Just 'One Minute' Away From Infamy!

Just one minute! That was all it took to save me from falling from my lofty height as a model student of Government College Ibadan to infamy as a student who would have been suspended indefinitely. In our days, that statement was like going to hell. What actually happened?
All my years in GCI, I lived up to my nickname "Dynamite" as I really thought of myself as dynamic. I was quite a lively student known for my warmth and jokes. While in Form 5, I left school (bolted) for Scala Cinema in Sabo area of Ibadan to watch the film Woodstock. This was of course, without permission, which at any rate was not unheard of in the hostel. After the film, I hailed a taxi to take me back to school. However, on impulse, my sixth sense told me to drop just by the gates of Queen's School and walk the two mile distance to GCI. I got to school, went to my House, then to my room and had barely crept into my bed under the sheet with my shoes still on, when incidentally; the Housemaster of Swanston House arrived for an impromptu roll call. Phew! What a narrow escape! Peradventure, if I had come in just one minute later than I did, I would definitely have been a sure candidate for the 'suspended indefinitely' infamy. The ripple effects that would have attended the sanction which would undoubtedly have been meted out to me would probably have negatively affected my present situation in life. I had no doubt in my mind that I had escaped, not by my power or might, but by the sheer grace of the Lord. That singular incident taught me one very unforgettable lesson, which I have so far carried along all through my life. From that moment, I came to realise how important 'one minute' could be in turning for good or for bad the fortunes in the life of any man.

The 'one-minute' grace which God gave me on that day made it incumbent for me to continually act responsibly, so much so that I was appointed as a School Prefect and Head of Swanston House in 1973.

Each time I read my testimonial which was signed by the Principal, Chief J. B.O. Ojo on 14th September 1973, it gave me a better understanding of God and a deeper appreciation of His grace upon me in that moment of indiscretion. Chief Ojo wrote, inter alia:

Olugboyega Delano is good and dependable; has been very reliable; very effective... a bright and active boy with a gentle nature; has mature understanding and is a very responsible person. He is a good leader and his character is very good.

I did not take the Principal's testimonial lightly because it summed up how much I had imbibed the 'can do spirit that GCI had inculcated in us all. In a way, it was a licence for me to go into the world, do good and excel in whatever field and in whatever station or country in which I found myself. To the glory of God, I can safely state that all of us in the 67/73 class, as well as many others that attended GCI ahead of us or after us have done well to build on the foundation laid in our lives by virtue of our attendance of the College.

I must confess, however, that this spirit of 'sneaking in and out of GCI never completely left me. Then it was boys at play, but this time, however, it has been for good, not for frolicking, mischief or trivial pursuit. In the late 80s and 90s, I regularly but quietly sneaked into and out of GCI to hold meetings with the Principals as well as Games/Sports Masters. Without being immodest, these culminated in the donation of hockey sticks and jerseys as well as sponsorship of some events. This is hardly surprising, considering that I was a member of the school and Western State Hockey teams. At different times, I was Vice-President of the Geographical Society, member of the Science Society, the Press Club and the Literary and Debating Society. I quite appreciate the Merit Award, which is the highest Old Boy honour, which was conferred on me in year 2000 by the Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association

I believe strongly in the saying that any river that forgets its source would ultimately dry up. In part, this has been my motivation for getting involved in the formation and running of different chapters of GCIOBA. In 1993, I became the founding Chairman of GCIOBA Europe, for five years. This has now grown into a big Association in London, England. In 1998, after I relocated from London to Chicago, USA to become Vice-President of Softsheen/L'Oreal, a multinational organisation, I became the founding Chairman of GCIOBA, North America.

I can safely say that the years of successful instruction and pupillage at GCI has paid off handsomely for me. For that, I am grateful to God, to our teachers in school and to all my mates in the GCIOBA 1967 Set. May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of us. Amen.

Submitted By: 

DELANO Olugboyega
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