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Convener's Welcome,

I am humbled to be associated with the assembly of young men, great thinkers and pioneers of this organization after having it well established and registered according to the laws of the land where we all reside. We all share a common trait as old students of a well established secondary school in Nigeria, that is, Ijebu-ode Grammar School which celebrated its centenary in January 2013. We all thank God that we were all alive when the celebration was held for a whole week at Ijebu-Ode, where the entire population was reminded the long and deep contributions of our Alma mater; a secondary school which was established a year before Frederick Lugard succeeded in making Nigeria a colony of imperial Britain in 1914.


This non-profit oriented association came into existence by virtue of the tireless patriotism of a good number of most members here present, if not, all of you. Our indomitable and energetic journalist Mr. Olusesan Ekisola and I, initially got together sometime in 2011 and discussed what we could do to contribute to the centenary celebration of Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, due to be held in January 2013. Mr. Ekisola immediately got in touch with Messrs. Michael Taiwo, Muyiwa Oyesanya, Wale Mafe, Sina Akinsanya, Akin Odusola and several others I cannot possibly recall and sent them information for a regular, but monthly Sunday meeting in a tele-conference fashion. In a short period, the meeting got started and all attendants were assigned to seek out more Ijebu-ode Grammar School old boys and have them informed adequately of what we were trying to do. Within a short space of time, the membership increased tremendously.


Suddenly, there was a lull as a result of the main planning group’s misconception at home that no group would be allowed to join the home planning group except individuals. This discouragement from the main body dampened our collective enthusiasm and was responsible for making our first attempt at contributing our quota to the arrangement to mark the centenary year of our Alma mater, a partial failure. The idea that we should not present ourselves as a group or as a united body but as individuals, if we intended participating in the centenary celebrations, was considered a misnomer.  In order words, the Ijebu –Ode branch which was led by my uncle, Professor Adebayo Adedeji was not happy with our collective representation from here in the United States. It looked as if our determination to contribute meaningfully to the centenary celebrations of our great school had been defeated and there was no reason to continue our well scheduled monthly meetings for any purpose. We suddenly stopped holding any meetings in the later part of 2011.


Shortly after, I was due to travel to Nigeria and I told members that I would attempt to see what was going on with the Ijebu-Ode main body. I arrived there and appeared on their meeting date to see what the situation was. There I met late Professor Segun Odunuga who was a major participant at the Ijebu-Ode meeting, Professor Adebayo Adedeji, the president of the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School Old Boys’ Association and Chief Dipo Bailey, the Vice President were all there.  They were very surprised to see me but welcomed me with much enthusiasm. I narrated our ordeal that we had no effective communication with the home group and they felt obliged to have us consulted about their plans for the anniversary. From the general discussion of their needs, the 1938 foundation building needed to be resuscitated rather than being pulled down. For the renewal of the old building, much money was required, but the body did not have the amount needed to fulfill its planning obligations. The need for financial contribution became an important discussion and my representation of the JOGSOBA North America group became relevant.


By share coincidence, Professor Odunuga was due to visit the United States for private purposes and his arrival here developed into a major link with the home group, which was responsible for the collapse of our initial effort to contribute to the intended centenary celebrations. Late Professor Odunuga, on arrival in the United States had the opportunity to address us as a group during one of our tele-conference meetings and exposed all that we needed to know to us. Consequently, he became and remained our major link with the preparation group at home until the ceremony was held in January 2013. It was through him that we sent our first major contribution to the home group; an effort which was earlier unacceptable to their whims and caprices. From this point on, this resuscitated JOGSOBA North America group and became a major participant in the centenary celebrations of our great school; the Ijebu-Ode Grammar School in January 2013. It would be appropriate to mention that at the April 2012 general meeting of the Ijebu-ode main group which I attended, the group assigned writing the history of our Alma mater for the entire century (1913 to 2013) due to be celebrated to late professor Odunuga and l. This accidental assignment, to my mind, was part of the major contributions of the body which we have now successfully established permanently in the North America for our continued collective obligations and other social responsibilities to our great school and its members.


Today, we have become a well organized and highly responsible apolitical body with its elected officers, raising our heads high as old students of one of Nigeria’s foremost and highly rated secondary schools which pioneered education and contributed immensely to the development of economic, social and political terrains of Nigeria in its continued struggle to modernize in contemporary troubled world.


Our effective and most admired participation in the centenary celebrations of our Alma mater, in January 2013, was unrivalled from any of our counter parts in Europe or elsewhere.  Those in Europe, in essence, attempted to join our group in North America. If it was possible and practicable, we would have obliged them but the global time zone differentials would not make it possible for us to join each other. I also believe, very strongly, that the invitation sent to me, as the Guest speaker for the centenary celebrations, was part of the consequences of your contributive capacities which later became admired by the home planning group. I am pleased to say that the avalanche of congratulations that I received as a result of my chosen topic and its thorough discussion and presentation indicated that the whole endeavor was not a waste of time and energy.


Thank you gentlemen and long live JOGSOBA, North America.


Professor Bankole A. Okuwa (member)

JOGSOBA, North America, Inc.



Prof. Bankole Okuwa

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