Government College Old Boys in National Life

We number among the subsequent directors of the destiny of the old school such able persons as W.H.P. Browne, A.D. Porter, H.H. Jeffers, D.J. Bullock, and then a number of distinguished Nigeria and Old Boys Principals were the Housemasters. Having been thought some boarding institutions themselves, the Housemasters had plenty of experience and imagination and had no difficulty filling in the time of their wards to maximum advantage. With discipline as the chief cornerstone of all activities, encouraging results were respective turns, though it must be admitted that because one or two did not quite measures up to the level of discipline, as had become traditional, the moral and academic tone of the Old School suffered severe reverses at one stage or another. But in so far as the Institution was human, it could not be otherwise.

But by now, the Old Boys were already playing a leading role in all spheres of national life. Turn in any direction, and you would find them in key positions, attained on merit. The industry, the integrity and the discipline enforced in earlier years were now paying rich dividends. No wonder that �hat trick� achieved in the Ministry of Works in Western Nigeria when time Aluko became the first Nigerian Controller of Works Services, only to be replaced by G.O. Akinyemi, another Old Boy who again handed over to C.S.O. Akande, yet another Old Boy who subsequently became Head of Service in the Western State Government. Other top names in the engineering community in Nigeria include such Old Boys like S.O. Fadahunsi the first Nigeria Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos Executive Development Board, J.A. Andu, the first General Manager of the Western Nigeria Water Corporation, and S.O. Audifferen who was the Director of Federal Public Works responsible for the design and construction of the complex highway system linking Ijora with Apapa. And there is George Obembe who successfully challenged the monopoly of expatriates in the field of consulting in engineering and who for many years remained virtually a lone ranger in that field before others led by Joe Olaniyan, another Old Boy joined him. They are all eminent, world class civil engineers and they are typical of all Old Boys in their professions.

In the realms of politics, Government College had left its mark. Perhaps the most colourful old Boy in this field was the late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu. They nicknamed him �Penkelemes� from the phrase �peculia mess� which he used so often in his political speeches. In politics, Adelabu was a dashing forward who dictated the pace to his superiors and inspired his following to attain enviable heights. He blazed the trail for other Old Boys like Kola Balogun (the lawyer) and Otobo who served as Ministers of State at Federal and State levels. And Akin-Deko�s name stands out boldly among the former Western Region. He was Minister first in the Awolowo and later in the Akinola Cabinet. His able and efficient administration of the Ministry of Agriculture in Ibadan attracted international recognition when, on leaving the Western Nigeria Cabinet in 1962 he was appointed Director of the Food and Agricultural Organization responsible for the African Region, with headquarters at Accra. Self discipline was part of the secret of his success. Journalism is not unrelated to the vagaries of politics. In that connection, one cannot but think of Abiodun Aloba better known as Ebenezer Williams, a veritable �truant� at school who started his �I beg to oppose� tactics in the House Magazine � The Mustard Seed, which he, while a student, adited at Government College students was part of his armory for a distinguished career in his profession.

In the other professions, the Old School has more than held its own. Names like those of Professor John Olu Mabayoje and the late Lawrence Adesuyi will always adorn the medical profession. In the realms of law, we doff our hats for T. Akinola Aguda who served as Chief Justice in far-away Bostwana only to return home to become first the Chief Justice of the Western State and later Chief Judge of the newly created Ondo State. Think of distinguished agriculturist like T.S.B. Aribisala who, after a distinguished civil service career at home, has become a policy marker in agricultural maters at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Think of them now, the Ojurongbes, the Akinwolemiwas and host of others who have made Nigeria Agriculture a thing of beauty.

In the realms of the intellectual and the academic, Government College has again more than held its own. Check through the names of leading Nigerian Professors and you would find such names as I. Oladapo, S.O. Awe, C.I. Olaniyan, D. Olatubosun, M. Okafor, O. Esan and the late J.O. Fagbemi among many who are products of Government College Ibadan. And with Professors Saburi Biobaku, O. Akinkugbe and Tijani Yesufu on past and present roll as Vice Chancellors, we cannot complain of lack of adequate representation up there. Indeed, you have the Ekwensis, the Soyinkas and the Alukos who are pace-setters in the realms of Africa literature. You have the para-medicals, the pharmacists and all who are engaged in essential services, the Military and the Police not excluded.

- excerpt from Built On the Rock - the first 25 Years