The outgoing President of the King’s College Old Boys Association (KCOBA), Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, has called on the federal government to hand over the unity schools to the old students of the schools.
He argued that the old students of the unity schools would manage the schools better, pointing out that the admission process to King’s College is tainted with corruption, just like everything else in the country.
Ibrahim-Imam said these in Lagos, at the 114th Annual Founders’ Day lecture of the college with the theme: ‘Dismantling the Barriers: Creating a Pathway for the Emergence of Effective Leaders in Nigeria.’
He accused some officials of the Ministry of Education and their agents in the school of selling admissions to the college, adding that this ugly practice has made it an elitist school.
This, he said, also runs contrary to the federal government’s purpose of establishing and funding the school to foster unity in the country.
He said during his time at the college, there were 60 students in his class, four of whom were from Borno State, adding that each state of the federation had a maximum of four students admitted and a minimum of three.
“Thanks to King’s College, Lagos; I am a northerner by ascription, I am a southerner by achievement. Thanks to King’s College, Lagos, the geography of where you come from does not matter to me in our relationship at all. I am at home in every hamlet in this country; I have forged friendships, relationships, even family more from the south than from the north,” he said.
He lamented that when he assumed office as president of KCOBA six years ago, 600 students were admitted, with only three coming from Borno, and three from Bauchi states, respectively.
According to him, out of the three students from Borno State, two were Yoruba, while one was Igbo.
He said of the three students from Bauchi State, two were Igbo and one was Yoruba.
Ibrahim-Imam also argued that no student from any of the 19 northern states was among the graduates at the recent graduation ceremony of the college.
While reiterating the old boys’ desire to take over the running of the school from the federal government, he said it would do the unity schools a lot of good, adding that the federal government has much more important obligations like defence, security, foreign affairs, economy, among others.
He added that constitutionally, the federal government has no business running secondary schools as secondary schools are not on the exclusive list, and the concurrent list, but on the residual list.
Ibrahim-Imam stated that the old boys are advocating that King’s College should be handed over to the old boys, followed by Queen’s College, and then all the other unity schools.
“We will commit to all the ideals: National character, indigent students – we will not make it an elitist school; we will make sure that students from all the states of the federation are admitted; we will maintain standards and improve infrastructure. We will commit to all of these and more in writing. We will also create an endowment fund that we can tap into in the management of the school.”
He said the old boys have been responsible for most of the renovation work across both campuses, adding that for the college centenary, the association spent N1 billion renovating the main campus alone.
“Since then, year in and year out, various class sets have stepped forward to undertake the renovation of various projects,” he added.
He also bemoaned the huge number of out-of-school children in the north, saying that primary and secondary education should be made free and compulsory.
“If every child is enrolled in school, where will you find the almajiris? It’s so simple. There are no almajiris across the Arab world; so, why should we have almajiris in Nigeria? So, whether you are from the north, south, east or west, education should be made free for every child up to secondary school, most especially in the so-called educationally disadvantaged states,” he explained.
He argued that when given the same privileges and opportunities, every Nigerian can excel.