Baptist Boys High School @ 89: A Continuing Legacy by Akhigbe Samson

The lyrics 'from Egunya Hills to Oke Saje', tells a story worth telling from generation to generation. It is a historcal folklore which tells the story of a how far the South West has led the nation in the quest for qualitative as well as quantitative education and leadership. The story when told is reminiscent of the efforts of the missionaries who envisoned a glorious future for the nation and introduced a different kind of education that frees the mind and prepares the individual for the years ahead. A story richly told in oral as well as written form and evokes a passion in the minds of the listeners. That story is being told 89 years after the Baptist missionaries chose a location on the hills of Egunya in Ancient Abeokuta to cite not only a legacy, but also a reference point to the height a man can achieved if given the right tools.

It is no doubt a process of metarmorphosis and a blessing shining over Nigeria. There are few schools that command such respects and authority in the comity of High Schools in Nigeria, thus when the name is mentioned, there is a feeling of aurora, a freshness, a superior identity. Its movement from Egunya Hills to Oke Saje is no doubt significant, it was a relocation to the heart of a rich historical city and shares proximity with such historical landmarks as the Alake of Egbaland's Palace and the St. Peter's Anglican Church, which is one of the earliest Christian chruches in Nigeria. Also, close to the Central Business District in Abeokuta the capital of Ogun State. Looking back into the minds of the administrators of the school, it is clear that they had a vision for the relocation. The movement from Egunya Hills to Oke Saje was a proverb for future generations, it was a movement to the seats of power, a strategic communication between the students and their need to take over leadership. And to crown it all, they inserted the lyrics 'its a blessing shining over Nigeria' into the School Anthem. What other evidence do we need to understand that from the foundations of BBHS, the intentions of the founders was to raise leaders that would take charge over every facet of administration in Nigeria.

As a student, I recall with fond memories the good, bad and ugly times. Back in the day, our level of knowledge meant that our parents chose what they thought was best for us, that was how I found myself writing an Entrance Examination in a School became me a family rather than a School. At the time, I had no inclination as to the kind of legacy the school had, I just knew that my parents thought it best that I attended BBHS. The first thing that impressed me was the gate of the school, BBHS has a majestic entrance that can rival the architectural design of any academic institution in Nigeria. Anybody visiting the school for the first time would be carried away by the kind of welcome the gate presents. I was so in awe of the gate that I used it for an Arts project in the school and still have the drawing in my collections. At the port of entry, I made a resolve to come back to the school.

One of the initial challenges I thought I would have was the language barrier, as an English speaking young boy in a 'Yoruba speaking' community, I had my trepidations, however, I soon realized that I was not in a 'Yoruba speaking community', but a heterogenous community. Later I realized that a larege percentage of the boarders were not indigenes of Ogun State or Yoruba Speaking States. I recall vivdly students who came from Edo State and another from Niger State. Such was the eclectic mix of the school. We were then inculcated into a culture that would place enormous responsibilities on us. Alhaji Gbolahan Aroyeun, our Principal always reminded us of the kind of legacy we inherited as well as what we would leave behind. Two of his popular maxims were 'the milk of human kindness has gone sour' and 'bamu bamu ni mo yo, mi o mo pe bi n pa omo enikankan' which literaly means 'I have filled myself satisfactorily, I am not bordered if others are hungry'. A juxtaposition of these maxims instilled in us a morality that focuses on selflessness rather than selfishness.

We were also told of the many great names that have passed through the walls of the school, thus, the eagerness was and is still to meet and exceed the monumental achievements of our Old Boys. There are many memories I hold dear about BBHS, however two are very striking and will live with me for the rest of my life. On a fateful Friday while playing football, a rich gentleman came to watch us play, he later spoke to us and recalled how he also wore the uniforms we wore and how he played where he played. The rich gentleman turned out to be 'The Prince Bola Ajibola', a legal luminary who has seen it all, a former World Court Judge. Secondly, as a senior and a member of the L&D Society, I had the privilege of meeting Nigeria's 3 times President, General Olusegun Aremu and recieved the Presidential Handshake that became the hallmark of his presidency.

The roll call of eminent persons that have graced the wall of the citadel of leadership called BBHS is inehaustive. As you celebrate your 89th Year of existence On the 23rd Day of January, 2012, a clarion call is being sent forth, to challenge you to greater achievements. As an Old Boy, I say Nulli Secundus, forever and ever, we will hail thee, we will uphold all her great ideals, singing with smiles and shouting the three in one, Jehovah Most High.

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