An English adage goes, ‘twenty children cannot play together for twenty years.’ Today, with advancement in technology, it is obvious these children can play after 23 years.
This is the case of the class of 88/93 of Titcombe College, Egbe, Kogi State who recently reunited to commence a project on giving back to their alma mata.
Established in 1951 by missionaries of the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), which later became the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) and now Evangelical Church Winning All, the institution named after a leading cleric of the mission, Rev. Tommy Titcombe has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria.
However, the college after 65 years has produced captains of industries, entrepreneurs, civil servants of repute among other professionals occupying enviable positions in virtually all walks of life.
Titcombe College like other mission schools now controlled by the government is now faced with infrastructural decay as erstwhile valued facilities have continued to wane.
Recently, the 88/93 set reunited, using the social media to form a strong team to look back into what now remains of their once enviable citadel of learning after 23 long years.
Administered by Gbenga Olorunmola, the whatsaap group has gathered over 80 members of the class who today are professionals in various fields of human endeavor. These individuals have however gone ahead to create zonal groups for easy reunion ahead of giving back to the college that had raised them.
Speaking to National Wire on the project, Gbenga Olorunmola said, “We have to give back to Titcombe College. I was there recently and found that some facilities in the school are dilapidated already and we can organise ourselves to do something small to give a facelift in our little capacity.”
Kano-based Olorunmola who recently visited the college to inspect the state of the facilities stated further that “I was at Titcombe College and met with the Principal. We went round the classrooms and he narrated the efforts the school has taken to give a facelift. Obviously the quadrangle housing several blocks of classrooms was in a deplorable state and the Principal lamented that goats often defecate in the classrooms overnight since the doors are no more.”
Olorunmola who has since visited Lagos, Ilorin and Abuja zones, with the support of the school made a rough estimate of cost of renovating some of the classrooms which cost was pushed to his 88/93 classmates.
Meanwhile, three zones have met to strategise on the project. Recently, the Lagos Zone, Port Harcourt and Abuja zones met at their various locations and determined to give back to the institution.
The Lagos Zonal meeting held at the KFC outlet, Ogba, Ikeja commenced with opening prayer by Grace Alapara while Tayo Olayiwola and Emily Medaiyese circulated and read out the agenda of the meeting.
“We should not be discouraged by the estimate of the renovation but we should come together to achieve this as a team,” Olayiwola said.
In his own remark, Olukoya Afolabi advised the project be taken in phases to avoid it being burdensome. Olukoya also stressed the need to encourage other members of the group as their contributions would go a long way.
The house also wants an investigation into various reasons responsible for the deplorable state of the school and possible solutions were suggested.
Toyin Komolafe however observed that most parents no longer enroll their children and wards in public schools due to the deplorable state of facilities. She also mentioned a possible solution in getting the college handed back to its original mission owners. “Anyone with the contact within the government circle should help push for the handing over of the school to its original owners for proper management, quality education and funding.”
The house unanimously adopted the renovation of the quadrangle as it was confirmed the school still has about 526 students in need of good facilities conducive for learning.
Grace Alapara and Emily Medaiyese however suggested engagement of professionals with technical abilities within the set to engage in monitoring the renovation exercise in order to avoid waste.
Meanwhile the Lagos zone swung into action by appointing its executives. Hence, Gbenga Alonge was appointed the PRO to be assisted by Funke Alabi. Bosede Ajayi was appointed Secretary to be assisted by Grace Alapara. Tayo Olayiwola was appointed the Financial Secretary to be assisted by Emily Medaiyese who is also the Zonal Coordinator.
Elsewhere in Port Harcourt, Rivers State same day, the Port Harcourt zone held its inaugural meeting.
Comprising of six members, Kehinde Ojuekaiye said the opening prayer as the meeting commenced at the GRA Phase II. The team however identified renovation of the entire quadrangle as a set target which was suggested to be taken in three phases.
The phases include repairs of doors and windows, repairs of roofs and ceilings and painting of the entire structure.
A levy of N25,000 was proposed for the entire 75 members of the group as at the time of the meeting which would be enough for the phase one and two of the project. The zone also suggested the opening of a bank account to be domiciled in Abuja with signatories drawn from Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt zones. Ayo Fayomi was suggested to stand as signatory from Port Harcourt zone.
The zone however did not favour the suggestion of a financial reward for leadership and selfless service which it postponed for a later date. It also suggested that such donation of appreciation be done individually to teachers for their selfless services.
A motion for adjournment was moved by Kehinde Oshe and seconded by Olaiya Emmanuel while a closing prayer was said by Dupe Akeh nee Ihinmodu.
The Abuja zone also met on Sunday 4th September and communique of the meeting is still awaited as at press time. Also, Ilorin zone has slated 11th September for its meeting.
*Story by Dayo Emmanuel.