Home Interview Special Interview: My Student Fashola, By His ex-Teacher Akinola

Special Interview: My Student Fashola, By His ex-Teacher Akinola

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Nigeria News, Nigerian Online Newspapers, Fashola, APC,
Gov. Fashola with his former school teacher
Mrs. Iyabode Adefunke Akinola was Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola’s teacher at Birch Freeman High School in Surulere, Lagos. She taught the governor Bible Knowledge at the school 38 years ago. Mrs. Akinola joined the school’s teaching staff in 1973 and left on transfer in 1989. She taught Bible Knowledge in junior and senior classes and English Language in junior classes. She retired voluntarily after a 34-year teaching service. Mrs. Akinola recently met Governor Fashola again at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja in an emotional reunion of sort. DEKUNBI KUYE went in search of the legendary teacher after her reunion with the governor. She speaks about her teaching career and her former student, Governor Fashola…
 
School Leaving Certicate Exam…
I took the first school leaving certificate exam in 1964.  In 1964 it was said that  Standard Six and  Standard 5 should write Grade 2 exam together and I also came out successfully. I would have opted out of Grade 2 to go to a Modern School but my father said no, that he wanted me to go to grammar school. I read Standard 6, that I remember.  I took the common entrance and I was called for an interview at Queens College, Onikan, but at that time though I did very well, I was not given admission. My senior brother had been coaching me, but when the results came out my brother wept because he expected me to get admission. At the time, I remember we had to trek all the way from Ebute Ero to Onikan and it was raining by the time we got to the interview session.  We went in our uniform  and we were drenched.  Later on I took the common entrance for AGGN when they were at Iberekodo but I was on the waiting list. My father said I should not be allowed to stay at home , that I must further my studies so I had to go for Modern One. And the following year, I was given admission to secondary grammar 1,  we were then at Iberekodo.  I thank God that my fellow students in the boarding house helped me a lot because we were under strict discipline.  After the school certificate, I wanted to be a nurse, it was my principal who said no I was not good at nursing and that I would be a very good teacher. She encouraged me, she even recommended that the school’s Board of Governors or school authorities should sponsor me to this higher institution at Oyo (St. Andrew’s Teacher Training College). But anyway after my school certificate, I didn’t get an admission, I had to work with the then Lagos City School as a Confidential Clerk in the Personnel Office with late Mr. Adeyemo.  It was in that process, in that year, that I gained admission to the Federal Advance Teachers’ College at Akoka, which the government had just established then. We were sponsored by the Federal Government.  It was after that I started teaching in 1966, my first job was at Ansarudeen Grammar School, Randle Avenue. Later,  I went to my Alma mater, Abeokuta Girls Grammar School. I taught there and later I came back to Lagos where I taught in so many private schools.
 
Transfer to Birch Freeman College, Fashola’s former School…
I taught at Olimo Memorial School at Onike, very close to MFM Headquarters. It was there that they called me for an interview. The governing body interviewed me and told me I was being transferred  to Birch Freeman College, which reluctantly I accepted.  I asked them why they didn’t transfer me to City College, which was very close to my house at Converge, near Casino. I was reluctant to accept it but all of a sudden there I felt like I saw someone in front of me beckoning on me to take the transfer.  I didn’t recognize the person though. I accepted the offer and I told them there that after 3 or so years, they should transfer me back to a school close to my house. I didn’t know that was where I would spend 16 years of my life, from 1973 to1989. From Birch Freeman, I was transferred to be vice principal at Community High School, Surulere, and after a few years there I was then transferred to CMS  Girls Grammar School where I retired voluntarily on my own because I had joint pains and because I usually lacked appetite, ulcer had set in, in my system but to the glory of God I have since been healed totally. I retired voluntarily after 34 years of service.
 
Fashola, I think, was one of the prefects…
The governor, I think, was one of the prefects. He was very, very responsible and reliable, there was nothing you asked him to do for you in the school as a student that he would not do well.  I am happy that he and some of his colleagues passed through my hands through the grace of God. When he was in school he was dedicated, he was not a lazy student, he was very, very responsible and reliable I have to say. He was one of the serious students; you would always know a serious student. You will never see him being rascally; he wasn’t among the rascally ones. You know the ones that will not do their work, that will not do their assignment. He was very obedient. At that time, I remember Mr. T.A. Ojo, he is late now, was our principal and some of my colleagues then included late Mrs. Logede, Babarende, Olayeye, the first vice principal Mr. Obasa, Mrs. Ula Ajayi, Omolara Ula Ajayi, Mafolabomi, Akinsoya, Adewoye, and some others.
 
He was like normal student, during his school work on time…
I was teaching Bible Knowledge. Fashola was doing very well, like a normal student doing his work as it should be done, doing his assignment on time, passing it in at the correct time. I think he was a special student. You as a teacher should be able to observe some of the students that you teaching, be able to see certain things through their character, their behaviour, and you can see some traces of goodness in them, in what they do.  I used to tell them that a few years from then some of them would be big personalities, head of state, but before they can get there they need to face their work squarely, they need to be serious with their work. I had a slogan then: face your work squarely.
 
Few others I taught in school… one of them Mrs. Alaba Lawson…
There are a few other prominent persons I taught then. I don’t remember all of them now. They said the governor of Ekiti, I don’t know, they said he was an ex-student of Birch Freeman School that I taught him.  I have also seen some pastors, some bank managers you understand and anywhere I went, you see some of them greeting me, saying “Mama, you don’t even remember, you taught me wen I was in Form 1, you taught me English, you taught me that.” How many will I remember now? The Iyaloja of Egbaland, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson, was my student at Abeokuta Grammar School. Alaba was a very good student. Because I was living in the school, in the Teachers’ Quarters, she would come and visit me after class, Alaba nee Jeboku. She was not in the boarding, she was a day student.

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