Looking Back And Looking Forward: A 1966 Class Set 50th Anniversary Publication

It is fifty years already since the Class of 1966 entered the hallowed portals of Government College Ibadan.

What? Fifty years!

Half a century!

To use the familiar cliché, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, in that time. For the school, Government College, Ibadan; for the country, Nigeria; and for the ‘boys’ of the Class of 1966 themselves.

They encapsulate, in their individual experiences and evolution, the story of everything, put together – their much-cherished school, their nation. Their families. Their dreams of what the future would be. The reality of their lives, as they have turned out. Their achievements. Their disappointments. The unfinished agenda of their lives, fifty years on – for themselves, for family, for their nation. And, yes, for the school. The Government College, Ibadan they speak of exists only in the fading memories of the boys who experienced school life a long time ago, a school life that is very far removed from the school life of the present tenants of the territory.

Fifty years!


It keeps coming back inexorably – the notion that every GCI boy ‘owes’ GCI, that the privilege of going through GCI, the privilege of living and learning in GCI somehow had a crucial influence in shaping the course of their lives, setting them on a journey towards fabled goal of Self-Actualisation, a journey that is, by design, never complete, always ‘work in progress’.

The Class of 1966 has decided to capture a vignette of its journey in the form of this book. At the end of the day, it can only be that – a vignette, a teeny weeny little bit of its reality. The intentrion is to capture some of the starry eyed joie de vivre of early youth. Coming into school meant for many, leaving home and parents for the first time. Discovering individual identity and freedom of choice for the first time. Learning the use, and misuse, of freedom. Going on into real life – with career and family.

Idealism. Illusion. Some dis-illusion. Joy, sadness. The too-early loss to death of fond friendships. And then, as the story goes forward, the urge to make impact – for good. The felt need to give back.

The book of the Class of 1966 is not a heavy tome, not an uninhibited song of joy, and not a funereal dirge. It is not the ritual laying of blame at everybody else’s feet for the failure of the Nigeria project to date to deliver the ambience for the realization of some of the dreams inspired by GCI. No.

Or perhaps it is all of these, and much more besides. It is a song of joy, and an emphatic statement of hope. It was always right to dream, and the dream of GCI, and by extension the dream of a great Nigeria, can still, and will still materialize, if people hold on to what is true, and what is good in them, and if they continue to strive in whatever area they can, to do what is good, and what is right, and to use the knowledge, and that nebulous quantity called ‘Wisdom’, acquired painstakingly over time, in a continuing quest to affect their world.

The book is in three main parts.

It starts with REMINSCENCES, which the class has a-plenty.

Then there is REQUIEM – a variegated ode to the friends that departed along the way, some of them captured vividly in the fond recollection of those who were close to them. At least one of the departed achieved a status akin to folk hero in the imagination of the popular public in Nigeria for what DJ Bullock would have described as his ‘derring-do’, telling the truth to power – an act executed at pivotal moments by heroes in the lives of great nations, but one certain to attract the most dire consequences in the Nigeria of our recent gory past.

And then there is ‘REFLECTIONS’, Here class members, now mostly at the top of their game, Chief Executives and principal drivers in their various niches, take some time to apply their minds to Great Society issues. What is wrong? How to fix it. How to create a better life for future generations, the emblem of that future being the new intake and present students of their beloved institutions – GCI.

We hope it will turn out a compelling read, and not just for members of the Class Set and their families. That would amount to ‘preaching to the converted’. Not even just for members of the enlarged GCI family, meaning members of earlier and later sets, and current students. The target is the discerning and the concerned among the reading public who like a good story, built on the firm anchor of the human angle, a charting of a cohort’s progression from youthful idealism to adult realism. Some people may see this as mirroring their own life experience – how it is, or how they would have loved it to be.

Welcome to the story of the GCI Class of 1966.



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