By ISAAC OLUSESI
In Nigeria, Master Akintade Abdullahi Akanbi is in the class of Marie Currie, Wangari Maathal, Alfred Nobel, Lawrence Bragg and Max Theiler; all of them Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine. Most impressively germane in the context, Marie Currie and Akintade, an SSS3 student of State of Osun public school system are much of a muchness, similar, in four areas: top-notch brilliance, guided penchant for science, nomination for award, and greatness as corollary. Both Currie of Poland and Akintade of Nigeria symbolize the overall best in a science contest. What?
Currie, a brilliant girl, born in 1867 in Poland had a sponsored, scholarship education at the University of Paris in 1891 where she graduated at age 24 in Physics & Mathematics atop her class. In 1909, she won the Nobel Prize in Physics for Radioactivity and X-ray; and again in 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for invention of Uranium in 1898. Like Currie came topmost, Akintade, 17, a student of Osogbo Grammar School, Osogbo, state capital, came atop in the National Examinations of the 774 Young Nigerian Scientists conducted by the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology and, penultimate Monday, President Mohammadu Buhari awarded him full scholarship to Ph.D level for emerging Best Scientist of the Year. Akintade’s nomination for the award, as Currie’s, was done in the open; the announcement of the boy that pandered to standards of the panelists or judges, came loudly and triggered off euphoria.
While many students of Akintade’s age in grammar schools in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) era (2003-2010) in the Bola Ige House, Osogbo, state capital, dropped out of school, in self annihilation, frighteningly unprepared for school; some on remonstrance, protest over nothing, vented frustration on gibberish, nonsensical excuses through dare devil riots, nerve racking vandalism and actual destruction of school property; still, some in youthful exuberance launched awful assaults on their teachers, cruel attacks on publics outside their schools and hauled traumatic abuses on hapless people, motorists, held hostage at no provocation and joined by the cacophony of street fighters; and others in self emotional wrecks, engaged in wired, wild fluid drinks and brandished criminality, inhumanity and all kinds of bizarre machinations.
Yet, some others, in self decimation exuded high penchant, in open syndicates for sexual experimentation, pregnancy and abortion, and had parties in hotels and brothels during school hours. The hobgoblins, tricksters, some of whom who grew up to become virago, domineering, were Virgo intact a, virgins before their unrestricted sexual act with the virile, men of full sexual energy; and their boy colleagues, dastardly in shared sexual trade became gigolos, lovers of old women in the neighborhood and today’s political thugs, violating the peace of the polity. And strangely, a few others, relatively younger were engaged in hazardous child labour as family bread winners at the expense of their education.
So alarming was the incendiary, violence in schools, worthless, as if Osun was inured to nuisances, bequeathed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of former Governor Rauf Aregbesola, now Federal Minister of Interior, with Governor Gboyega Oyetola, then as Chief of Staff and now driving the APC government continuance, in the state. The government has rather continued to checkmate the inherited dimensions of the student truancy and absenteeism by arresting ‘waka-about’ students during school hours, remove nightmare effects on learning by school buses provided to commute students daily to schools, and replace unattractive school environments, responsible for low teaching, learning with massive school infrastructures, fully well equipped.
Frankly speaking, Oyetola has reorganized, strengthened Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) and Old Students Associations (OSA) across Osun schools, pushing for teacher’s commitment to teaching and excitement in student’s learning and making the Osun public school system produce total children, total youths, and total citizens, technically competent, economically independent and socially responsible, all made easier by the innate mental capacity, cognitive ability and specialist perception of the Akintades in Osun schools; meaning, the innateness, most outstandingly deserving, timely and historic, in a sense is made profoundly potent and greatly activated in desirable direction, derived from the quality contents of the Osun public school system, not sacrificed for anything else or structured to any loose end, but cultivated in studious courage, studious strength and studious dedication to excel in their scholastic.
On education and indeed, the entire sectors of the state, Oyetola does not engage in political jingoism and statements found elsewhere in Nigeria, a naked falsehood in a well dressed lie, peculiar to PDP governors, really anything but sound of furry, signifying nothing. Rather, Oyetola is fully implementing basics of educational system, the substance, not the form as it were in the PDP days in Osun. Oyetola has continued to empower the Akintades and all students in Osun public schools, equipping them with skills and courage that will continue to open them up to ideas and innovations in science and technology to propel them into leadership positions tomorrow. Indeed, like in juxtaposition, the quality of education in the state provides much of impetus for the me-too efforts of the awardee that now earned him the presidential award. There could be no mojo, magic wand or power about it. The boy is on his path to greatness, the way of Currie.
Oyetola is and Osun is progressing as Akintade landed the covetous award at Eagle Square, Abuja, nation’s capital, firing up the quality of the Osun public school system in the consciousness of the nation. The large presence of distinguished guests at the ceremony was a colossal showing off the importance of the Akintades, by extension, the quality of Osun public schools to our national development objectives. Highly enthused Oyetola exclaimed: “There are many Akintades in our public schools in Osun, waiting to emerge and we shall continue to expose them to opportunities so that our aim of using education to drive sustainable development would be attained!” He lauded the nation’s president for the scholarship award to Akintade .
Osogbo Grammar School became a scene of frenetic excitements in the week of the award as students, boys and girls milled in high spirit around the awardee, one of their own. Staff, men, women, young and old gave Akintade a part on the back. No one was doleful, and the atmosphere in the school, not gloomy. The school of the moment, more elated played host to official and non-official visitors and no visitor looked lugubrious, sad and serious or morose while banters went haywire, out of control in the air.
Akintade has brought added glory to the school, and Osun houses the glory.
– OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Publicity, Research & Strategy, Osun APC.