The old saying “ boys will one day become men” was re-echoed and came into play on Friday 27th of September 2019 as class of 1973 Old Boys Association of Ika Grammar School, Agbor held its debut reunion.
The reunion had several Old Boys who had attended the school between 1969 and 1973 in attendance along with their spouses and family members. The teenagers of 1973 who are now fathers and grandfathers were seen beaming with smiles at the sight of their contemporaries and one time play mates as they hugged and called themselves by their various nicknames while in school almost 50 years ago.
Mr. Emmanuel Ifeanyi Odili, the president of the Lagos Branch of Ika Grammar School Old boys association chaired the occasion. In his address titled “Celebrating the past, cherishing the present and claiming the future”, Mr. Odili welcomed, congratulated and appreciated every old boy for coming to the debut reunion of class 73 while reflecting on the glorious past and its rich legacies, stating that it is the past that informs the present and sets a base on which the present and future are built. OSIELE, IKA BORN FOOTBALLER MAKES WAVE IN USA
Emphasizing on their collective legacies, Mr. Odili disclosed that the 73 set had several ‘Firsts’ in Ika Grammar School. He said, “Our set started the Modern Mathematics and Government as a subject was introduced during our set. We pioneered the May/June WASSCE in the History of the school and were recognized as the most peaceful and united set as attested to by our senior and junior colleagues.
The Lagos Branch president eulogised the pioneering works of many Principals and teachers of the school who shaped their Alma Mater. Some of those he mentioned include Mr. Mgbejume, Mr. Azani V, Mr. Isichei (Economics Master) Mr. Ikeji (Sports/Maths Master), Mr. Chiazor (Art Master) and Mr. Northridge, (Modern Maths Master) among others describing them as visionaries who answered the call that was laid on their heart, worked hard and succeeded. I AM GLAD TO BE A FEMALE DJ – Judith Ifeyinwa
The chairman however reminded his brothers and contemporaries of the enormous tasks before them as an association which is looking into the plight of their members and giving necessary welfare support. He added that the well being of members of 73 set is cardinal because as they age, challenges of various forms begin to set in. In his words, “Of what relevance is an association when it cannot assist members at critical moments”?
Continuing, Mr. Odili said “Another aspect I consider Central for the association is to look into a legacy for the future and I opine that if Nigeria must move forward and not play catch up, education remains the best means to transform our young ones into better persons (honest and full of integrity) an attribute that will provide dynamic leadership the country desperately needs.
He concluded by stating that the old boys association should look beyond fund raising and providing much needed materials for the school but should be a catalyst for change.
In the same vein, an address by the National President Ika Grammar School Old Boys Association, Mr. Daniel Usiade was read by Mr. Christopher Kuwani. The address climaxed the day’s event as it briefly navigated through the history of Ika Grammar school. Mr. Usiade informed the gathering that the school was established on February 16, 1960 and that before that time as far as boys’ post primary education was concerned, Ika land could be described as an academic desert. COMPLETE BIBLE NOW IN IKA LANGUAGE
Continuing, he added that the idea to build a boys Post Primary Institution proximal to indigenes of Ika nation was conceived by the then Ika District Council in the old western region structure essentially with the intent of reducing the illiteracy level among the boys.
To midwife the idea into reality the Anglican Communion was entrusted with resources to establish a post primary boys institution and equally administer the school efficiently and professionally to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the district council. The Mantle of the founding principal was thrust upon Mr Clifford G.I Eneli of blessed memory; an astute, indefatigable, quintessential and visionary personality.
With the basic infrastructure in place, the school was officially opened on February 16, 1960 with the founding Principal; Mr. Clifford Godson Igweka Eneli, one tutor; Mr. Chuba C. Emenike and thirty (30) pioneer students. The first year of the six formative years of the school was spent on manual labours, clearing bushes, leveling games fields, athletics track,football fields and hockey pitch.
Hence, the pioneer students had to take an extra one year before sitting for the WAEC along with 60 others who joined the school in 1961 as form one students and today Ika Grammar School is what it is, “Our Alma Mater”.
The National Chairman emphasized that the labour of the pioneer leaders of Ika Grammar School should not be made in vain urging the school’s Old Boys Association to rise up, reorganize and re-strategise themselves to meet the challenges of the present. He also urged the various sets to harmonize with the national platform to redeem, restore, and advance the image and glory of Ika Grammar School.
Conclusively he urged the 73′ set to tour the school premises with a view to finding areas where facilities or projects that their set can make significant contributions towards improving the learning environment.
The high point of the event was when one of the pioneer teachers of the school, Chief Pius Chiazor read his speech. The obviously aged educationist read his speech amidst emotions of pride, satisfaction and gladness. He was proud to be one of the instruments to have molded the old boys, seeing that a large number of them had made so much successes in life, satisfied to note that his efforts and discipline were not all in vain and glad to be alive to see his boys now fathers and grandfathers and in such a grand style with great records of successes.
The strength of the elderly retired teacher was not in doubt as he stood all through to read his speech, holding on to the microphone all by himself and not needing assistance.
In his speech Chief Chiazor disclosed that the first college’s principal; Mr. Eneli, his Vice; Mr. Emenike and himself often shared the college subjects irrespective of their fields of specialty when the school were newly started.
He proudly noted that ex students of Ika Grammar School were making waves all over the country. He mentioned a few including Dr. Emmanuel Tibi (former Provost COE Agbor), Dr. Idiaghe (Anioma Hospital Agbor), Mr. Daniel Usifo (Collective Head, Onu Ika), Major Nick Aigbogu (RTD), Professor Igbogbo and Dr. C Egwu (both lecturers at Delsu), Mr. Hycent Osunhor (SAN), Dr C.E.O Anuku ( Rector Calvary Polytechnic) Owa.
However, in a spate of almost fifty years since the old boys left the corridors of Ika Grammar school to face their individual life sojourns, it is inevitable to record events of bad memories as well as good ones. It is therefore regrettable that some names of fallen heroes, brothers, friends and colleagues were called and a minute silence was observed in their honour.
During the event the Old Boys sang their school anthem memorably, reminisced some funny memories of how they were flogged by their teachers especially Chief Pius Chiazor and how some of their senior colleagues drilled them, including Dr. Anuku of Calvary Polytechnic.
The Old Boys made a toast to the 1973 set and thereafter cut their reunion cake amidst so much to eat and drink.
Present at the reunion were, Mr. Steve Mekiriuwa Ashien. (Publisher Ika Weekly Newspaper), Rev. Canon Cyprian G.U Alika, (Principal), Mrs. Caroline O. Olorunfemi, (Vice Principal of the school), members of some other sets, Old Boys of 1973 set along with their wives and family members.