Chief Emiola Adesina, a senior Ibadan man and proprietor of Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School is dead.
The renowned educationist was said to have died yesterday at the age of 90.
The ex-old boy of the popular Government College, Ibadan, GCI, was one of the Ibadan senior chiefs.
His death came 9 days after another pro-Ibadan man and ex-GCI old boy, Dr. Lekan Are, died at 86.
Born in Ibadan on 16th of December, 1929, he was first educated at Saint Peters Primary School, Aremo before proceeding to GCI. He later studied history at the then University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan).
He had said that his love for children made him established Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Ibadan. He was a classroom teacher at the school till December 2016.
The GCI Museum Project Team had an interview with one of the very ancient Old Boys of GCI, in person of Adesina Samuel Emiola (485, Swanston, 1945), Senior Chief and Maye Olubadan of Ibadan; and proprietor of the foremost School, Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Agodi GRA, Ibadan. In the interview, he revealed that his life at Government College Ibadan was a homestay, the associational life at GCI was incomparable, and that one of his Schools – Emifunmi College was modelled after the ancient GCI.
Can we meet you sir?
I am Chief Emiola Adesina, a member of Swanston House and 1945 Set.
When and where were you born?
I was born on the 16th of December, 1929 at Omoni Village, Off Oyo Road, Ibadan.
What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory was when I knew my mother due to an incident.
Which incident sir?
I fell into a pit – a Palm Oil Producing Pit; I couldn’t get out of it. The Palm Oil makers demanded that except a certain amount of money was paid, I wouldn’t be allowed to be rescued. My mum obliged and that was how I got to know her. Sooner, she died and I was about 3 years old then. That picture of hers I captured was my earliest memory.
Who was the most influential person to you as a child?
They were my teachers, Mr J.A. Adeniyi – my teacher in Standard Two in 1939 and Mr Sokoya – my teacher in Standard Four in 1942.
Where did you have your Primary Education?
I attended many primary schools but the one I attended before I gained admission to GCI was St. Peters Primary School, Aremo between 1939 and 1942.
Was there anything you were most afraid of as a child?
Yes, it was masquerade.
When did you gain admission to GCI?
1945. My secondary education at GCI was between 18th January 1945 and 18th May 1950.
How did you gain admission to GCI?
More than 4,000 pupils applied from all over the country and entrance examination was conducted, so those who passed exceedingly were offered admission.
Was there any interview during the period of admission?
Yes, we were at GCI for about 4 to 5 days for the interview. Some of us knew some students then, so the interview was more or less like a homestay for us.
How was your first day at GCI like?
I would have been unhappy if I had not known people around. I was homestay. For example, I knew late Dr Akinyele, late Dr Muibi Bolaji, and Durosaro from Church and Quarters, after which I joined them in Swanston House. I had also known E.O. Oladeji before I was admitted to GCI. I didn’t feel as if I was away from home at all.
What were your favourite subjects?
I loved Mathematics because I wanted to be an Engineer.
But you are not an Engineer, what happened sir?
After our School Certificate examination, I returned home for holiday and something happened thereafter. I was down with fever for a long period, during this period, my Principal then, Captain H.H. Jeffers obtained the Entrance Examination Form of University College, Ibadan for me.
He wanted me to read History, perhaps because he was a graduate of History from University of Oxford, and filled Art Subjects for me. So I ended up studying History, English and Religious Studies at University College, Ibadan, and now University of Ibadan.
Was there a teacher that you remember having been particularly influential?
It was Chief G. Akinola Deko, who at that time was Assistant Housemaster to Mr V.B.V. Powell, in Grier House. Though I later learnt that he wanted me to be in Grier House, and even quarreled with the then Swanston Housemaster, Mr B.A. Okafor, all for me to be a Grierson.
Do you still have any reminiscence on your ex-Classmates?
Yes. Firstly is Major General Olutoye (now an Oba), he was in Grier House. He took me as his Boy since my first day in GCI. One special thing about him is that he does not speak Yoruba Language despite bearing Yoruba names. I later learnt that he was born in Benin, and his father worked in Benin. The second person was Adebekun aka “Olus lodo”.
Did you partake in sports while in GCI?
Oh yes! I played Football. I was a Right Back. I also partook in Athletics, such as 100, 120 and 440 yards. I was later made the Captain of Athletics.
Who were the Head of School, and Heads of Swanston House while you were at GCI?
J.B. Akingba was the Head of School, and also the Head of Swanston in 1945. In 1946, a Cameroonian, Imasunen succeeded J.B. Akingba as the Head of Swanston.
Akande CSO, Adesanya, Sama Ekpo Sama, Oladeji E.O. and Otomewo were the Heads of School between 1946 and 1950 respectively.
What did you like most about being in GCI?
I liked the Associational life at GCI. We lived together as brothers. I could remember that whenever we had our first holidays in April, we wouldn’t go home and would always stay back in GCI to play. We used to be called April Rainers.
What did you like least about GCI?
It was the clannishness among some teachers. For example, a teacher, named A.O. Okorodudu just didn’t like my face for no reason, to the extent that he didn’t want me to become the Captain of Athletics. Another instance was the day he slapped me in the presence of both GCI & non GCI Students, everyone queried his action, and begged me not to report the case to the Principal. We later met at UI some years after and he apologized, that I should forget the past.
What was your most unforgettable experience at GCI?
It was the last day of our School Certificate Examinations when late Dr S.A. George (later became Ogunlusi) was swimming and wanted to be the best diver, we the spectators were hailing him, suddenly, our Principal then, Mr V.B.V. Powell jumped into the Pool to rescue him, he was already drowning, yet we were still clapping for him. George was a kind, impartial, non – arrogant, friendly and gentle Teur.
What were the common pranks played then?
Calling Teachers by their nicks e.g. ‘The Master’ for S.O. Temietan; Also, we made Cricket signs anytime a Teacher committed a blunder, if the mistake was light, we signaled ‘2’ with our fingers, and if it was very bad, we signaled ‘9’.
Did you participate in any Campus activities while at UCI?
Yes, I took part in picnics, SCM tours etc.
If you were to study again, would you still study History/English/Religious Studies?
Yes. I would not have been comfortable as I am now if I had not studied them then. I discovered that I love Children, I like to see them grow. Perhaps, that was the motivation behind the establishment of Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School, which is now adjudged to be one of the very best Primary School in Oyo State. I still taught as a Classroom Teacher till December 2016, though finally succumbed to the wish of my children who insisted that I should stop teaching, but I still have my way on the Assembly ground.
When and where did you start your career?
I started my professional career as a Teacher in June 1955 at Egbado College in Ogun State, thereafter I became the founding Principal of Ayedaade Grammar School between January 1957 and December 1964, and I returned to Ibadan where I was appointed as the Director of Sports at Liberty Stadium (now Obafemi Awolowo Stadium) of the old Western State between January 1965 and April 1977. Later, I went into farming as a Poultry Farmer, after which I established Subuola Memorial Nursery and Primary School in 1972. Later, I founded Emifunmi College, and the norms, values and tradition practiced in the College today were extracted from GCI of my time, and they formed the fulcrum upon which the core values of the Secondary School rested upon. In short, it was modelled after the ancient GCI.
What has been your motivation behind your success?
My motivation has been from my parents. I was trained from childhood to eschew all forms of corruption; till date, before God and man, I have never offered or taken a bribe. That was the note on which the motto of all my Schools – “Work hard, Pray hard and Keep Straight” was built.
Did any of your children attend GCI?
My only son, Afolabi Adesina (Swanston, 1973) attended GCI.
What do you consider to be the most significant political event that you ever witnessed?
That would be our Independence in 1960, also the popular education policy of late Chief Awolowo.
Which political figure do you admire most?
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, followed by late Chief Adegoke Adelabu – who was also an Old Boy. If late Adegoke Adelabu was still alive, he would have done tremendously well.
Where would you like to see change in the current political and social atmosphere?
I want to see a change in my fellow citizens, they should live up to their words and do what they preach.
What is your happiest memory?
When Nigeria won the Intercontinental Cup in 1976 by ICC (now 3SC). My happiest memory was not just that, but also the good news of the Children I taught who later became successful in their chosen profession is part of my happiest memories. Example is Chief Bayo Sarumi, former Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA whom I taught at Ayedaade Grammar School, five years after he left NPA, he organized an epoch making reception for me. He is also an Old Boy of GCI because he had his Higher School Certificate, HSC at GCI.
When last did you visit GCI?
May 2017 during Prof. Jide Bademosi Cricket Cup.
Is there any memento you would like to share or bequeath to GCI Museum?
I would have loved to donate all my trophies and awards won at GCI, but the 1980 Ogunpa Flood had flushed off everything I possessed then.
How would you compare GCI of today with that of your time?
Nothing to compare. Or is it the total school population of less than 200 of our time to over 3000 of today? Quite incomparable.