Members of King’s College Old Boys Association join forces to mark the centenary of their alma mater with the objective of restoring the good old days of the college.
By Sylvester Asoya
In September, King’s College, Lagos will be 100 years old. The institution which was founded by the British colonialists with the mandate to prepare future Nigerian leaders in science, commerce, the arts and government has done significantly well over the last ten decades. Aside producing leaders in virtually every area of human endeavour, King’s College has, even in the face of falling standards, managed to retain a few of those fine qualities that once defined Nigeria’s public institutions.
For these and other contributions of the college to national development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation UNESCO, recently declared the centenary celebration of the institution as one of its major historical activities for the 2009/2010 Biennium. In fact, last week, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsura flagged off the centenary celebration with a lecture that brought together old boys, government officials, friends and well wishers.
But beyond the celebrations, the old boys are also using the opportunity to seriously address the issue of education in Nigeria. They are unhappy that their alma mater has lost its glory, just like the Nigerian state today. They have, therefore, commenced total renovation of structures within the school with a view to repositioning the institution for the challenges ahead. The buildings receiving attention at the moment include the school library, assembly hall, junior staff quarters, kitchen, laundry, lecture theatre and laboratory, administrative block, boarding house master’s residence, sports field, water plant and classroom blocks. Others are incinerator, botanical garden, and senior boarding house master’s residence. The old boys are also writing a book entitled: 100 Years of King’s College. This is in addition to organising other activities such as football match, exhibition, festival of the arts, a documentary on Kings College, essay competition, class set re-union and back to school activities, among others.
Speaking to newsmen last week, Dr Sunny Kuku, President of King’s College Old Boys Association, regretted the low literacy level in the country, but promised that his association will work with relevant bodies both within and outside the country to ensure that best practices return to the country’s institutions. In the same vein, Chief Philip Asiodu, Chairman, Centenary Committee, called on Nigerians to renew their commitment to education or face the risk of producing poorly educated people who will do the country more harm in the years ahead. The old boys later agreed that there was urgent need to strengthen and motivate the teaching staff if the college hopes to retain competent staff..
Reactions also came from the principal, Mr. J.B. Ladan, who pledged the commitment of both the teaching and non-teaching staff to the objectives of the association. Other old boys who spoke included Tunde Thompson, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Vincent Maduka, Mohiedeen Bakinson Lawanson and Olu Akpata.