Ilesa Grammar School has come of age. The school was 70 years recently. The road to greatness of Ilesa Grammar School has been tough and rough. The success story of the school is due to the unrelenting efforts of the founding Proprietor of the school (Egbe Atunluse Ile Ijesa), the early Principals and Tutors, the high standard of discipline and sense of responsibility set by the early boys and the doggedness of the later and present generations of students to maintain the set standard and keep the flag of excellence flying.
Extract from "Ilesa Grammar School at 70" by Chief Leye Falore
The story of Ilesa Grammar School can be traced to 9th April, 1924 during one of the meetings of Egbe Atunluse when a member of the society, Dr Oguntola Sapara, moved a motion that ‘emphasis should now be laid on educational matters concerning Ijesa’. That was the day Egbe Atunluse planted the mustard seed that later grew up to become a gigantic educational tree in Ijesaland. It took almost ten years before the emerging tree became fruitful. Quite a number of steps and decisions were taken by Egbe Atunluse before the school eventually took off in 1934. These included
- Seeking and obtaining the support of His Royal Majesty Oba Oduyomade Aromolaran I and Owa-in-Council for the establishment of the school,
- The siting of the school at Ilesa (being the biggest town in Ijesaland),
- Naming the school ‘Ilesa Grammar School” (following a suggestion by Mr. J. S. Oginni in 1928 at one of the meetings of Egbe Atunluse
- Obtaining the gift of 50 acres of land from Chief Ajayi Obe (the then Leemodu of Ilesa) for use as the proposed school’s permanent site,
- Employing the foundation Principal (Rev. E. C. Doherty) and founding Tutor (Mr. E. O. Lucas),
- Setting up of the school’s Management Board under the Chairmanship of Capt. J. A. Mackenzie (then District Officer (DO) for Ife/Ijesa Division in August 1933).
On the orders of the governing board, a competitive entrance examination was conducted on the 18th of January 1934 for pupils seeking admission into the new school. Twenty-one boys were, consequent upon the examination, given admission, among them were Emmanuel Asaolu (now Fafowora), Ezekiel Aofolajuwonlo,Elder John Aoko,Enoch Ayeni, Gabriel Aluko-Oluokun,Habibu Karimu, Samuel Doherty, Adolphous Doherty and Eric Mabayoje.
Although classes commenced informally on Monday, 29th January ,1934 the formal opening of the school took place a week later, precisely on Monday, 5th February, 1934 at a colourful ceremony presided over by no less a personality than the DO for Ife/Ilesa District – Capt. J. A. Mackenzie – who was also the Chairman of the school’s Board of Management. Ever since then, successive generations of staff and students of Ilesa Grammar School have always earmarked 5th February as the Founders’ Day every year.
V 5A Igbaye Street, Ilesa
The first classes were held in this building in 1934
While welcoming the foundation students to the school on their first day, the principal told them, among other things, that the school motto would be either ‘A ce quid a ce’ (a Greek phrase interpreted as ‘Do what you are doing’) or ‘andre zeste’ (another Greek phrase meaning ‘Play the Man’). This was later translated to ‘E huwa Omoluwabi’ during the time of Rev. N. O. A. Lahanmi as Principal.
‘Omoluwabism’ connotes that undying spirit of hardwork, chivalry and fair play, the determination to excel at everything, and the wish to be a perfect gentleman. It is the legacy bequeathed to every student of Ilesa Grammar School. And it pays good dividends. The ‘Omoluwabis’ are everywhere, in all fields of human endeavour and they stand head above others.
Right from the beginning, religion might have been used unconsciously to nurture a tradition of honesty, dedication to duty, self-determination and self-reliance, all summed up in the essence of ‘Omoluwabism’. The boys were taught to excel in whatever they did and to know that the good things of life could only be achieved by courtesy, kindness, good comportment and good manners in general. They were taught to portray the evidence of good breading received from the school to the outside world. Asperity and vugarism were to be eschewed. Those were the founding traditions. But are they still valid today? The answer is ‘Yes’. From generation to generation, the spirit of ‘Omoluwabism’ is passed.
Evidence abound to show that the various generations of boys and girls who were privileged to be trained in Ilesa Grammar School have, over the years, successfully passed the baton of excellence, dedication to duty, self-reliance and rugged personal confidence in oneself from one to another.
What Late Chief E. O. I. Fafowora (1934-1936) and Alhaji Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo (OFR)(1952) thinks of Ilesa Grammar School is identical to what Bosun Falore FCA (1972) and Yomi Olomolaiye (1968-1972) thinks. The same graceful attributes of ‘Omoluwabism’ found in Dr (Mrs) Iyabo (Onibonoje) Osanyin (1971) and Dr (Mrs) ‘Dupe (Falayi) Dairo (1970) are evident in Miss Tola Ogunseitan (1985-1991) as well as Chief Sonny Odogwu, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Justice Alfa Belgore, Ayo Oni (FCA), Prof. Oye Ibidapo Obe, Gbenga Aluko, Prof. Wale Omole,Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Chief Phillip Umeadi (SAN) and Engr. Teju Oyeleye among others.
On the academic side, the exemplary records of Hon. Justice Emmanuel Araka, Prince Adedokun Haastrup, Dr F. A. Ajayi, Hon. Justice Kayode Eso, and Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande in the 1940’s ran through subsequent generations in Mr. E. O. Okotore, and Dr Omotoso in the 1950’s Prof. Banji Ayoola, Engr. D. A. Oni, Engr. Doyin Adelekun, Dr Obi Daramola, Dr Kamoru Omotoso, Dr Siyan Malomo and Mr Adediran Akinjogbin in the 1960’s, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Commodore Tomi (Emmanuel) Olamilokun, Pastor Daisi Akinyelu, Engr Gbenga Adeyemi, Engr James Olarewaju, Capt Samuel Olarewaju and Dr Dimeji Alo in the 1970’s down to Mr Tunde Ogedengbe and Mr Lekan Mohammed in the 1980’s and 1990’s respectively.
Few schools in Nigeria have been able to sustain their traditions of over sixty years the way Ilesa Grammar School had done. Through modifications occasioned by leadership changes, environmental growth and development, modification of facilities and others, the spirit of ‘Omoluwabism’ stands firm.
- Extract of "Ilesa Grammar School --- cradle of Omoluwabism"
( a yet to be published book on Ilesa Grammar School)