Insurrection at Apata Ganga

- The DJB/JBO Revolt

It was sometime in 1968 when the news went round that our school Principal, Mr. D. J. Bullock (popularly referred to as "DJB"), who we had grown extremely fond of, was to be transferred to Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro. In exchange, Chief J. B. O. Ojo, an Old Boy of the school, who was then the Principal of Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro, was to be our new Principal. We literally flipped and the entire school went berserk, riotous and became ungovernable! "Nibo? Ko possible !"

The news was all over the town, in the media, on Breaking News over all the television networks, hot headlines in the newspaper tabloids and open gossip at every street corner discussion. Those quiet, orderly (sic) well groomed, perfect models of gentlemen-in-the-making from Apata Ganga have finally run over the hill and flown over the cuckoo's nest and have gone gaga. GCI boys have jettisoned law, peace and order because their oyinbo supremo has been given the red care and was being dislodged from under their feet.
Upon hearing the news, in the twinkling of an eye, windows had been smashed, bottles broken and concerted but unsuccessful attempts had been made to set ablaze the School Office and Library. I was privy to the happenings because I was in one of the groups that made such attempts under the able leadership of some seniors and even prefects, who are now iconic in reputation and achievements. Did I just hear you ask for the identity of those seniors? "Lai lai!" I will not mention their names, but I know them, they know me and we know who was who

At the height of the imbroglio, the then Western State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, himself an old boy of the school, came over to deliver an address at the Assembly Hall under heavy police security escort. If my recollection of the incident has not started to dwindle, an anti riot water-cannon riot-dispelling armoured vehicle was also stationed permanently near the main gate of the school, ready for immediate deployment at the earliest opportunity, if need be.

Dr. Olunloyo's speech was intermittently interrupted with boos, jeers, cross talk and was trailed with all sorts of rude and unsavory sounds, grunts and remarks. It did not need a rocket scientist to tell anybody that decorum had been thrown overboard and the Commissioner was failing to communicate with this unruly crowd. Was this the kind of GCI he bequeathed to this generation of GCI boys? It was evident he was overwhelmed. Consequently, he was forced to depart, apparently disgruntled and deeply shaken by the unpremeditated responses he received from this new face of his own alma mater.

The growing tension was not doused by DJB himself, who was as should be expected under such circumstances, was obviously not favourably disposed to being manipulated to severe the deep connection with his beloved Apata Ganga boys. The bond of mutual respect and cordiality had been woven too tightly too long to preclude that ease of separation, unpremeditated and sudden. He would also be the last white man to occupy the exalted position of the Principal of GCI

His famous phrase, ...our manifold sins and wickedness..."culled from his departure address to the school is memorable and this confirmed to the boys that their supremo was being manipulated out of office. This further enraged the hoard of militants which now traversed the entire school population. The phrase was also a thinly veiled indictment of none other than the Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association (GCIOBA) the same association which we now represent, and which was rumoured to be the force behind the removal of DJB! In fact, this phrase was pasted on walls in different areas of the school compound.

According to the admission of a late uncle of mine who was then a member of the Executive Committee of GCIOBA, there were several allegations levied against DJB for being too indulging with the boys. This included the allegation that he always looked the other way when his favourite boys smoked cigarettes and even took some of them to town for boozing sessions at public bars, thereby compromising the entire culture of discipline which the institution had come to be known for! My goodness! It is amazing how such spurious, ridiculous and puerile allegations can be cooked up when your detractors are out to get you at all cost, in order to favour and install one of their own. It appeared like a case of stigmatizing a dog with a bad name in order to kill it.

Well, so far with the cause. Now let's move over to the effects and get personal What on earth should I as an individual named Olufemi Folorunso of the Osanyinjobi family guyishly called "Bobson" by friends and colleagues have to do with agitating for the retention of that cane wielding, boom-voiced, white skinned symbol of our colonial past, who was transported from across the oceans to Apata Ganga?

The man's white face would even take a fiery red transformation on the few occasions that he directly related with me (substitute with 'tanned) usually on Sunday evenings after dinner, when one would have to climb the Hill of Golgotina' for the execution of the previous week's infractions This is always sequel to announcement of the week's detention list in the Dining Hall ... and boy, was I a frequent victim, or better still, customer.

His voice would boom out under the canopy of his reddened face: "Oh my boy, Osanyinjobs, it's you again? Now, what am I going to do with you? Ogunruku, come over here and give him six of your very best!" Note that Ogunruku was in the Upper Sixth Form and he was the Head of School, but now of blessed memory. The battle-ready, trigger-happy, cane-dangling Head of School would gingerly rise to the occasion and sour my bum-bum, regardless of the several layers of khaki shorts that I had carefully packaged for the encounter as my armoury of defence!

Now, in all sincerity, tell me why I should like DJB Honestly, I shouldn't like the man at all! But then, the man really had style and finesse. He would later emerge with a magnified smile, as if in satisfaction of his earlier accomplishment of crucifying my backside with Ogunruku's cane. He would then sprout a surprise with his arms outstretched and round your shoulders and dish out a handful of candies or cookies, as if flagging a white drapery in a declaration of truce for earlier brutalising your essence! So, how and why wouldn't a kid stake out for a man like that? I'll tell you this... the man had style.

DJB was simply a maestro of child psychology and a guru of diplomatic retraction! We all stood up for him and the entire nation felt the pulse! Whenever the opportunity arises, I propose to move a motion that the GCI insignia be placed or etched on his tombstone wherever he is presently experiencing his eternal repose in England. Or, is it in Nigeria?

For us, it was, it is, and will continue to be DJB forever! Long live GCI, and the on-going re-engineering to excellence.

Submitted By: 

OSANYINJOBI Folorunso Olufemi
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