I discussed with the Secretary and he mentioned this topic that apparently was suggested to him by Dr Bobby Gay, our outside right footballer in the 70s when we won the Principal’s Cup.
IMPORTANCE OF THE TOPIC
For me, as President of the OGS, my interest always is anything that can increase membership of the OGS and ensure our enthusiasm and viability. Consequently, I realized that at the end of this speech, maybe I would be able to get some of you to connect to the school and realize that even though we lost our bearing during the Jakande Administration, your school still remains the oldest and with your help the best school in our lifetime.
RELEVANCE OF HISTORY
According to activehistory.co.uk, “history is important to society at it promotes a sense of identity helps us to make sense of the world and provides lessons in right and wrong. An individual striped of memory finds the world a confusing place, a society with no sense of history is unaware where it has come from or where it is going.”
CMS GRAMMAR SCHOOL TO GRAMMARIANS ABROAD
Most reports you read about Nigeria are very depressing and it appears nothing good is happening in our country. Yes, I agree things could be far better. Since the 60s, Nigeria has always been a country with unrealised potential, never being able to achieve her God destined greatness. It appears that the Rt Rev A. W. Smith who wrote the last stanza of the school song “Africa will surely rise” in 1922 knew how poor leadership in Nigeria would keep Africa from achieving her economic emancipation. Anyway, let’s leave that story for another day. Today, let’s roll out the drums for Africa’s oasis – the CMS GRAMMAR SCHOOL, LAGOS. For your great school, this is not the situation as we are like the oasis in the desert shielded from the madness all around us and despite innumerable challenges continue to point the way forward. This shield has been provided by committed and well-motivated stakeholders, particularly Old Boys determined to pass the school on to the next generation greater, better and without any blemish.
If I am not mistaken, from the list of Executive Members and mails I receive from time to time, most active members of the OGS Americas were in the Grammar School in the 60s-80s and got to know of the unfortunate takeover of the school in 1979 by the Jakande Administration. They were repulsed by the degradation visited upon the school with 5 schools on the same land of Grammar School! By the time the government realized its mistake and handed over in 2001, a lot of damage had been done to the facilities but more importantly the values, character formation; the very essence of being Grammarians had been severely affected. Some Old Boys never gave up and, in those “locust” years, still continued to contribute their quota in instilling the age-long traditions and values to an ever diminishing number of the “Jakande” Grammarians.
Many Old Boys particularly those abroad find it difficult to relate to the school. Despite monumental changes which have taken place since 2001, but more so in the past 4 years, many never visit the school and are lukewarm towards activities of OGS. They are not willing to let their children, grandchildren, cousins, etc, attend the school. I am here to report that your school now, by most parameters particularly infrastructural facilities, is better than when you all where in the school. Up School! Up Boys!
Founder’s Day Service and Luncheon now take place at the Grammar School and not at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, and Lagos. Founder’s Day goes beyond singing the school song and departing but yearly commissioning projects, repositioning the school and reclaiming our inheritance. I think yes, we know where we are now, but let’s go to the very beginning on 6th of June, 1859.
CREDITS FOR THE PAPER
Let me state that for this topic, I have had to rely primarily on “ A History of the C.M.S Grammar School, Lagos” (1859-2009) written by Felix Kuye and Kabir Garba (2 journalists from the “Nigerian Guardian” newspaper) and edited by our own Diplomat, Oxford trained historian, eminent Old Boy and former President of OGS, Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora. I copied a lot of materials from this book and would like to recommend its purchase by you all. I believe having stated this upfront I cannot now be accused of plagiarism. In addition, I have had to rely on some yearly reports on the school. Finally, I had access to some recently published school reports by the Principal.
The book was launched during the activities of the 150th Founder’s Day in 2009. My Set (1973/75) realising the lack of a comprehensive history of the school since 1859, took the initiative to source for the writers, bankrolled the project and delivered the project in time for the 150th Founder’s Day for the benefit of the Old Boys. Could we please give applause for the initiative, foresightedness of the 1973/75 Set – the President’s Set.
IN THE BEGINNING
CMS Grammar School was established on 6th June, 1859 by the CMS Mission with Revd. Thomas Babington Macaulay as its first Principal. It was established for the following reasons:
To fill a vacuum in secondary education in Lagos. The Anglican Mission needed to absorb students from the 4 existing primary schools – Ebute Ero, Breadfruit, Faji and Christ Church.
After secondary school education, provide men that could be trained as Catechists, Priests, School teachers, Public sector workers, etc.
Reduce the need to import clerks from West Indies, Sierra Leone and Gold Coast (Ghana).
Provide trained traders, workmen for the local businessmen.
Increase the number of African Elites that could take over from the white men who had problems with malaria.
He was trained in Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone, CMS Theological Training Institute, London and Kings College, University of London from where he obtained his BA in Arts in 1853. He was ordained a priest in 1854, moved from the Training Institute in Abeokuta in 1859 and came to Lagos. CMS Grammar School, Lagos was founded with 6 Boarding Students. Present at the founding ceremony were Revds. Townsend, Gollmer, Crowther and Captain John Hawley Glover, Captain of the Queens Naval Squadron. The first location was “Cotton” House now site of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd on Broad Street, Lagos.
CMS GRAMMAR SCHOOL’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO NIGERIA’S DEVELOPMENT
We can follow the chronological order of the book starting with the first principal to the present or alternatively, highlighting contribution to various important sectors critical to Nigeria’s development. I decided on a sectorial approach and consequently analysed as follows:
2 CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
3 AGITATION FOR. INDEPENDENCE
6 LITERARY AND DEBATING ACTIVITIES
7 BOYS SCOUT
8 EMINENT OLD BOYS
9 OLD GRAMMARIANS’ SOCIETY
Within a year of the school’s establishment, an independent assessor, Mr M.C McCoskry, was highly impressed with the standard of the school and featured an article on the school in the only newspaper being published in Abeokuta then “Iwe Irohin” in 1860. Revd. Samuel Ajayi’s son was also a student then and the school was driven by the need to excel. It was the only secondary school for boys in the country and contributed to the increase in literacy and assisted in the administration of Lagos by the colonialists as it was helping in preparing students for the Public Sector. The private sector, through the Royal Niger Company, identified fully with the school’s establishment by donating “Cotton” House for use by the school. Major emphasis was on Character formation, Moral Discipline and even though there were no public schools examining boards for which the students could sit, the Colonial Authorities held the school and its Principal in high esteem and all doubts about its future prospect had been dispelled by its early success under the Principal.
The school naturally assisted in improving literacy all over the country as students from many tribes and religions could attend the Grammar School. Consequently, most people’s Great Grandfathers, Grandfathers, Uncles, Cousins, etc. attended the Grammar School. Many people’s family literacy started with the Grammar School and CMS is a truly national Icon.
The school’s relentless drive to fulfill its academic goal was all-consuming and with new students seeking admission and an ever-expanding school, it moved in 1881 to the junction of Odunlami and Broad Street. It had a large school hall, the Principal’s lodge, Vice Principal’s lodge, 3 Classroom blocks, Sports Arena, Small Chapel and Science Block added in 1929.
The school had established itself easily as the best secondary school in Nigeria, possibly in the whole of West Africa. Baptist Academy, Methodist Boys’ High School (1878) and St Gregory’s College (1928) were subsequently established by Baptists, Methodists and Catholics.
In 1885, the enrolment of students was put at 94 with 60 of them being boarders. The boys were divided into school houses and the curriculum of the school was later expanded at the new site to include the teaching of science. CMS was the first secondary school in Nigeria to offer its students the opportunity of being taught in science. Consequently, the first generation of medical doctors, engineers and other science graduates were all products of the school.
Herbert Macaulay who was educated at the school later trained in England as a surveyor.
By 1899, the report of the Education Inspector read 91.7% of those in the Primary (Prep) Department were proficient and in the secondary school 98.9% were proficient. In 1912, the school presented candidates for the junior Cambridge school certificate and 4 of the students presented were successful. Of the 5 successful candidates presented in 1912 by King’s College, Lagos, for the Junior Cambridge Examination, 4 of the 5 that were successful including Mr Ade Onajobi were old students of Grammar School transferred to King’s College as Foundation students in 1909.
A white Principal, Canon E. Evans took over in 1915 and he was the first Principal of the school with a background in science. He was a well-known author of several books in science for secondary schools and played a key role in the development of science not only in the school but throughout Nigeria. As few schools offered science in their curriculum, many students from other school came to the school to be taught science.
In 1919, Canon Evans composed the music to the school song which was later harmonized by Professor Fela Sowande, an Old Boy of the school. In 1931, boys from the school were presented for the first time for the Cambridge Senior School Certificate Examination, 8 of the 10 candidates presented passed the examinations with exemptions from the matriculation of the University of London.
1n 1932, the Principal, Rev. Waterton was sent to Igbobi College as Principal and just as with King’s College, students were drawn from the school with others from Methodist Boys High School Lagos. Since the first principal and most brilliant students came from Grammar School, Old Boys of Igbobi College owe a lot of gratitude to CMS Grammar School, Lagos!
The school’s reputation long before and during the period was very high. In the book “Awo, Unfinished Greatness – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO” by Mr Olufemi Ogunsanwo, Chief Obafemi Awolowo claimed on page 4 of the book that his father was very enlightened and in seeing the brilliance in him, wanted him to attend the prestigious CMS Grammar School. This was in 1920 but his father died 3 months later which aborted his dream. We could have had him as a Grammarian, that is if he qualified at the examination! Certainly, there were several hundreds like him as the school acted as a magnet attracting only the very best the country could offer.
During the tenure (in 1938) of Mr. Lewis – the Principal popularly called “Jeki”, he restructured the school and assembled some of the best teaching staff in Nigeria from the Yaba Higher College, placing more emphasis on teaching of Science. Among the teachers were Mr. (later Professor) C.O. Taiwo who taught Physics and Mathematics, Revd. S.R. Nicholas from Adisadel College in Ghana, etc. The teaching of science flourished so much that students from Ondo Boys’ High School and Christ School Ado Ekiti came to the school for further training in the school’s excellent Science laboratories. Some students also came for the preliminary science course prior to entering the Yaba Higher College for the Diploma course. During the World War 2, those reading science were evacuated from Yaba Higher College to the school to complete their diploma course. The School thus produced so many generations of great Scientists, Engineers and Doctors. The two laboratories of the school became a big attraction in Lagos and the reputation of the science curriculum of the school grew beyond its walls and the city.
Mr. Lewis started the preparatory class in the school by which boys mainly from the CMS Girls School on Broad Street were admitted and prepared for the entrance examination to the school. This measure improved the academic quality of the boys admitted into the school. Please don’t be confused, these were boys from that school!
During the 100th Anniversary in 1959, the importance of CMS Grammar School, Lagos was reflected in the dignitaries that graced the occasion and gave glowing tributes to the school. These included the then Governor-General, Sir James Robertson, the then Bishop of Lagos, the Rt. Rev. A.W. Howells, an old boy, Federal Minister of Education, Hon. Aja Nwachukwu, Oba Adele of Lagos, the CMS (England) Secretary – G.H. Vellacolt, and the Chief Federal Adviser on Education, J.R. Bunting.
Sir Robertson said “The CMS Grammar School is richly proud of the service past and present rendered to Nigeria by its Old Boys and I am confident that those in the school today will do their best to fit themselves to work and act for the welfare of their country in the years to come.” Dr Nwachukwu enjoined all Nigerians to see the CMS Grammar School as a source of pride, particularly to the nation. He said, “Antiquity is not however the only characteristics of the school of which it can boast. In its long history of service to our community it has produced many men whose names are well known and others, perhaps less prominent, whose lives and works have reflected the sense of duty and honour which they acquired or enhanced at the school and which they have retained throughout their lives. He went on to say that our school provided the kind of education which Nigeria needed and without which it will not progress.
When the school moved to Bariga in 1958, it had an expansive site, the largest among secondary schools in Lagos with a Sports Arena, also the largest among secondary schools in Lagos with a “Cinder” Track for athletics, a large school hall, a four storey science block, four classroom blocks and 8 staff quarters. Later a boarding house was added.
Two years after it moved to Bariga, the school introduced a Higher School Certificate and the discipline and excellence continued. The school developed affiliation with a school in Britain and both the Late Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Adetokunbo Sofoluwe and Emeritus Professor Kenneth Iwugo benefitted by being sent as exchange students to the school. We had several expatriate teachers in the school including, Messrs Philpot, Roger Haynes Smallbone, Potinaus, Mrs Akinluyi, Mr and Mrs Jacobs etc.
Through the various principals, the school continued to emphasize academics and with the exception of the depths experienced during the takeover, the emphasis on all-round academic performance continues today. Through the Agbami Project an Old Boy, co-owner of Fam-Fam Oil, Mr Modupe Alakija, ensured the refurbishment and equipping (as a Corporate Social Responsibility Project), the 3 laboratories to world class standard. Some Nigerian universities cannot even boast of better science facilities as we have. The School management later spent additionally over N7million in further equipping the structure.
Mr and Mrs Modupe Alakija have also donated a 240 bed “5- star” hostel better than what obtains in many halls of residence of Nigerian universities. Each bed for student was procured at N300, 000.00. They also supplied a 150kva generator and a 300 kva transformer. Chief Ernest Shonekan has also donated his N5million allowance that he earned as Chairman of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (over a four year-period) to the school towards maintenance of the new dormitory. Facility Managers have been appointed to manage the edifice. The students are thus given the opportunity of seeing modern management techniques being applied at very early age.
All these efforts have paid off as the current Senior Prefect won a special prize in a competition which will enable him enjoy full scholarship to study Aeronautical Engineering in a Specialised University. Another student won a competitive scholarship to study A-Levels at the well renowned Oxbridge College Ikeja, a preparatory school owned by Chairman of Lagos Anglican School Management Board, LASMAB, Dr Mrs Ogunsanya.
Despite the failure experienced in Nigerian National Exams by most schools; the last result still shows that the school continues to contribute to the academic standard of the country. Last year, 20 students had distinction/credit passes in 9 subjects, 52 students had distinction/credit passes in 8 subjects, 20 students had distinction/credit in 7 subjects. The remaining 8 students, out of total of 100 that sat for the examination, scored the required grades in 6 of their 8 or 9 subjects. Since all the students had the required 5 credits required to enter Nigerian Universities, we had 100% success. Consequently, quite a large number of them secured admissions into local and overseas universities.
An Old Boy, Surveyor Olukunle Akinola, 1951 Set, donated a Modern language Laboratory and the 1960 Set donated Interactive Clever Boards for improved learning by the students. The Computer Facilities have been substantially upgraded with internet facilities. There is no let up by Old Boys with several scholarships to assist indigent and brilliant students. Old Boys that have instituted awards include: Prof Jide Ajayi, 1954 Set, Chief E Shonekan – 1954, late VC UNILAG, Prof Adetokunbo Sofoluwe – 1966/68, Unilag’s Prof Ogundipe – 1977. There are over 59 prizes donated by Old Boys for academics, sports, character, leadership, etc. Excursion visits are major component of the students’ education and in recent past, visits were conducted to Olumo Rock at Abeokuta, Ogun State, Egbin Thermal Station at Ikorodu, Lagos State.
2 CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
The strong Christian background of the school is owed to its Principals, 16 were clergymen who got the students to imbibe strong moral values and of these Principals, 4 – Oluwole, Melville Jones, Odutola and Kale later became Anglican Bishops. 3 of them – Evans, Lucas and Adelaja were elevated Archdeacons.
We had a small Chapel at Odunlami but still had access to services at the Cathedral. The school and the students were connected with the church as the Principal, Revd. Macaulay was one of the Priests assisting the white clergy at Christ Church. Students had early morning and evening worships, Sunday worship and most of us attended the local church at Bariga where Venerable Adelaja was the Vicar. However, the situation is different today as the students worship in the new ultra-modern chapel built by the OGS and dedicated during the 150th Anniversary Celebrations but the Principal is also the Vicar of Anglican Church of Nativity, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos.
3 AGITATION FOR INDEPENDENCE
As the oldest secondary school, it played a leading role in the independence of Nigeria. Mr Herbert Macaulay played a very key role in educating and mobilizing Nigerians against British rule. Chief Bode Thomas (Deputy Leader of Action Group), Chief Fani Kayode, Chief T.O.S. Benson (Nigeria’s first Minister of Information), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Frontline Nationalist who was imprisoned with Chief Obafemi Awolowo) etc., were all Old Boys.
The Bishop of Lagos, Rt Rev A.W. Howells in 1959 said “ it is beyond question that the school has played a most vital part in the development of our country, and in giving the way for independence in 1960”. Without the development of the literacy class spearheaded by the Grammar School, Independence for Nigeria would have been delayed.
4 MUSIC AND ART
Music, as a subject in the school, was compulsory for the first three years and this led to the school producing outstanding Musicians and organists. This was very helpful to the Anglican Mission as it made it easier to retain most of the students as Anglicans in their adult lives. Some of the outstanding organists and musicians who were old boys were Dr T.K.E Philips who became Organist and Master of Music at Christ Church Cathedral at the age of 30, Mr C.A. Sowande, Prof Fela Sowande, Prof Akin Euba, Mr Ayo Bankole, etc. each generation had organists that helped in the Choir and we remember Olagbaiye in the 70s. The current organist of school is so young and has to be assisted on to the organ.
Today, the school’s choir is well regarded all over the country and has consistently won Shell Oil Music Competition several times. The boys now play Clarinet, Violin, Saxophone, Drums, Trumpet, etc. In short, we now parade a fantastic Orchestra.
Fine art was also a compulsory course in the first three years of school and apart from music, and drama art helped in the students appreciating naturen environment n colour arrangement, dressing etc. The school was good in fine art and I can confirm particularly in the 60s and 70s outstanding fine art artists exhibitions at Prize and Speech days. Mention must be made of Mr Akinsanya that represented Nigeria at the Olympic games in Mexico in 1968.
In drama, notable dramatists were Bala Miller, Art Alade, Prof Awojobi, etc
The school has always been involved in Sports and in March 1921, the first Annual Inter School Athletics Festival was held at Race Course, Lagos. It was presided over by no less a personality than His Excellency, the Governor and Lady Clifford. Cricket, Hockey, Football, Athletics etc were popular sports. Notable sports men who were old boys were Karimu Olowu, Jimmy Omagbemi, Bala Miller, etc.
We won the Principal’s Cup a couple of times and we remember with pride Jide Aleshinloye, Doyin Dosunmu, Kenneth Iwugo, Remi Oguntimoju, Adokiye Amiesimaka (Senior Prefect, 1973/75 Set and former Nigeria’s Super Eagles Player), “World 5” and Captain of the 1975 Principal’s Cup-winning team – Godwin Enuoyibo, Okon Okokon, Onigbanjo, Bobby Gay, etc.
In Athletics, in the 60s and 70’s we remember Fasanu that represented Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games, Saka Smith, Otaru, Johnson, Dagogo Jack to mention but a few. Mention must be made of our exploits in Basketball in the 70s and 80s. Infact, we were so dominant for so long that other schools shivered once it was the Grammar School. We won for over 10 years through people like Babs Lana, Ogunade, etc
To further develop sporting activities in the school, from the proceeds of the Estate of an old boy – J.K. Randle, we would soon have a new Lawn tennis court, Basketball court, Track Field, Volley Ball Court, etc. Courtesy of another Old Boy, Elderman Folarin Coker (Senior Prefect, 1941 set) and former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State, we will soon have a Swimming Academy through provision of a 25metre X 10metre swimming pool and other facilities.
Last month, the school came third in the 2nd LAGOS FIRST GENERATION AND HERITAGE COLLEGE’ ASSOCIATION GAMES held at Queens College Yaba. At the end of the fiesta and out of 32 participating schools, our school placed 3rd overall trailing behind Baptist Academy 1st and King’s College. 2nd.
Rugby a newly introduced game to the school has shown the school’s prowess as the school beat an experienced team – American International School Lagos (5-0) and by the same margin in a return match.
6 LITERARY AND DEBATING ACTIVITIES
This was very popular and mention must be made of Elderman Folarin Coker, 1941, Dr Sonuga, 1952 set and Professor Ayodele Awojobi 1955 Set, Kehinde Simpson 1969/71 Set, etc.
7 BOYS SCOUT
The school’s Troop, the oldest in Nigeria was the first Lagos Troop and it had several skill development units such as Red Cross/First Aid, Cooking, Boxing, Athletics and Swimming experts in various fields came to the school to give lectures to members of different units and this assisted the students in choice of career.
The school’s scouts participated in many jamborees within and outside the country, England in 1929, Birmingham 1954 and 1955, African Jamboree in Lagos, 1947, prominent Troop Leaders and members were Chief Ernest Shonekan, Chief Folarin Coker, Mr Tom Duncan, Chief Femi Asekun, Dr Tunji Doherty, Dr Yemisi Kuforiji, Prof Tunji Adeleye, Conrad Audiffren, etc.
8. EMINENT OLD BOYS
The school was the only secondary school until Baptist Academy, MBHS, MGHS, St Gregory’s, Hope Waddell and Kings College, Igbobi College followed in the late 19th and 20th Centuries. Naturally most of the key African Elites since the 19th Century went to the school.
Properly assessing the school would prove difficult as the lack of comprehensive history until when 1973/75 Set embarked on the history project makes it difficult to do a proper analysis. However given its preeminent position for decades the school made outstanding contribution.
Notable old boys then were Revd. B. Manuwa (the father of Sir Samuel Manuwa), the Revd. (later Bishop) A.W. Howells, Dr. Henry Carr, the first African Resident of the Colony of Lagos, an Old Boy who was an inspector of Education in the Colonial Service. There also was John Otunba Payne, Registrar of the Lagos High Court and the great Nigerian Nationalist Herbert Heelas Macaulay, the son of the Revd. Thomas Babington Macaulay.
Students who were produced in the late 30s were former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice G.O. Sowemimo, Member, OGS Hall of Fame, Former Minister of Information, Otunba T.O.S. Benson, the first Chartered Accountant in Nigeria, Canon Later (Arch.) B Adelaja Principal, CMS Grammar School 1950-1970 and Senior Prefect 1932 Set, Mr. Akintola Williams, Member OGS Hall of Fame, the Cambridge educated lawyer, Minister and later SAN Chief Rotimi Williams, Member, OGS Hall Of Fame, Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, Former Minister, Engr Victor Haffner, the First M.D of NITEL, Late Mr. Ola Vincent, former Governor of CBN, the Late Chief Bode Thomas, Minister and Deputy Leader of Action Group, Late Justice Charles Madarikan, of the Supreme Court, Late Bashir Agusto, brilliant lawyer, Professor Akintunde Akinsanya, Chief T.A. Bankole-Oki, a former Attorney General of Lagos State.
We also had Emeritus Professor Ogunlesi Member, OGS Hall Of Fame and first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Professor E. Ade Elebute a former Provost of the College of Medicine at the University of Lagos, Professor Deji Femi-Pearse, also a former Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, the late Professor T. Solanke of the Department of Surgery at the University of Ibadan, Late Major General Henry Adefope, former Minister and Head of the Army Medical Services, Chief G.O.K. Ajayi (SAN) former President, OGS, late Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olusola Thomas, Chief Adeyemi Lawson, a lawyer, businessman and former Chairman Lagos City Council, Professor O. Oke, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ife, late Professor Ishaya Audu, former Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University, Professor O. Akinkugbe, a former Provost of the College of Medicine, at the University of Lagos.
Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu and Colonel Victor Banjo both Prosecutors of the Nigerian Civil War were Old Boys. Other notable Old Boys were Chief E. A Shonekan, a former Chairman of UAC, then the largest conglomerate in Nigeria and Head of the Interim National Government, late Professor Olu Awojobi, Member, OGS Hall of Fame, First African to achieve D.Sc. qualification and best Engineer Nigeria has ever produced, the two Adebonojo brothers who became Professors of Medicine, late Professor Bode Akindele, a former Professor of psychiatry at University of Ibadan, Professor Bolaji Akinsanya, a Surgeon at University of Lagos, Chief Akin Disu, a lawyer and Chairman of Eagle Paints, even though a Muslim, but a great benefactor of the school. Emeritus Professor Jide Ajayi, Chairman, Southwest Branch of the OGS. In fact, nearly half of the graduating class of 1954 became medical doctors and Professors.
Mention also must be made of Dr Sanya Sonuga, Chairman, 150th Anniversary and Dr Yemisi Kuforiji, both of the 1952 set. Maj. Gen V. Babatope Williams, Retired Military Finance Guru, Prof Babs Fafunwa, Prof. Emeritus of Education & Former Minister of Education, Ademola Segun, Elder Steve Rhodes, The Rt Rev. George Bako former Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, The Rt Rev. (Engr) S.O. Ajani, Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, Historian, Oxford Educated and he edited the history of the school published in 2009.
Prince Tokunbo Kayode SAN, Former Minister of Defence & Former Attorney General of the Federation, High Chief Edem Duke, Minister for Culture, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, Former Commissioner for Youths & Sports Development, Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba, Former Minister of Works, Dr. Ebi Omatsola, Vice Chairman, Conoil Producing, Mr Modupe Alakija, CEO, Famfa Oil, Emeritus Prof Kenneth Iwugo and Chairman Abuja Branch , OGS, Prof. David Akinola, Former Chief Medical Director, OAU Teaching Hospital, Ife, Prof. Abiodun Ilesanmi, Chief Medical Director, UCH Ibadan.
Late Mr Kehinde Simpson, Senior Prefect, Former Secretary General, OGS, Mr Toyin Akin-Johnson, former Bank Managing Director, President OGS and raised over N8million towards construction of the School’s Chapel in 2009 , Mr Adokie Amiesimaka, former Commissioner, Sports Administrator and Ex Super Eagles Footballer, Tayo Amusan, CEO, Tayo Soetan CEO, Cash Link, Engr (DR) Busola Awojobi, President, Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers, Dr Yombo Awojobi, Renowned Rural Surgeon and Biomedical Engineer, Senator Akin Odunsi, Senator Gbenga Barrehu Ashafa, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Former Governor, Ekiti State, Captain Edward Boyo, MD, Landover Aviation, Mr Sebastian Adigwe, Former MD, Afribank (Mainstreet Bank), Mr Dapo Adelegan, MD Celtron Group, Mr Lekan Ogunbanwo, Permanent Secretary, Radio Lagos/ Eko Fm/LTV 8, Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, CEO, Superflux, Engr. Y.S.O. Abdul, Aviation Guru and one of Africa’s Best, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, University of Lagos, Pastor Olubi Johnson, Hon. Justice Yinka Faji, Professor Akinsulie, College of Medicine, UNILAG, Professor, Afolabi Lesi Jr, College of Medicine, UNILAG, Respected jurist of the Federal High Court, Dr. Femi Olugbile, Former Chief Medical Director, LASUTH and now Perm Secretary, and Dare Art Alade, Musician, etc
9 OLD GRAMMARIANS’ SOCIETY
There are no ready records as to when this society which stands for Old Students of CMS GRAMMAR SCHOOL, LAGOS was formed. The appellation of Grammarians is to reflect that it is the first Grammar School and a custodian of the English Language. It must have existed informally as latent in all Grammarians is the need to pay back for the subsidized education received from the Missionaries. In hazarding a guess, it must have become formalized and become a major driving force during the period when Revd. Canon and later Arch. B Adelaja became Principal in 1950. As the first Old Boy to become Principal, expectations were extremely high for the school with Old Boys very much interested in the greater upliftment of the school.
The Society exists to promote the welfare of members, engender greater fellowship but more importantly is driven by desire for excellence in the school and inculcation of the right values in the students. It is organized through Sets and Branches and seeks to galvanize all Old Boys to use their resources – skills, knowledge, capital, connections, etc – for the advancement and in the interest of school and Old Boys as espoused in the Protestation of Loyalty Oath administered yearly by President of OGS to all members at the Founder’s Day.
We remember Otunba T.O.S Benson, President of OGS for several years, followed by Chief G. O. K. Ajayi who instituted a number of reforms including an amended 1998 constitution, tenure for some office holders and as lawyer to the then Senator Tinubu got the promise to return Mission Schools that were seized by the Jakande Administration in 1979 to their owners in 2001. Both Chief Ajayi and next President of OGS, Ambassador Dapo Fafowora played key roles in the politics and presentation to the Lagos State House of Assembly on the need to handover to the Anglican Mission. They helped in stabilizing the school and stimulating interest of Old Boys in regenerating the school. Ambassador Fafowora initiated the now Annual Merit Award to honour Old Boys and raise money for the development of the school and honoured Venerable B Adelaja – the longest serving Principal by renaming the School Hall after him. Finally, he initiated the building of a Chapel for the school and the Foundation Stone was laid and construction commenced during his tenure.
Major General Tope Williams continued as President of the OGS, after Ambassador Dapo Fafowora. He had the dogged determination to finish the Chapel which was costing so much. At every opportunity, he mobilized Old Boys towards the completion. The yeoman efforts resulted in a fitting Chapel – the best amongst Secondary Schools completed and named after the First Principal, Revd. Thomas Babington Macaulay. It was during General Williams regime that we had the landmark 150th Anniversary Celebration with Dr Sanya Sonuga (1952 Set) as Chairman, Planning Committee. It was an event filled celebration with football matches with other schools, Variety Show, Carnival Procession through streets of Lagos and visit to the Oba of Lagos, Unveiling of the Tombstone of Revd. T Macaulay, Memorial Service for departed Grammarians, Public Lecture delivered by Prof Babs Aliu Fafunwa (an Old Boy) at Institute of International Affairs, Confirmation Service and Dedication of the Chapel. A high point was the launching of the first Comprehensive History of the CMS Grammar School, Lagos by two journalists and edited by Amb. Dapo Fafowora.
A Hall of FAME was conceived for exceptional Old Boys that have made giant strides nationally and internationally and despite the large number of qualified and deserving Grammarians, only 6 , Former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice G Sowemimo, the first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria, Emeritus Professor Ogunlesi, First Chartered Accountant in Nigeria, Mr Akintola Williams, Former Attorney General, Minister, Lawyer, Queens Counsel, SAN, Chief Rotimi Williams, First African with DSC by examination in Engineering, Professor Awojobi, Mr Heelas Herbert Macaulay, Nationalist, Surveyor and son of the First Principal. A formal secretariat in the school for OGS was also commissioned during his tenure.
There is no doubt that the mobilization of Old Boys has had a major impact on the school. Old boys with the Set Award Competition, now compete to improve all aspects of the school particularly the infrastructure and academics. The strategic decision of getting Sets to focus on specific assignments has helped in galvanizing Old Boys.For a very long time, the impact of the Supervising Body, LASMAB was felt in the development and running of the school and regarded CMS as a source of cash cow for funding other newer Anglican Schools. The Old Boys undaunted rose to the challenge and the rate of development is short of a miracle. The school in terms of Infrastructure is better than when we all were in school.
The list of Projects executed in the last few years includes:
1. Renovation of the Boarding House (assisted with kind donation of N100,000.by family of Late Ven. J.O. Lucas).
2. Re-activation of the Water System and restoration of communication services (postal box, telephone) and Electricity.
3. Refurbishment of the school library and stocking with books (kind donation of €1,000 by Late Major J G C Allen).
4. Fortification of the perimeter fence, carving out the premises from adjoining Public schools(with kind support of fund by Mr. Akintola Williams)
5. Renovation of 2 blocks of 14 classrooms and equipping with iron seats and desks
– 4 classrooms sponsored by family of Late Prof. Toriola Sholanke (1947 Set)
– 4 classrooms sponsored by family of Late Prof. Ayodele Awojobi (1954 Set)
– 3 classrooms sponsored by Prof. Jide Ajayi (1954 Set)
– 1classrooms sponsored by Engr. Ayo Sholanke (1958 Set)
– 1 classrooms sponsored by OGS
– 1 classrooms sponsored by the Centenary Group (1959 Set)
6. Re-roofing/painting of the General Toilet Block, painting of the Administrative Block and provision of 20 inch Colour TV/VDC for use of boarders in commemoration of 25 years of leaving school- 73/78 Class Set.
7. Re-grassing of football field – OGS & 1956/57 Set.
8. Rehabilitation and equipping of the science block.
– Physics Laboratory sponsored by Professor A. Adebonojo (1954 Set).
– Equipping of Chemistry Laboratory financed by Surveyor Julius Ade Ogunlami(1963 Set)
– Rehabilitation of the Science Block and Biology Laboratory- OGS
9. Purchase of lawnmower for the School.
10. Rehabilitation of the old school gate by St Finbarrs College Road by OGS (with support of a kind donation of N40,000 by Chief G.O.K. Ajayi, SAN)
11. A Computer Laboratory initiated and equipped with 9 computers and furniture- 79 Class set in commemoration of 25 years of leaving school.
12. Donation of 3 sets of computer by 1963 Set, for the Computer Laboratory and administrative use (in commemoration of 40 years of leaving school.
13. Donation of 3 sets of computer for the Computer Laboratory- UK Branch.
14. Donation of 30 Nos. 6-seater Dinning Sets for the Boarding House by Nigerian Breweries Plc courtesy Akin Joaquim (Secretary General OGS)
15. Rehabilitation of the basketball, Handball/Lawn Tennis courts – Adesanya Gbenga (UK Based)
16. Upgrading of the Toilet Facilities in the boarding House by OGS at the cost of N800,000 with assistance of N300,000 by Mr. Lere Awokoya (1972 set).
17. Donation of a Block of 10 cubicles Bathrooms with 30 Showers for the Boarding House – 1952 Group.
18. Donation of Sharp Air-Conditioner window unit for OGS Secretariat and a split unit in the Principal’s Office – 1966 Set/Chief Edwin Dike (1966 Set)
19. Re-painting of the School Hall – 1974 Set.
20. Cash gift of N100,000 for purchase of plastic chairs for the Assembly hall – Dr. Abayomi Ajayi.(1978 Set)
21. Donation of 10 Nos. industrial Fans for use in the School Hall – 1973/75 Set.
22. Rehabilitation of the Senior Class Block of 11 classrooms – Completion of project by (1978 Set) in commemoration of 25 years of leaving school.
23. Donation of 30Nos. Plastic waste Bins at Strategic locations for effective Waste Management- 1979/84 Set
24. Construction of a befitting School Gate, Security House with conveniences/landscaping at St Finbarrs Road end – 1969-73/75 Set.
25. Construction of School Chapel – on going, OGS.
26. Relocation/upgrading of School Library – on going, 1980/81/82 Sets
27. Remodeling/ modernization of the junior block of Classrooms (Aluminum window frames, White Marker Boards, Exterior/Interior Painting, Ceiling Fans )Akin Joaquim (Sec. Gen. OGS) and 2007 Graduating year project.
28. Provision of 400 units of Student’s desks and chairs (Vono) – LASMAB
29. Exterior painting of the Boarding House and kerbs for roads median and general landscaping of the premises – Akin Joaquim (Sec. Gen. OGS).
30. Roofing of the Dining Hall – LASMAB
31. Donation of 3 personal computers by Mr. Tokunbo Talabi 1980 Set.
32. Donation of a complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica by Chief Akin Disu in commemoration of his 70th Birthday.
33. Improvement of the Senior Block of Classrooms – replacement of doors with durable metal ones, interior and exterior painting, classrooms illumination and provision of white marker boards, and ceiling fans -(1973/78 Set) in commemoration of 30 years of leaving school.
34. Provision of a broad band internet facility for 20 Personal Computers (10 presently in use) and 1 in the teachers Common Room – 1973/78 Set.
35. Installation of the E-Tutor software package in the Computer Room to promote private studies – sponsored by Prof. Deji Femi-Pearse through donation of N150,000 for promotion and teaching of Science and Technology.
36. Procurement of a 40 KVA Generating Set by the PTA to meet the School’s power needs.
37. Renovation/rehabilitation of the Technical Workshop, abandoned since take over of school in 1979 by UACN Plc under its “Legacy Schools Intervention Programme”
38. Provision of a befitting Common Room for Boarders with Plasma LCD TV/DVD by LASMAB.
39. Re-electrification of the proto-type block of classrooms by the Celtron Group (Mr. Dapo Adelegan 1974/79). At cost of N100,000
40. Donation and installation of the Bishop Kale Memorial Clock in memory Late Rt. Rev. S.I Kale, former Bishop of Lagos and Principal of the school by Elderman Folarin Coker (1941)
41. Terrazzo Floor of the Ven. B.A. Adelaja Hall by the 1958 set, in commemoration of 50years of leaving school.
42. 40 pews donated to the School Chapel by Chief G.O.K Ajayi, SAN of the 1948 set and past President, OGS.
43. 4 pews donated by Very Revd T.A.J Oluwole (1950 set) and family.
44. 1 pew donated by Mr. Afolabi Kehinde of the 1959 set
45. 2 pews donated by Mr. J.O. Sodimu of the 1959 set.
46. Wardens’ Marble Stall, donated by Mr. Willie Olabode Fagbile (1959 set)
47. Digital Organ donated by Chief (Dr) Koleade Abayomi, SAN, OON on behalf of the 1959 set in commemoration of 50 years of leaving school.
48. Donation of 4 units of personal computers with internet access and UPS for the school’s Computer Laboratory by the 1968-72/74 set)
49. Rehabilitation of the internal road network (phase 1) – rehabilitation with paved stones of road from school hall to the junction by the science block and drive away to the Principal’s office, sponsored by the 73/75 set.
50. Donation of 4 Nos. municipal Waste Bins by 1969-73/75
51. Interior and exterior painting of the JS 1 Block of classrooms sponsored by Nordica Fertility Centre, Ikoyi (Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, 1978/80 set)
52. General Electrical wiring, replacement of broken louvre blade, painting and installation of 24 Nos. ceiling fans in six classrooms in the senior block ( Fajemirokun ), sponsored by 1978/80 set.
53. Book donations to the school library by the 1985 set.
54. Rehabilitation of the school’s internal road network with interlocking pave-stone (from the Akoka gate entrance to the Babington Macaulay roundabout) by the Central Exco of the OGS
55. Furnishing of the Five Model Classrooms with imported modern classroom desks and chairs in the JS 2 block to compliment earlier renovated works in that block by the UK Branch of the OGS under the chairmanship of Grammarian Kola Akinwale (1979 set) and 4th Vice-President of the OGS.
56. Public address system for the Ven. B.A. Adelaja Hall
57. 2 Nos CLEVERBOARD teaching device, complete with Multi-Media projectors and 105” Projection Screen by the 1960 set (Independence set)
58. Renovation and re-decoration of the school’s perimeter fence on the Akoka axis of the school.
59. Solar-powered current inverter and 18 nos ceiling fans for the school’s Dining Hall
60. Solar-powered Current inverter and 18 nos ceiling fans for the school’s dining Hall.
61. Rehabilitation of the School’s Internal Road Network with interlocking pave-stones (from the Bariga “Igbogunnu” Entrance Gate to the T-Junction by the Science Block/Principal’s Office to the T-Junction besides by the Science Block/Principal’s Office) by the 1972 set.
62. Rehabilitation of the School’s Internal Road Network with interlocking pave-stones (from the T-Junction by the Science Block/Principal’s Office to the T-Junction besides by the Science Block/Principal’s Office) by the 1974 set.
63. Rehabilitation of the School’s Internal Road Network with interlocking pave-stones (from T-Junction adjacent to JS 1 Block behind the Science Block up to the Babington Macaulay round about to mark his 50th Birthday Celebration by Mr. Akin Joaquim (1978 set) and 1st Vice-President of the OGS and current PTA Chairman of the school.
64. Donation of sets of books for the school library, a multi-media projector to aid TV view and related activities in the boarding house and the school as a whole by the 1984/86 set
65. Official launch of the OGS Website and Social networking site designed, developed and hosted by the set, for the OGS by the 2000 set.
66. Classroom furniture consisting of 120 nos imported modern classroom desks and chairs in four JS 3 classrooms of the school undertaken by Dr. Abayomi Ajayi (MD Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos) 1973-78 set.
Without doubt, CMS Grammar school, despite the takeover has a proud heritage and has played a leading and trail blazing role in the development of Nigeria and indeed Africa.
Since the return of the school to the Mission, old boys have played a fantastic role and brought it to the enviable state it is today. The Anglican Mission has delegated ‘limited authority’ to the Lagos Anglican Schools Management Board led by Dr Mrs Ogunsanya to direct the affairs of all schools and Major General Victor Odeka (Rtd) as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the School. We have representatives of the PTA and the Old Boys as members. Some efforts are being made and it is expected that by the 2014 Academic Year, the school would offer Cambridge O’ Levels and other International Exams. However, what would gladden many Old Boys is to convert it into a private school as articulated by Ambassador Fafowora. It will be run by a foundation with same school name able to charge its fees and manage it resources. As he said, that is the way to secure the school’s future.
In conclusion, the school despite challenges has contributed to Nigeria’s development and we Old Boys are grateful for the opportunity afforded us on passing through the School.
15th June, 2013