- THE OFFICIAL COLLECTION
2. FROM PRIVATE LENSES
2. FROM PRIVATE LENSES
30 Years Reunion of Festac Grammar School Old Students, Klass ´89 (Photo News)
By Adeola Aderounmu
(This article may be updated)
It was a good day for friendship. The type of friendship that feels more like a family bond. My former schoolmates at Festac Grammar School that l fondly named Klass ‘89 gathered 30 years after at Radisson Hotel in Lagos to celebrate a wonderful reunion.
I was missing in action physically. But l got a lot of the actions through our Whatsapp group. Even my cousin Toyin Okikiolu gave me a live call. l have missed her and all our former school mates. I reminded her that she is my little sister but she will always argue, my dearest aburo.
Here you will see some of the images from the reunion.
I am sure it was a moment for sharing a lot of happy things from the past and the present. If I was there, l would cry tears of joy.
On the live video, l could hear them calling at me, “Gadhaffi”, “Gadhaffi”.
I salute all my mates worldwide for what we have accomplished. I am so moved by those who flew from overseas primarily for this purpose and to spend a little time with friends and family afterwards. What a wonderful way to spend the end of 2019.
I salute the organizing committee for this great reunion. What a landslide! I congratulate all the active and non-active members on this accomplishment. Every little comment and every little effort to this reunion played its part.
There are areas of improvement and l am sure we have learnt great lessons on the way and on the great day itself. “Learning by doing” is a mantra that works for any facet of life and a reunion is no exception.
This article is a celebration of accomplishments, for individuals and for the group. 30 years after school, we have come a long way.
Cheers to another 30.
by ADEOLA ADEROUNMU
The Lagos State Government has finally sent one of its building contractors Access-1 Energy and Trading Company to start re-construction work at Festac Grammar School.
For those who have not been following the story. Here are links to the story so far:
In April when this struggle started I had written that one of the greatest mysteries of Lagos State Ministry of Education is how a school that got the first prototype one storey-structure in the old Ojo Local Government was left to rot away totally as a predominantly poultry school. It seems that the government of Governor Fashola, in a reaction to the series of stories about the embarrassing situations at FGS, is set to repair, renovate and re-construct FGS.
I also made a promise that was hard to keep. But I did my best. The ultimate goal was to write about Festac Grammar School once a month because as I stated then: the problems with Festac Grammar School became for me a personal struggle. It is still a cause.
Now that hope has come, I feel obliged to write this story about the presence of Governor Fashola in Festac Grammar School through Acces-1 Energy Trading Company.
I have not received the details of the contract; therefore I am not in a position to describe the extent of the work that will be done.
However I do know the old storey building that was built in 1985 has now been given some re-touching in terms of structural maintenance.
One of the dilapidated poultry block of classrooms has been pulled down completely to pave way for a new storey building of 12 classrooms.
These developments are in the positive directions. They are in line with one of the long-term objectives of the Alumni Association to ensure that the school poultry structures built by Lateef Jakande are overhauled and replaced by modern storey buildings.
This objective should never be different from the functions of the Lagos State Ministry of Education. How schools are allowed to rotten remain inexplicable and if we tie it to the systemic corruption in the Nigeria system then it is an indication of what I feared most: that the future of the unborn generations remain stolen.
Whichever way, it gladdens the heart and it brings a sense of fulfillment to witness the re-construction work at FGS. Without any doubt I am convinced that it was a rapid response to our calls that have been made on the NVS and some of our blogs.
The Lagos State Government has shown that we do not need to know anyone in the corridors at Alausa in Ikeja before our agitations can be attended to. What the LASG must also ensure is that it carries out its functions without allowing us to carry the burdens to the web space all the time.
Our agitations and concerns are genuine and noble. It is clear that we want education to be promoted. A sane environment is necessary to produce sane minds. A sane environment is necessary to nurture the future generations.
On our part as members of the Alumni Group we have made progresses. We have donated some equipment to the school and we have helped them to settle electricity bills. We have more plans.
In terms of our organization we are now duly registered and our activities are governed by a written constitution. We are in the process of electing our executive members to take over from the caretaker committee and more than ever before the future of the Alumni Group look secured.
This year, less than 5 months after we re-converged as Alumni Group from our different niches we have organized career day/ workshop at Festac Grammar School and we have awarded prizes to outstanding students.
We have made ourselves more visible in Festac Town and we have provided ourselves with the platform that will motivate the students attending Festac Grammar School. They are now in contact with us. We have a wonderful opportunity to be their role models and mentors.
For us this year is a success story in the history of our Alumni Group.
It is not yet Eureka! It must be pointed out that governments in Nigeria are fond of abandoning projects and looting the funds earmarked for such projects, even after the shameful 10% kickbacks. We hope that the re-construction work at Festac Grammar School will be neither a half-baked project nor an abandoned one.
Our hope is that this rejuvenation that will inspire and motivate the students and staffs of FGS.
The Alumni Group, as promised in a previous essay, will work closely with the leadership of the school to emphasize the importance of maintenance culture. On the long run too, we will have to find the appropriate communication channel to ease information flow between the Lagos State Ministry of Education and our Alumni Group. That will help us to know first-hand about the plans that are made for schools in Lagos and how often the structures will be checked for comfort and safety.
The academic aspect can also not be over emphasized. Quality control measures should be re-introduced while all hands must be on deck to rescue the “dying culture” of attending public schools.
No matter what happens, FGS will remain in our hearts and we will never relent until the image of the school both in terms of structure and academic excellence are revitalized fully. We are committed.
Acknowledgement : All photos were courtesy of
Oluwafisayo Oyeromade Ogunjimi Orilambo
I believe that the problems facing education, in terms of both infrastructure and the quality of it, should never be relegated in the ongoing rejuvenation of Lagos State. The resuscitation of Lagos state public schools should now be on top of the scale of preference of both Governor Fashola and the Commissioner for Education
In the first report I made about Festac Grammar School I had stated that I will continue to write about Festac Grammar School (FGS) until something is done to salvage the school. It is my alma mater and I take this cause very seriously. In a way it will serve as a point of reference for the general decay and expose the degree of negligence that schools have suffered under successive irresponsible governments in Lagos State.
The legacy of free and quality education in Western Nigeria under Late Awolowo and former governor Jakande suffered violent extinction with the advent of military rule. It is unimaginable that public education in Lagos State especially at the primary and secondary levels will remain redundant more than 10 years into civilian rule. This is more than a shame. It is a scandal.
The Festac Grammar School Alumni Projects’ Management Group-FGSAPMG was formed in 2011 and the team is now fully integrated into the main stream Alumni group. Our goals are clear. We have set out not only complain about the near-death state of our alma mater but also to seek ways to solve the problems.
Writing from a personal note I think that corruption is the root cause of the negligence. I won’t be totally wrong to state that the person or group that were supposed to implement the reconstruction of Festac Grammar School from the Jakande temporary structures to permanent school structures in the mid-80s stole the money earmarked for the project. Governor Fashola can start by looking at the records, fishing out the culprits and marching them to the prosecutors.
In addition if funds have been provided directly to the leadership of the school then we will like to know when and how much was provided. As we seek accountability from the state government, we also need her help in providing details of financial assistance to the school. If any individual among the school leadership is guilty of embezzlement, let him or her be brought to justice.
Some members of FGSAPMG recently visited the school. Babatunde Adebisi, Dare Olaosebikan, Raphael Omorogbe, Omozele Unuakhalu and Obichie Joseph Ndubuisi met with the school principal Mrs. Olowu and the VP Academics Mrs. Efetie.
Some of their findings are:
• No Library in the School
• No Electricity in the Junior School
• Electricity in the senior School has been disconnected by PHCN
• No functional Toilet for Teachers and students
• Scrappy furniture in the staff room
• Crowded classes in the Junior School (between 70-75 pupil in a class)
• Dilapidated Buildings and damaged class room floors
The alumni representatives noted with dismay the near complete absence of government assistance to the school or misappropriation of funds earmarked for it. One of the projects that the government has executed was the so-called ECO project for a Computer room with about 30 computers. The government also provided a generator set. A prototype toilet was never completed.
It is sad how Lagos State officials have become chronic liars. Representatives of the Ministry of Education in Lagos State have visited FGS on several occasions. They have been doing so even before I graduated in 1989. They could not even keep to their promises of renovating the only storey building in the school.
The task is not just to renovate the storey building. The present conditions of a school like Festac Grammar School is a disgrace to Festac Town, a disgrace to Amuwo Odofin Local Government, a disgrace to Lagos State Ministry of Education and despite all he has done a disgrace to Governor Fashola.
Nigerians should start making authentic demands from their rulers or leaders. I have stated that this is my contribution to the ongoing process whereby the alumni association is trying all possible means to sensitize the Lagos State government on the need to rebuild Festac Grammar School. Some of the most brilliant minds in Lagos and Nigeria have emerged from this school. For the sake of the children in Festac Town and its environs, an outstanding citadel like FGS must be kept running, functional and up to acceptable standards.
Government should be responsive to its obligation without being pushed or tipped. We (as representatives of FGS) don’t need to know someone in the inner chamber of the Lagos State government before we can get this job done. The notion of using people in government to fast track the execution of government work/project is an anomaly. It does work but it shouldn’t be our prime focus.
It has been stated that the Lagos State Government will not approve the renovation of its property in the school by the Alumni Group. Therefore the focus of the Alumni Group is tilted towards the execution of projects or rendering of assistances within our capabilities and the frame of the law.
In the coming days all these issues will be fine-tuned. We will continue with our deliberations and come up with a dynamic blue-print on the way forward.
Obviously it is asking too much of us if we think that we can rebuild two Lagos State public schools simultaneously. I support the opinion that the government must live up to its responsibilities and obligations.
Education is the right of every child and it must once again become a priority. The infrastructure and the equipment needed to facilitate this right must also be provided by the state.
In spite of the harsh learning conditions and the negligence of the education authority the Academic standard in FGS remains remarkable. It is still a tradition that the teaching and administrative staffs remain committed to programs that have sustained the academic excellence of the school.
In a recent baseline assessment conducted by the Ministry of education, FGS (the only poultry school in Amuwo Odofin Local Government) came 1st in Amuwo Odofin Local Government, 4th in the district and 19th in Lagos state. We used to be among the first in Lagos State.
In the meantime, for the sake of the school, The Project Management Group will definitely look into some of immediate needs of the schools which include:
Provision of furniture for teachers’ staff room
Re-establishment of the school library
Career counseling and general reward system for students
Outstanding PHCN bill of =N=40,000.00
Provision of office equipment like Photocopier, Computers and Printers
Dr. Steve Onyewuchi Eke, an alumnus of FGS called in to the last meeting from his base in Atlanta and promised to pay the PHCN bill.
We continue to look forward to the visible presence and concrete action of the state government in our alma mater. We will not relent in all the possible ways we have set upon ourselves to achieve these noble objectives.
When the deed is done, the FGS-APMG will be quick to help out the school on the lessons of maintenance culture. We will stand by our school from now on.
Acknowledgement: This version of my monthly essay on FGS contains some of the information submitted by Ralph Omorogbe on behalf of the members of the School Visitation Committee. Their names are already in the essay.
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.
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.
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