Between 1975 and 1980, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Ekiti State, Dr. Eniola Ajayi, was a student of Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti. She relives her experiences while in the school to TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE.
Reminiscing 32 years after she had left Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State Commissioner for Education Dr. Eniola Ajayi said, being a student of the school was a pride not only to the students, but to parents. “Christ’s School was the best in the entire Ekiti land and among the best in the South Western region that every child dreamt to attend,” Dr. Ajayi declared, adding that, the school was also like a family school to her.
“My dad attended and taught in the school and so also all my siblings are alumni,” she stressed. “Students from other parts of the country and beyond, as well as from both the rich and the poor background attended the school. So, nobody felt like going to another school.”
Christ’s School, arguably, is said to have produced up to 10 per cent of all professors in the country. Sanmi Esho, who is a professor of Surgery at the Lagos State University Medical School; Prof. Femi Elegbeleye, a professor of medicine; Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, former Nigerian Ambassador to Germany and now Dean, College of Humanities at the Redeemers’ University, Mowe, Ogun State and Prof. Oke Are, to mention a few. The Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Dr. Jubril Oyeleyin, a surgeon; Dr. Moses Ajaja, a mathematician, Bode Fadase, the Fadayomi brothers and Dr. Segun Rotimi, who is now a traditional ruler in Kwara State, are also alumni.
However, Dr. Ajayi noted that the school was not only for academic excellence. It is also for character formation.
“We were taught how to respect elders, we valued customs and norms of the society. We respected our teachers and family names. So, we didn’t allow anything that could tarnish the reputation of the family and that of the school. We were specially moulded towards a particular direction that could pave way for our success in future,” she said, adding: “As a secondary school student then, you had clear picture of what you want to become in future.”
Mrs. Ajayi said discipline, hard work and sincerity were the hallmarks every student had strived to achieve then. “That of the Christ’s School was even with a difference. The school was very strict on these,” she pointed out. “For instance, you dare not cheat in any examination because if you did and you were caught, you would be expelled from the school.”
The commissioner’s classmates, according to her, are today doing very well in their various endeavours. Among them are: Mr. Sola Oyelade, an architect; Mr. Yinka Omopariola, who is based in the United States; Mr. Muyiwa Awe, now a lecturer at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos; Mr. Victor Ekundayo, who is with the Inland Revenue Service in Abuja; Messrs Yinka and Kunle Adesokan and a host of others.
She is still in touch with some of them apparently because she is the president of the set.
On a typical day, at the school, she recalled: “We wake up by 6.00 a.m. daily for payers and then prepared for other activities. Apart from classroom activities, every student was expected to tend their flower beds on Saturdays for teachers’ inspection, fetched water and served punishment when culpable of an offence.
“Though, we didn’t like doing those things, today we are happier to have passed through such tutelage,” she said gracefully.
Little Eniola was into sport. Her best areas were long distance running and basket ball.
“I was even in the school basket ball team that won trophies at the state level,” she added.
She was known to be a ‘tomboy.’ “My father taught us agricultural science and he was very strict. We didn’t limit our lesson to the classroom, we had a piggery, poultry, fish pond farms and we also reared geese”.
On the impact of the school on her, she said it was unquantifiable. “After God, I credit my success today to my alma mater. The school actually defines the totality of the adult I am now. It is a school that builds confidence and courage in students. It also teaches students moral values, the need to respect dissent opinions and to obey the law of the land. “
Because of the impact, she disclosed that her set under the aegis of alumni association has given back to the school. They built hostels, toilets, sunk boreholes and renovated classrooms, among others as a way of addressing the infrastructural decay in the school.
The school, according to her, is like her second home. She goes there often. The last time she was there was on May 27 this year during the Children’s Day celebration.
Her best teacher was Mrs. Moni Adamolekun, who taught English language. She is today with the Ekiti State Library Board. “She was my favourite because she taught very well and counselled us a lot. The woman studied in the United Kingdom and apparently because of that, she taught English language in a simple way for us to understand,” she said. “That we could write good prose and speak good grammar even as at that time can be attributed to her. The exams’ records are still there for verification. That does not mean other teachers didn’t teach well, but the woman was exceptional.”
They met at a function recently. “I was happy to see her and she also expressed delight to see me,” she said. “Although very tough, she was a disciplinarian and kind-hearted.”
Eniola was one of the brilliant students in her class. She loved all subjects, but her most favourite was technical drawing. “I developed special interest for the subject because of the simple manner it was handled by the subject teacher,” she said.
Her most memorable moment was whenever she was at the school’s quadrangle watching stage shows such as ‘The Gods are not to Blame’ by Ola Rotimi and‘Efun Setan Aniwura.’
“That was the time we had fun most and we always looked forward to such,” she said.
Ajayi, a seasoned optometrist, earned a Masters of Philosophy in Ocular Pathology from the University of London and she did her postgraduate research and training at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital and St. Thomas’ Hospital both in London. She is the founder, Enny Eye Care, an eye clinic and optical services outlet and she is currently the chairperson, Nigerian Optometric Association, Lagos State branch.
This article was first published in National Mirror on June 28, 2012.
Last modified: June 28, 2012