The founding of Igbobi College in 1932 was a follow-up to the 1926 Education Code, which was itself an attempt to revise and improve upon Lugard?s Education Code of 1916. In the relative economic boom of the late 1929s, the government followed up the Education Code with the establishment of a number of colleges around Nigeria. In 1928, the?CMS?and the Wesleyan Methodist?Mission cooperated in founding one Teacher Training College for women in?Ibadan?called the United Missionary College. Its success led to the agreement to cooperate on another ventures, a secondary school for Boys in Lagos that would take account of the criticisms of existing secondary schools. The aim was stated simply as ?to give a well-balanced secondary education to boys in an environment adequate for the purpose?. There was a growing demand in Lagos for improved secondary education as preparation for higher education and professional training. The objective of the CMS and Methodist planners was to show that improved education could best be establish under?ecumenical?Christian influence provided ?an environment adequate for the purpose? could be located. This meant emphasizing residence for both pupils and teachers, and land spacious enough to cater for this, as well as providing fields for sport, craft, farm, etc. It was a novel concept for secondary education in Lagos. Hence the search for a 32-acre (130,000 m2) plot that used to be part of the?kola?plantations of the family of?Madam Tinubu. It was from this that it derived its name, ?Igbobi? College. One could sense the excitement of the founding fathers. They asked staff and student from the?CMS Grammar School?and Methodist Boys High School to volunteer and they carefully selected students for each class from Forms 2 to 6, and admitted a new set of students for Form 1. Thus the new school started with six classes in place. There were 55 boarders and 95 day students in all, averaging 25 in class, such that everyone, staff and student, knew every one else. The selection was based on academic merit, discipline and good behaviour. There were no discrimination on grounds of religion and it is noteworthy that some of the students came from prominent Lagos?Muslim?families, like Abinas, Elias and Fashola. To ensure recruitment from different parts of the country, entrance examination centres outside Lagos were introduced. The boarders were put in Aggrey House (blue), and the day students in Freeman House (green) and Oluwole House (gold). Soon the position was reversed. The boarders became the majority and formed the core of each the three houses, with the day students added on. The founders carefully selected a team a team of high powered teachers. Revd. W. Waterton of the CMS Grammar School was made principal. Rev J. Allen Angus, principal of the MBHS was appointed as vice-principal, but had to take over as the principal three weeks later when Miss Waterston?s health necessitated a quick departure to Britain. Allen Angus remained principal for 12 years. He later became Education Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria and then the chairman of the Western District of the Methodist Church. N.C. Porter was his vice-Principal. Consider the caliber of the African staff: Rev. N. O. A. Lahanmi,who was the most influential Principal of the Ilesha Grammar School; Mr. I. O. Fadipe who became senior tutor and remained in the college for 12 years before he went to study?law?and later became president of the Grade A Customary Courts of Western Nigeria?; Mr. A. Okubadejo, who also remained till 1944 before going to study law and later set up a lucrative law firm; Mr. A. B. Oyediran, later Principal of MBHS and later before becoming an Ambassador; Mr. F. O. Ihenacho, who later became a famous legal practitioner; Mr. E. Bassey, art master and well-known lawn tennis player; Mr. O. Briggs, who later studied?medicine, became known as Dr. Ona Oruwariye, an?erudite?scholar, founder of Oke Ado Hospital and famous police surgeon. Consider not only the caliber but also the commitment of this initial staff, as evidenced by the length of stay and stability and continuity in the life of the school and we begin to have an idea of the ingredients that made Igbobi College what it was. This tradition was maintained as evidenced by such giants who joined the staff in the School?s first decade: N. A. Birthwistle; N. P. Morris, an exciting history teacher who later became the Principal of Government College, Keffi; and Leslie Murby among the expatriates; and among the Nigerians Revd. (later Bishop) S. O. Odutola; Mr. S. Ogunlesi, the self-taught history graduate, and meticulous teacher of Latin and Mathematics, who later pioneered?Adult Education?in Western Nigeria; and Mr. Talabi Esubiyi (aka Pa Esubiyi), the famous Science Teacher and longest serving Vice-Principal who has become part of the?legend?of the school.
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September 26, 2011 7:35 pm