As I woke up that Saturday morning, there was nothing that gave me a hint it was going to be one of the most memorable days of my life. Yes, I was starting a new journey but there was nothing to show it was going to be an exceptional one. Today, I can only tell you the exact date I got into the university after a little calculation; I don’t even know the exact date I resumed at the Nigerian Law school. Maybe now you understand why it still amazes me that I remember clearly and still celebrate the date I started secondary school. Since leaving secondary school I have always ‘celebrated’ every November 1st.
This is a memoir about my times in FGC Ikirun. I have always wanted to do this but it has taken me time to come to terms to actually doing it. I hope you’d enjoy reading it. Inasmuch as I will try to make it enjoyable to read, my primary aim is to document this period before it blurs off my memory entirely, the faintest pen is better than the sharpest brain. And like I do in real life, I don’t call the school FGC Ikirun, I simply call it Ikirun making many people believe its the place I grew up. True, it was the place I grew up, but it was my school. My parents never lived in Ikirun. And in this memoir, I will simply refer to the school as Ikirun and not FGC Ikirun.
Several times, I have asked myself – where do I start from? As I start this memoir, I start from the very beginning not because I want to do a chronological piece but because the beginning is always a very safe place to begin.
My set resumed at the Federal Government College Ikirun on November 1, 1997. If you look closely, you should have questions as to why resumption date was that late. The first term in secondary schools ends in December and normally starts in September. Ikirun was not a normal school. I don’t mean to say it was an abnormal school. Ikirun was a relatively new school. My set was the 4th set, that meant no one was in SSS 2 when I resumed, the topmost class was SSS 1.
I remember starting the journey from No. 4 Alimi Banire street, Alimosho where we lived then. That was the home address on all my files in Ikirun. Knowing I had a long journey to embark on, and more so because my mum and my dad’s official driver that accompanied me would be returning back to Lagos I remember waking up early and putting on my yellow checkered shirt over brown trousers. Across the breast pocket of the shirt and on the waist of the trousers were the letters – O.T. Alade. The same thing had been written on my chapel white shirt and white trousers by my uncle. I also had it engraved on my metal bucket and aluminum plates.
That was my second journey to Ikirun, the first had been some weeks earlier in the company of my dad and his driver when I went to see the school, receive my admission letter as well as make payments. But it was my mum’s first time, I guess she wanted to see her son’s new home.
Nothing striking actually happened on my first day in school, apart from the fact that I saw Obinna Ezekafor whom I attended primary school with at St. Anthony. Who could have thought that I would bump into a friend from Lagos? I thought I was the only one mad enough to leave Lagos to come school in a bush. He told me his elder sister, Ngozi was also there. I felt relaxed. I also met Mr. Ikotun, my guardian and was introduced to Femi Agbeye, who was to be my school father.
One last thing I remember about this day, I got checked into my hostel. My room was a very big one, big enough to accommodate about fifty of us, that’s about twenty five double decker bunk beds and our lockers. The room was for yellow and blue house boys. The room next door was for red and green house boys. The whole block was for the JSS 1 boys. Behind us was the latrine toilet and in front of us was the statue of a boy and girl joined at the arms reading.
My bed space was on the upper bunk and as I went to bed, I got to meet the guy whose bunk was next to mine, Sesan Raji. We’ve managed to be friends till this moment, he is on my BBM contact and we have had time to go over the details of our days in Ikirun. He seems to remember many things from those early days. He told me I sang a funny song on that night of November 1. It was a song I had learnt from a comedy flick and went thus:
Oun to ba dara ni ma se s’obe mi (I will put sweet things in my soup),
Ti mo ba lowo ewedu, ma ya t’eba si o, (if I can afford ewedu, I will also prepare eba),
Ojo t’obe ba tan o, Oba loke je ki sugar wa (when the soup is exhausted, good Lord, let there be sugar at home),
Nitori sugar ladun garri (because sugar is the sweetener of garri)…
And he reminded me of how I danced on the metal bunk, displaying no fear or care. The picture of that happy little boy I was lives in my mind. I was a happy and sweet little boy.
I am @seunalade