By Adeola Aderounmu
The images in this essay show what is left of Festac Grammar School on 41 Road Festac Town, Lagos.
The first set of high school graduates from Festac Grammar School emerged in 1984.
I have no concrete information about the general academic performances of the students that recently graduated from FGS. But in those days Festac Grammar School turned out some of the most brilliant minds in Lagos State.
In 1987 and 1988 this school produced the best WAEC results in Lagos State. When I graduated in 1989 our results were also very outstanding, ranked among the best.
As part of the recognition of the high academic standard of FGS, the school was selected among the first set of schools in the (then) Ojo Local Government to have a prototype of the modern (one-storey) building. That was in 1984/85.
Unfortunately for reasons that we don’t know about, that prototype was the only new structure to have been erected in the school since it was established in 1980.
FGS is now under Amuwo-Odofin Local Government. Whilst all the other schools in Ojo and Amuwo got new brand school structures FGS was left with the poultry-like structures.
It remains one of the greatest mysteries of Lagos State Ministry of Education how a school that got the first prototype structure in the old Ojo Local Government was left to rot away totally.
Fast forward to 2011, we now have an Alumni Group thanks to Facebook. The group is new but very vibrant and will be making official complaint about the present state of the school to both the Local Council and the State Government.
This essay is my personal contribution and an addition to the other avenues and efforts that the Alumni group will be working on. I have told the group about my intention to put up a personal essay to tell the story. It is not a unique story because public education is almost a thing of the past in Nigeria. But it must be told anyway.
Just to be sure, I will also continue to post or repost the same message on my blog until the Lagos State Government, the Lagos State Governor and the Local Council step in to save the future of the children attending this school. In essence this for me is now a struggle. I will work actively in the alumni group and sustain this awareness until we accomplish our goals which are to restore FGS and to motivate the students the best way we can.
The Alumni Group will not relent on the momentum it has gathered from its recent general meeting. I am aware there are plans to start with projects and activities that will rescue Festac Grammar School. The task is enormous but we believe that we can achieve some positive changes.
The school has since been divided into two; The Senior Secondary and the Junior Secondary which are under the State Government and Local Council respectively. The Alumni Group will engage both tiers of governments in tackling the hurdles facing both schools. In our days it was one school and we still see it that way.
To make Nigeria great again, we must re-invest in education and bring back the glory days. Education is the right of all and it must be made available and affordable. The environment where learning takes place has a crucial role to play in forming the minds of the students.
Governor Fashola, congratulations on your re-election. There is no time to rest. Please save my alma mater and all other schools in Lagos.
Eko O Ni Baje O..!
I have written this article to bring awareness to the rot of Lagos schools and to sensitize the Lagos State governor on the need to fix my alma mater and all the schools in Lagos.
Let no one be deceived, this story will continue to appear on my blog regularly.
This is now a cause. This is a struggle for all the old students of Festac Grammar School. I will continue to post this story at least once a month until something is done by the state government.
Nothing will separate me from this struggle as long as I have life in me.
Acknowledgements.For all the photos and some of the comments used in this essay:
Many thanks to,
Festac Grammar School Alumni Projects’ Management Group
Festac Grammar School Alumni Projects Mgt Group Steering Committee
Oluremi Abdul-Razak Mosuro (a special one, I like the Aerial View)
Mary Atinuke Abumere
Oluwafisayo Oyeromade Ogunjimi Orilambo for your enthusiasm and support.
All Alumni of Festac Grammar School