Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, has at the weekend appealed to Old Students Associations to support government’s efforts in lifting the standards of education by giving back to their alma maters.
He said that the education sector must not be left in the hands of government alone adding by providing support and assistance to their former schools, the standards would be lifted.
Makinde, who made the call while speaking at the commissioning/Handing Over ceremony of the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Hall built by the 1968/1972 set of Loyola College Old Boys Association, said that his administration will be willing to consider a proposal for a return of the school to its original owners if it receives one.
The Old Boys Association also remolded the frontal fence of Loyola College, Ibadan as part of activities to mark its 50 years of graduation.
The Governor explained that the motive behind his readiness to discuss the proof of consent, which could see the school handed over to its original owners or the Old Students Association was premised on the need to ensure continuous development of the school.
He maintained that his administration is rested on four cardinal pillars, one of which he said is education.and that education.
The Governor, appreciated the 1968/1972 Set of the school for the construction of Hall and remoldelling of the frontal fence of the School, adding that such gesture will go along way in the development of the educational sector in the state.
He said: “It is a great honour for me to host my two other brothers ( Governors Rotimi Akeredolu and Kayode Fayemi) here, and when we say Oyo state is a Pacesetter state, now you know what we are talking about. Three governors here, out of 36 in Nigeria, had their roots and were molded here in Oyo state.”
The Governor added: “So let me thank the 1968-1972 set for this edifice.
“By the way, Education is one of the four major pillars of Oyo state and I know that the government alone cannot provide everything that we require and everytime that we can see people, associations and philanthropists that can support the government, I am always very thankful. So, today, on behalf of the government and people of Oyo state, we want to say thank you to Loyola College Old Boys Association, ’68-72 set.
“And I am using this to also call on others to come and give back. We have the students out here, they are also looking at a day like this, when they would come back and give back to their school and they can only do that if we provide the enabling environment for them to succeed, and this is exactly what this set has done.
“So, I am using you as a point of contact to other Old Students Association to please come and give back and the government would duly appreciate you.
“Well, I mentioned that at everything turning point, Loyola College seems to always show up. Now that I am running for a second term, and Loyola has also shown up. I didn’t know I was going to be ambushed when I was coming for this event but when Professor Femi Ogunbiyi was talking, he said Governor please “e da a pada.(Please return the school)
“Well, I came with the Honorable Commissioner for Education and the Chairman of TESCOM. We started a proof of consent with Government College Ibadan to see how the process would look like and to also test the waters. This is because, as you are saying that the government should please return this school to the original owners, some other interests are saying we should not return the school to the original owners because Oyo state government has invested in the school.
“But what we are doing at Government College has demonstrated to us that there is a path for engagement and I will encourage the old students and the Commissioner for Education to start that engagement process.
“We have a fairly detailed MoU template between the government and the Old Students Association and I believe that we can quickly reach alignment on this and move forward.
Also speaking, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that in many of schools, the Old students have become the pillars that hold the schools strong, saying that it is almost a normal thing that only schools with long years of production of old students are able to sustain the challenges of the moment.
According to him, “I have always admired this school as an exemplar of Catholic schools. Really, we must thank His Excellency and this set for giving back.
“Just as we see in the universities in many other parts of the world where the alumni also play a very critical role in the development and nurturing and sustenance of those institutions. So, I am not surprised that the old students are desirous of the release of this school back to the mission, the original owners of the school.
“I can see that you already applied subtle pressure on my brother, the Governor of Oyo State. But he has taken an appropriate step and I want to assure you that it is an indication that he is not aversed to what you are saying. I am sure he will speak. This is because we did exactly the same thing when we were going to return schools back to the original owners in Ekiti. “We did a proof of consent by returning Christ School, Ado Ekiti back to the original owners.
“There are always challenges that come with handing over schools. I am sure that in the negotiation and the memorandum of understanding, the Old Students of Loyola and the Government of Oyo State will be able to resolve this issue.
Similarly, the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said that the Loyola Old Students Association is prepared and ready to engage with the Oyo State government over the hand over of the School to the Old Students Association.
He said: “I can assure you that we the old students of Loyola, were ready yesterday. So, tomorrow is even too late. “We are prepared to engage them immediately.
“I said today is my happiest day because this is my Alma mater, the school that moulded me. “When all of us sat together to build this hall, in their own wisdom, they chose to support me, I thank them because they have done so well for me. That is why I am happy.”