Professor Wole Soyinka (Middle); Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2rd left); his wife, Sherifat (left); Deputy Governor, Mrs Titi Laoye-Tomori (2rd right) and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salam (right), during the commissioning of Wole Soyinka Government High School, Ejigbo, State of Osun on Monday 23-11-2015
The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Monday, 23rd Novemeber, 2015, commissioned N750 million worth Wole Soyinka Government High School in Ejigbo.
It was the first of its category in the mega school series under the education reform programme of the his government.
The Nobel Laureate described the school as an emphatic rejection of the what Boko Haram insurgents preach; describing the situation in which the country till date could not account for the missing Chibok girls as a shame.
The school is a 3,000-student capacity complex with 72 classrooms of 49 square-meters, each capable of sitting 49 students and has six offices for study groups.
It is also equipped with six laboratories, 18 toilets for ladies and 18 others for gentlemen, one science library, one Arts library, facility manager’s office, a bookshop and a sick bay.
Soyinka enjoined leaders in the country to ensure that children are brought up with a feeling that one religion is not superior to the other.
He stated that all hands must be on deck to see to it that children in schools are not differentiated along religious line for a better Nigeria.
Prof. Soyinka commended Governor Aregbesola for doing a great job with the construction of the school, saying he is elated that such honour is bestowed on him, pledging that he will not hesitate to frequent the school to see how it is faring.
He said, “it is a shame that the nation can not account for over 200 girls in Chibok, I sympathise with the religious policy of governments in schools, children must not be brought up with a feeling that religion inhibits knowledge.
“In schools, we need not distinguish our children, the fatalistic religious holiness and the holier than thou attitude must be reduced among our students”.
The Governor earlier stated that the cost of the High school though huge, considering the lean resources of the state is an investment worth it.
Aregbesola said that within the first quarter of next year his government would also commission for use another set of schools in the same category.
He stressed that no government can overspend on the education of the people, saying education is human development and primary way any family can get a lasting benefit from government.
The Governor noted that one of his first acts in office after inauguration in 2010 was to hold an education summit chaired by Prof Wole Soyinka, adding that the rehabilitation of schools and construction of new ones were derived from the outcome of the summit.
Aregbesola averred that It is befitting that Osun named the school after Prof Wole Soyinka who he described as an excellent product of public education in Nigeria and a distinguished academic who brought honour to Yorubaland, Nigeria, Africa and the black race with his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.
According to him, “We can construct a good road that will last for 50 years and we are doing that, but this can never compare to the enlightenment an educated person receives, in terms of its value to the society and humanity.
“The state of education prior to our coming was appalling and frighteningly so. Zoos were better than the places where the pupils were receiving education. Many of them were dilapidated and falling down.
“These schools were therefore not encouraging any serious learning or character building. The result was that the pupils themselves were behaving like animals. They were forming cult groups, fighting regularly with dangerous weapons and engaged in all immoral acts.
“These are children aged seven and above. My heart bleeds to see the public education system disintegrate and become dysfunctional.”
The Governor added that the commissioning of the school is Osun’s way of making a statement that public schools can be the best and be returned to the pre-eminent position it occupied in the past.
Speaking earlier, the state Deputy Governor who also oversees the Ministry of Education, held that the administration of Aregbesola on education has brought a lot of laurels to the state with his giant strides in education in Osun.
She also commended the intervention of the present government in education, adding that the state is redefining the environment of learning hence the construction of 100 brand new state-of-the-art Elementary Schools, 50 Middle Schools and 20 High Schools, Out of which 14 Elementary Schools, 15 Middle Schools and 11 High Schools have been completed.
She said, “the school was named after Professor Wole Soyinka and it should be seen by students as an inspiration for them to succeed in life, government of Aregbesola in providing functional education in the state has invested heavily in turning the fortune of education in the state for the greater height”.
Dignitaries at the commissioning ceremony included, Osun Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuf, member, House of Representatives, Hon. Mojeed Alabi; the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Najeem Salaam; and Osun State Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo.
Others are the Ogiyan of Ejigbo, Oba Omowonuola Oyesosin, Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Abdul-Rauf Adedeji, Oloyan of Oyan, Oba Adekeye Kelani, Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, Olobu of Ilobu, Oba Asiru Olanyan and many other dignitaries.