The King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA) has made it a tradition to celebrate annually in September, the founding of its good old school. This celebration is no doubt, the most anticipated event in the association’s social calendar and it is usually a great time for the old boys to catch up and interact as they hold various events. Writes Mary Ekah
The King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA) annual “Kingsweek” celebration is first of all unique in the sense that it signifies that the association as a group and then the school as an entity have been able to scale through another year. The anniversary, to members of KCOBA, is so significant in the sense that there are many associations that have died over the years but King’s College as a school has been in existence for 108 years while the association as body has been in existence for over 90 years. So it is significant that a hundred years after, King’s College is still standing strong while the association is also waxing stronger year by year. These no doubt call for great celebration each year.
To this end, the King’s College Old Boys’ Association kick-started its Kingsweek 2017 events with the celebration of Captain Adegoke, a Trustee and General Secretary Emeritus, who turned 70 on September 3, this was closely followed by Tayo Aluko Live in KCL: An Evening of Music and Drama celebrating Tunji Sowande, KCOB, Britain’s first black Nigerian judge and celebrated Concert Singer held on September 7 at the Muson Centre, Lagos. While other events scheduled to hold from Wednesday, September 20 to Sunday, September 24, follow up sequentially, amongst which are the Founder’s Day Lecture, billed for Wednesday September 20, a Jummat service on Friday September 22 at Syrian Mosque, Ribadu Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; Founder’s Day Dinner on Saturday September 23 as well as an Annual General Meeting on the same day and then followed by a Thanksgiving church service on September 24.
The Vice President KCOBA, Rotimi Aladesanmi said, that every annual celebration of the Kingsweek is unique in its own way, adding, “Each year we have different guest speakers that speak on different topics. The topics we had last year will be totally different from this year, most especially this year, we are incorporating novelty cricket match because cricket is our school sports and interestingly the president of the Cricket Association of Nigeria is an old boy, so also is the chairman of the Lagos State Cricket Association. So we are having a cricket match between the KCOBA team and the Lagos team.”
Aladesanmi revealed further that KCOBA will also hold a family fun day during the anniversary where old boys will come with their family members and mingle with invited guests. “We are also inviting guests to participate and interact with us. We believe that is going to be very interesting because we are also trying to focus on family, which is the basic unit in any society. And a society that does not encourage the cohesion of the family is doomed to fail. And we have seen that the Nigerian society is not paying much attention to the unity in the family and likewise to the unity in the nation. So the bedrock of any society being the family, should not be neglected and that is why we are having a family fun day to encourage healthy interaction in individuals families and we believe that apart from the other activities which we normally have over the years, this aspect of family interaction is going to be another interesting feature of our celebration,” he noted.
Speaking on how the Association has impacted on the socio-economic phase of the nation, Aladesanmi said, “The association comprises old boys from different cadres and generations. The college was started in 1909, so you can imagine how many old boys it must have produced and I think the oldest old boy now should be 98 years old, that is Justice Ishola Oluwa and so we have from judiciary to every aspect and each one of them has held unique position and have contributed in positive ways to the development of the generations of Nigerians. In politics, we have Dr. Alex Ekwueme who became vice-president of Nigeria. But what is clear is that King’s boys are people that could be emulated and we always try to be trailblazers so that we try and do things that others will follow. So yes, we have contributed so much to the socioeconomic aspect of the nation and we are still contributing. Even as we speak, we have intervened in the affairs of the students and we have tried to mentor them because we have realised that the generation of nowadays need mentorship and guidance, which can only come from people who have seen it all. And so we have old boys come to give them talks in the college on career, business and many other things, so we have been kind of guardians to them in forging ahead in life.
Aladesanmi, who said this year’s celebration is not particularly focused on a specific theme, noted however that the anniversary will be focused on unity, adding, “King’s College is a school that encompasses people from all over the country, and even from different parts of the world, and also from different backgrounds coming together as one entity. And we have tried over the years to ensure that we maintain that unity and that is why we are encouraging family interaction, the games and all that. So unity is the theme behind all these activities and also behind the college.“
“This is about the school’s 108th anniversary and the association has been growing from strength to strength and at the moment, we have different branches with a major branch in North America, based in Washington, USA, we also have a branch in London, UK and we also have branches in Abuja, Kaduna and we are trying to get the one at Enugu to take off. And then we have chapters scattered all over Nigeria, and these chapters are for the younger boys in the universities or any other educational institutions.”
For the Sports Secretary, KCOBA Executive Committee, Ikhane Akhigbe the King’s College ‘Kingsweek’ is an annual celebration to sum up the events of the last one year and also to let members know what plans the association has for the coming year.
He explained further that, “We have the annual King’s Dinner, which is our flagship social event and we also have our AGM where we elect new members into the council. So every two years, we elect our council members and this year is a year for elections.”
“Generally, the occasion is usually an avenue for the old students to have some presence to get to know what is happening in the school and how the school is being run as well as to note and discuss on events concerning KCOBA”, he noted further.
He said that although the event appear to be same every year, there are always occasion to differentiate the celebration in the previous years, adding that it is always an occasion to celebrate the association as it grows in number and age yearly. Beyond that, Akhigbe explained that each year’s event afford the association the platform for exposing and expressing what it has done and what it also plans to do in the coming year.
“King’s College is one of the important academy institutions in Nigeria and has a very long history of consistency, engagement and advancement of discussion, policy and the rest of them. So the occasion is for us to let the public know how we have been doing these things and what we are going to do in the next year. Like over the years we have had a number of some sports events and completion and you wouldn’t know that unless we tell you. So we are constantly re-informing people about what we are doing and that is why the Kingsweek is a continuous and constituent information exercise.”
Appealing to members who have not been active in the affairs of the Association over the years to get fully involved, Akhigbe, said, “King’s College Logos is one of the finest institutions in Nigeria; it is more than just a school with students; we have a long history of impact and we are making bigger strides in engaging with the government and the private sector to achieve change in our society. We don’t just want you to just hear about it but to come and listen to us talk about it and find out more about the changes we are making in our society.“
Expressing his expectation for the anniversary week, a member of the 2017 Kingsweek Committee, Ohiozoje Unuigboje said, the approximately weeklong event which also witnessed a concert at the Muson Centre, Lagos, is expected to witness a large turnout of people as the anniversary events proceed with the Founder Day’s speech, Cricket match, Family Fun Day, an AGM, a dinner and a church service that will crown it all on Sunday, September 24, adding that the event is open to all old boys of King’s College.
Unuigboje was quick to add that all those who graduated for King’s College, Lagos and have not been actively involved in the activities of the association are missing out so much, “even if nothing else, you are missing out in giving back to the school that moulded you, thereby missing out in helping to nurture those ones who are there now for a better tomorrow.”
“Education is the bedrock for success, not just education in the class but also mentoring them to be better people for the future and also for them to know the differences between the reality outside and their dreams and how to also work to achieve their dreams. And also, we are one body in unity, when one person hurts, we are all hurt, so let’s try and find other KCOBs and help one another stand”, Unuigboje noted.
The General Secretary of the association, Lucky Idike said, “At KCOBA, we understand that we have a responsibility having passed through a prestigious institution that has a lot of honour attached to it, to preserve that honour and hand it over to the next generation of King’s men to carry forward. So clearly every year that we celebrate our anniversary, reminds us of this responsibility and helps us to understand that we are discharging that responsibility.”
Idike said that although a large part of the association’s efforts are expended in helping King’s College old boys to develop relationships amongst themselves and other members of the community who are not members of the association, with the aim to help members advance their businesses and personal interests by creating a platform for them to interact, noting further that the association is also very concerned about the school and also that the legacy that brought them together continues to survive and thrives.
“To this end, we are today at the forefront of agitating and championing for a review of the methodology under which secondary schools in Nigeria are managed,” he said, adding, “If you go around you will discover that the school it is not what it used to be and this is the story of Nigeria, a country that is not what it used to be, a lot of things are decaying and a lot of infrastructures are falling apart. And so we are saying to government that look, beyond the building and infrastructures, there is a methodology for managing the school that is currently not working and we are saying the future for managing secondary education in Nigeria, should be one that allows private sector interest to get involved in ensuring that secondary schools in Nigeria are run as best as they can and then deliver quality education to the students. So KCOBA wants government to enter public-private partnership with us so that together we can run a more effective and efficient school that deliver better quality service.” He stressed further that KCOBA has for long been very influential in shaping and steering affairs of the nation.