UI Class Of ‘67: Celebrating 50 years of comradeship
The University of Ibadan Class of 1967 is celebrating its 50th Anniversary today, the day in 1967 when some young men and women matriculated into the academic institution known as the University of Ibadan. UI Class of ‘67, also called UI ‘67, is a branch of the Alumni Association and is made up of the matriculants of that year and a few other Alumni whose Class have no Branch like ours, and who are in love with the activities of this class.
The idea of a class-based alumni group emerged on the realisation that a single Alumni Association of the University of Ibadan was finding it logistically difficult to contain the hundreds of thousands of students the University had turned out since 1948. Also, there is more comradeship based on closer familiarity among class members. Fully aware that the ideals of the University could be well projected through active involvement of the alumni, UI ‘67 came to existence to contribute to making this citadel of knowledge greater.
It all started on a Sunday at Easter time in 1979, in an apartment in Lagos State Housing Estate, Isolo, occupied by Late Adetokunbo Marinho. A few friends who were members of the class gathered to have a drink in celebration of Easter. There started, a relaxation style reminiscence of the old Ibadan days. Tokunbo had some brandy, which did not appeal to many of us but he had some other drinks also and there was lots of fun. We promised to meet again. The next meeting was held at Sola Dada’s house near Yaba College of Technology and there, the Association took off with Sola as foundation President.
We were few but it is noteworthy to mention names like Olusola Dada, Tokunbo Marinho, Dele Oyefesobi, Kayode Raheem, Tunji Odegbami, Kunle Akindele, lseoluwa Aworinde and Dorothy Ovbiagele (nee Imobio), all of blessed memory. Also, in those early days, were lyabo Ogunshola, Bunmi Onabolu, Sade Ogunbiyi, lzegbua Amusu, (the immediate past President), Afolabi Abe, Tunji Oluwatayo, Femi Kufo, Sam Oyibo Beecroft, Timebi Agari, Ayo Ojo, Tunji Falana, Stella Omotesho, Kofo Odusote, Lawrence Jasper Ogunleye, Imo Itsueli, (Justus), Andy Egonmwan, Tunde (Njoku) Ezichi, Tony Omeiza Oshireku, Francis Iruobe, Olabisi Ogunjobi, Yinka Sogbesan, Sanmi Fabode, Sunny Odunfa, Ladi Taiwo, Wole Okunfulure, Richard Adebayo, S.Olu Adekunle and Segun Johnson. However, it is worthy of note that the Ibadan Branch started soon after the Lagos Branch, and these are the only two branches to the best of my knowledge.
We had and still have, regular meetings socialising, reminiscing on UI life. We called and still call each other by our first names (and the old nicknames), to share the joy of the University of Ibadan heritage. We, however, have never lost sight of our responsibility to our University. We were given so much by our Alma Mater and we try to give back.
Therefore, today, we shall celebrate this great institution where in late September 1967, we resumed as freshers amidst fears in some quarters that, if the civil war escalated, it would affect our academic aspirations. On the campus, it was a different world. No signs of war, as we participated in scintillating welcome week activities for new students. It was a new experience for all, both old and young. The young students, fresh from high school, were in the majority but there were students old enough to be fathers to some of us. It did not matter to anybody. Everybody joined in the new fun of UI life and UI traditions. We quickly grew and boys became men and girls, women. The Halls were either Men’s Hall or Women’s Hall. We were encouraged to have constructive interactions with senior members of staff, professors and lecturers inclusive. They were amiable, accessible and helpful.
On our part, we were confident and conscious that we were specially chosen. In those days when you were free to apply to all Universities, most of us got admission into all the four existing Universities and we chose Ibadan. To many Nigerians then, Ibadan was THE University and we were there. We were the envy of other institutions. UI was really internationalised. A good percentage of the academic staff were expatriates and we had many international students from the Americas, the Caribbeans, Europe and other African countries. UI campus was a city within a city and many students had no reason to go out of the campus for a whole term.
We had good meals, like princes and princesses inside Cafeteria that compared with restaurants of five-star hotels. The University of Ibadan was a world renowned institution, a city of academics and a centre of fun and excellence. Financially, things were hard because of the civil war but UI had the best fee regime compared to other Universities. Our Professors were world class: Ade Ajayi, Ojetunji Aboyade, D. N. Irvine, B. J. Dudley, V. Oyenuga, Akin Mabogunje, Dotun Philips, E.A. Ayandele, E. U. Essien Udom, Wole Soyinka, Akinkugbe, Emovon, Adeoye Lambo, Odeku, to mention a few.
Members in other locations in the country linked up with Lagos and Ibadan. We have successfully collaborated and executed projects in the University. Our first landmark project was the ultra-modern main gate. Endowment of an annual Prize to the best graduating student in the Faculty of Education followed. Other projects and endowments to the University include: Donation of 60 high-backed classy plastic chairs for the Conference hall of Alumni Centre; donation of five giant standing fans to the Olatunde Odeku Medical Library, UCH and donation to the FANTON CHALLENGE of the University Advancement Centre.
To mark our 50th Anniversary, a Public Lecture: Funding Nigerian Universities and University Autonomy, will be delivered by Dr. M.O. Omolayole at the University Trenchard Hall, at 12noon. Immediately after the lecture, the anniversary bust – THE KNWOLEDGE – will be unveiled.
We remember today, our members apart from the ones mentioned earlier, who have departed to the great beyond. Former Presidents, Mr. Amos Olalekan Aremu (Ibadan Branch), Chief Isaac Olusola Dada and Mr. Tunji Odegbami (Lagos Branch). We pay tribute to the following former members who have also passed on: Kio Don Pedro, Bayo Kumolu Johnson, Victor Adebambo, Laolu Akinyele, Akin Orioke, Mrs. E. O. ldowu, Bode Oyerokun, Bola lshola, Ayo Akano, Segun Agagu, Mr. Fakunla, Babatunde Oshotimehin, Aiyedun Osho. May their souls rest in peace.
We still match on in spite of our advancing age. Most of us have crossed the age of 70 and have retired from active service. We are, however, determined to forge ahead in this fruitful relationship and service to the Institution that gave us so much in life.
Long Live the Class of ’67.
Long live the University Of Ibadan. Recte Sapere Fons (For Knowledge and Sound Judgment).
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Afolabi Abe is the Secretary, Class of 1967
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