By G9ija

The National President, Government College, Ibadan, Old Boys’ Association (GCIOBA), Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), has said quality education is the bedrock of societal development and must never be compromised.

Babalakin said a half-educated person is a danger to himself and the society.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at a news conference on GCI’s 90th anniversary celebration, Babalakin said all Nigerians must see the rebuilding of the education system as a personal  and collective challenge.

He said GCI old boys had decided to take up the challenge and ensure that their alma-mater continues to provide the quality education it is known for.

His words: “It’s a waste of time going on the blame game  It’s going to be challenging but it’s a goal we have set for ourselves.”

Babalakin said quality education would come at a cost, adding that countries that had recorded landmark achievements in various spheres of life had done so through investment in the education sector.

He said: “This year, we are going to be celebrating our 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, one of which is that it is basically  an assembly of the most gifted boys in the old Western Region, extending from the boundary of Nigeria with the Republic of Benin to Asaba in the current Delta State.”

He  stated that one of the unique principles of the college were its traditions.

“These traditions were established and nurtured in the course of the school’s existence . For example, though we have a united front when acting for the school,  we also have strong affiliations to our various  Houses, which were four in number, up till 1947. The fifth one was established in 1973.

” The School ran  a collegiate system where the Houses  were independent in many spheres . Competition amongst the Houses were vibrant.

“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 House and school penalties for whatever offence were  committed,” he said.

Babalakin said the college had produced outstanding students in all facets of Nigerian life.

He noted that not less than 15,000 students have graduated from the college since its inception in 1929.

It has been very difficult  to decide the area of activity in Nigeria that we are going to celebrate because GCI boys have simply distinguished themselves in all areas. We have no less than 1000 old boys that are deserving of the award.

“We have chosen two areas of endeavour to celebrate on this occasion. We shall be celebrating other areas as we go along.  We shall be celebrating Government College Old Boys  in the area of Creative Arts.

“For this year, we are going to be recognising six literary icons, among whom are Prof. Timothy Aluko,  Cyprian Ekwensi,  Prof Femi Osofisan; Prof Bode Sowande; Dr Christopher Kolade Prof. Wole Soyinka.

We will also be honouring a few of our outstanding academics from a large pool of very distinguished academics. Those to be honoured on this occasion are those who have received the Nigerian National Order of Merit award, namely Sunday Aribisala, Akinola Afuda, Ifedayo Oladapo, Oladipo Akinkugbe, Oluwole Soyinka and Femi Osofisan.

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