How Moslem Grammar Schools old students reunite to uplift alma mater

“THIS is our school, without which our history will not be complete. Since our history cannot be written without a mention of this school, then it behoves us to join hands together and develop our alma mater.”

These were the words of the chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Adeniran, a 1981 graduate of Moslem Grammar Schools, Odinjo, Ibadan, at the first reunion of all the class-set students of that institution.

The event of Saturday, November 9, 2019, held on the school’s premises, also marked the grand finale of the anniversary of the institution which clocked 50 on 17 January, 2019. The school – which was later to be taken over by the government – was established in 1969 by Alhaji Jaibu Kosemani Animasaun.

The gathering was also graced by all four principals of the school that has now been divided into junior schools 1 and 2 and senior schools 1 and 2. One of them is the principal of senior school 1, Alhaji Mojeed Adeleke, who is also an old student of the school. The man, who graduated in 1978, expressed optimism about the good things he and his fellow old boys and girls could do for the school.

The programme was not for merriments alone. It was used by the old boys and girls, many of whom have attained lofty heights in life, to fashion ways of changing the lot of their alma mater for the better.

According to the Oyo SUBEB boss, Dr Adeniran, Moslem Grammar School, Odinjo, his alma mater, like some other schools in the state, requires considerable attention to address its developmental challenges.

“As a matter of duty, the old students have been trying to ensure that they do something for the school. I belong to the 1981 set. I am even the chairman of that set. The 1981 graduate class has provided chairs and desks for the students and those chairs and desks are still in use. It is my belief that one after the other, the facilities required to bring about an atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning and provision of quality and standard education will be provided. The government will do what it is supposed to do to provide necessary assistance, while the old students will continue to ensure that they lend a helping hand to their alma mater and make it a better sight to behold than what it presently is.

“It is believed that this association has come to stay because virtually everybody is now trying to join the train, which is going to make it a more vibrant and virile association that can actually assist the school. Old students of different class-sets are now gathered together – seniors and juniors – to put heads together and see what we can do to uplift the school. And I know this is the kind of thing that the government is also looking forward to, because education for all is a responsibility of all. Even if the entire budget of a state is utilised for the education sector alone, it would still not be enough. Therefore, all well-meaning Nigerians, the alumni, philanthropists, non-governmental organisations, international donor agencies and all categories of people that can be of assistance should assist the schools. That is exactly what we are trying to do here.

“I am optimistic that in a few years’ time, the old students association would have made a very significant impact on the school. This is our school, without which our history will not be complete. Since our history cannot be written without a mention of this school, then it behoves us to join hands together and develop our alma mater. Regardless of our statuses or standings in the society, everybody is useful and has one contribution or the other to make to the growth of this school,” Dr Adeniran said.

The president of the association, which is christened Moslem Grammar Schools Old Students’ Association (MOGSOSA), Alhaji Abdul Lateef Bamigbade, said it might be surprising that graduates of such a relatively old institution as theirs were just coming together but what was important now was what they were determined to do to raise the standard of the school that once raised them at an impressionable period in their lives

“The first set passed out from this school 46 years ago. That implies that we have 46 sets now. But those of us who passed out from this school and have really attained maturity in terms of life’s pursuit decided to come together and put our feet on the ground that the old students’ association at the national level must stand so that we can develop our school. So, a year ago, on the 11th of November, 2018, MOGSOSA was established and the first national executive council members were sworn in and we are one year in office.

“In the past one year, we have started to lay a very solid foundation for the development of the school. We have started renovation of classrooms. We have concluded plans to do the perimeter fencing of the school because that is one the major challenges the school is facing. It has a porous environment. After today’s ceremony, the project will start in earnest. Our members in the Diaspora, on getting wind of the fact that the association has been solidly established, rose to the occasion and decided not to renovate but construct the school’s laboratories.

They have sent in the quotation and introduced us to the consultant that will handle the project. They did that on their own in order to fast-track the project. They did the ground work and handed over the project to us and promised their contribution to the completion of the project. Their initial plan was to carry out the project wholly on their own but now that they know that the old students association is in place, they decided that we should all come together. That is what we are doing as of now.

“We will continue to improve on the infrastructure of the school and by the grace of God, by November, 2020. God sparing our lives, this school will be a different environment altogether,” Alhaji Bamigbade said.

In a paper he delivered at the ceremony, the speaker, Professor Tajudeen Akanji, said alumni associations must do more than plan class reunions. According to him, not only should they promote their schools but they have a duty to find ways of providing support for their alma mater in a process of giving back

Prof. Akanji, who is the director of the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, underscored the need for alumni of secondary schools across the country to deploy their knowledge and experience in their areas of expertise for the better management of their alma maters.

The don, who was once a teacher at Moslem Grammar School and actually educated some of the old students present at the reunion, emphasised that “in Nigeria, where the government will continue to find it difficult to meet up with its responsibilities, alumni associations should play a vital role in providing assistance to these institutions.”

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