The return of St Thomas Aquinas College, Akure to the Catholic Mission by the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu after 10 years of clamoring for the return is a decision that will resonate with all progressive people in the land because every parent has the constitutional right to send his or her child to a public or private school, as they choose.
This was the declaration of Hon Justice (Dr.) Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi, the National and Worldwide President of Aquinas College Akure Old Students Association (ACAOSA) at the Anniversary Lecture and concluding events in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the College in Akure recently.
The Emeritus Judge whilst thanking the Governor for the progressive decision further contended that the decision was historically correct, constitutionally correct, democratically correct,
economically sound and morally just.
Hon. Justice (Dr.) Olateru-Olagbegi recalled that the old students, under the auspices of the Association had in the past donated science laboratory equipments and an Assembly Hall to the School and funded 24 different projects worth several millions of naira including a sports Pavillion, Clinics, new front and back gates and the refurbishment of classrooms and administrative buildings, as part of the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the school.
The Anniversary Lecturer, himself an old boy of the school and a National merit award winner, Prof Francis Abiodun Oluwole, in his paper titled “Aquinas College: Case for a Centre of excellence,”
reviewed the history of proprietorships of secondary schools in Nigeria and the quality of education respectively rendered by them. He concluded that standards had fallen since the takeover of schools by Governments in the 1970s.
He spoke glowingly of the historical trademark of academic and sporting excellence of Aquinas College from inception, characterized by the school’s 100 percent success rate of its students at all external examinations when the school was being run by the Catholic Mission. He expressed confidence that with the return of the school to the Catholic Mission, the School was on the path of return to the glorious days of academic excellence, sporting excellence and trademark of integrity of its students.
The Catholic Bishop of Ondo Diocese, the Most Revd. Dr. Jude Arogundade, on his own part, recalled the Mission’s request for almost 10 years to take the school back. He also expressed gratitude to the Governor for the return of the school, stating that the Catholic Mission with the active and reliable partnership and support of the old students which had been demonstrated over the years, were well prepared for the challenge of receiving the school back . He said the Mission had a track record of running first class schools and producing future leaders of repute. He looked forward to September 2022 when the first set of JSS1 students will be admitted under the new dispensation.
The occasion was attended by the Governor of the State who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Chief Femi Agagu. Also at the occasion was the State’s Hon Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye; The Representative of the Deji of Akureland and two other National merit award winners/old students of the school, Prof. Sylvester Feyi Adegoke and Prof Oye Gureje.
Another old student of the iconic school who was at the occasion was Ambassador Luyi Rotimi, the Olujigba of Ijigba, Akureland. The Principal of the school, Michael Afolabi was present at the occasion, as were Dr Sola Adefemi, Life Patron of the North America chapter of the Old Boys Association; Benjamin Ogedegbe, Chairman of the Europe chapter; Past President Smart Fadayomi; Sir Patrick Adedapo-Aisida and Prof Ambrose Aiyelari, the chairman of the Anniversary Planning Committee.