January 13, 2019 marks the 100 years of the existence of Ondo Boys’ High School (OBHS), having been founded by late Rev’d Canon Moses Craig Adeyemi in 1919 with 15 students.
It’s an iconic school, being the first secondary school in the defunct Benin and Ondo Provinces; the first community sponsored secondary school in Nigeria, the fourth in the Yoruba speaking part of Nigeria, and among the first fifty on the continent of Africa.
The school, which was first named CMS Grammar School, is the pride of the Ekimoguns everywhere in the world, as it marked the dawn of secondary education in Ondo town and the gateway to the achievements of great feats by the numerous students who have passed through its walls over the years.
The centenary celebration this year is to bring the old students of the school together for a time of reminiscence, to highlight the great progress the school has made over the years and seek for ways to further enhance its development.
OBHS was the initiative of Rev’d Adeyemi, who witnessed how the people of the ancient town trekked untold miles to access secondary education, travelling several days on foot to the grammar schools existing at that time in Abeokuta, Ibadan and Ijebu-Ode.
The school takes a front roll in what the Ondos near and far have become, turning the town into an enclave of elites, because the light of education and mental enlightenment dawned on the people early, and was embraced by them, thanks to the founding of the Ondo Boys’ High School, a centenary ago.
Rev’d Adeyemi served as the first Principal of the school and retired in December 1940. Tutors who joined him to nurture the young school at the onset, with the fervent support of the community, were: late (Bishop) D.O. Awosika and late S. R. Fadase.
The founder will be remembered at this centenary celebration not only for being the light bearer of education in Ondo City, but also in what was then known as the Ondo and Benin Provinces and parts of the Niger Delta. To this end, the government of the old Western Region accorded him the honour of posthumously naming Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, after him.
The President General of Ondo Boys’ High School Alumni Association, Elder Oluyemisi Lofinmakin, while speaking with The Hope, expatiated on the different facets of the centenary celebrations.
“We are going to start the celebration with God and end it up with God. Friday January 18, is the Jumat service at Central Mosque, Ondo. On Saturday, there would be the anniversary lecture and the launch of Centenary Anniversary Brochure/Old Students’ Directory.
“Sunday is a free day and on Monday, we would have what we call the peace walk which would start from Saint Stephen’s Oke-Aluko, where the school began and would move to Idi-Malo and later to Oke-Odunwo. We would walk further to Iya-Oba and then to the palace of the Osemawe and end at the school premises,” he said.
He explained that the presentation of a book on OBHS history jointly written by three old students, Prof Ropo Sekoni, Prof. Adesanoye and Dr Fasehun would be part of the celebration.
Lofinmakin said that the book will be launched in Lagos on Wednesday, January 16, and the presentation of the book in Ondo will be done on Tuesday, January 22, at the school hall.
He added that there would be exhibition/quiz and debate to showcase the ability of the students. There would also be presentation of awards.
“On Thursday, January 24, there would be a drama presentation and a novelty football match between the old students and current students. On Friday, which is the 8th day of the event, there is going to be entertainment for the students. There would also be a gala nite.
“We are going to end the Centenary Anniversary with a church service at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Idimoge, Ondo. We are expecting royal fathers, politicians, teachers, students and other dignitaries,” he hinted.
The current principal of the school, who is also the 27th, Mr Temidayo Adeyemi in his remarks noted that during his tenure there has been massive rehabilitation of the school by the old students.
“We met with the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and he promised to tar the school, being what we requested from him. He said that as soon as fund is available, he is going to tar the roads in the school”, he added.
The Chairman, Brochure Committee for the anniversary, Barr. Remigius Akinbinu while commending the old students for their contributions over the years, charged them to continue with the trend.
He said their contributions would motivate the young students to work hard, be successful and also give back to the school.
The Public Relations Officer of the Alumni Association, Alhaji Bisi Agboola in his comment declared OBHS as being among the best in academics and good conduct.