Abolarin College where indigent children are raised as future leaders
… qualification for admission is poverty
By Clement Adeyi
Abolarin College, Oke-Ila Orangun, Osun State, has become a household name among the few secondary schools in Nigeria that offer scholarship to students. While diverse qualifications determine scholarship by a few schools that give the offer, the basic qualification for the offer at Abolarin College is poverty.
The basic qualification for the offer at Abolarin College is poverty
The school’s kind of scholarship is one that is meant for indigent children in public primary schools in Osun State, who do not have opportunity for secondary education. That is why the name of the college rings bell as the school stands like a colossus among reputable private secondary schools in the state.
If the names of legendary private secondary schools in the state were to enter the Guinness book of record, the name of Abolarin College would be written in gold.
The college which was established in September 2014, after a vision by the Orangun of Oke-Ila Orangun, Oba Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin, to give education to children of the less privileged and also raise future leaders, already has about 42 pioneer students in different universities across the country.
Oba Abolarin who always speaks glowingly about the ability of the college to fulfil its dream, told The Insight that the college’s vision and philosophy were to develop human capital as future leaders.
The essence of Abolarin College is to build a better future
He disclosed that the college’s approach to achieving this was driven by not only academic, but also inculcation of good morals, character as well as skill acquisition and talent development.
He noted that such capacity building strategy, which had been the hallmark of the college’s pedagogy, were the secrets of nation building possibilities and values.
“The essence of Abolarin College is to build a better future. We are determined with courage and vision to achieve this. And this is what we basically do here. The rustic ingredients to use are available. They are the children we are training here. I mean children that are not normally reckoned with because of their poor parental backgrounds, the indigent children in the streets, the children of the poor.
They are abandoned with a mindset that they are not important. But they are the ones that Abolarin College is interested in. They can become very important in their generation if given proper training. They have talents and skills buried in them which need to be discovered, developed and maximised for value addition,” Oba Abolarin said.
He added: “The Holy books states clearly that the poor should never be abandoned and that the weak must be taken care of. We must try as much as possible to reduce poverty as it is not possible to eliminate it totally. Our students are products of abandoned, neglected public primary schools in Osun State.”
If they are disciplined and trained and made to work hard, you could discover the rich qualities in them
“If they are disciplined and trained and made to work hard, you could discover the rich qualities in them. If the qualities are developed, then you have the right human capital that would rebuild the nation tomorrow. Education is meant for nation building. That is why our passion is to give our students the right education,” he added.
Against these backgrounds, the college’s prayer is: “Make me a servant, humble and meek. Lord, let me lift those who are weak.”
May the next leaders we shall have understand the fact that they are servants of the people
The monarch who also stressed that nation- building was a function of a people-oriented leadership, called on Nigerian leaders never to be selfish but must be concerned about the masses’ wellbeing. He disclosed that Abolarin College had been preaching good leadership and nation building gospel to the students so that they could tread the path when they become leaders in their time.
“May the next leaders we shall have understand the fact that they are servants of the people. Even, kings too must understand that they are servants of the people. Power lies with the people. Nobody should aggrandize or appropriate the power of the people. Doing so is like playing God,” he noted.
“Power is meant to develop capacity and resources for nation building. These ideals can only be driven by right education. Public service is not for money nor to amass wealth. It is for service to the people. It’s different from the private sector that is profit-oriented. If you are in public service or a political leader, you are a servant of the people. The ultimate is to create legacies, build a future, using the template of today to build legacies for tomorrow. You are not even likely to witness it. The school children are the template,” the monarch stressed.
“The great legacies that the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo set in 1955 is what we are experiencing in the South West till date. But he is gone. He only saw a bit of it. Nation building is not something that can be done overnight. Education is key. This is the essence of Abolarin College. If I am a monarch with all the exposure that I have and I am in Oke-Ila Orangun, then I should be able to build the nation in my own way. Before I became a king, this had always been my aspiration. For me, the best place for me to be in the world is Oke-Ila Orangun and by God’s grace, I am fulfilling remarkable aspirations here.”
While speaking on the qualifications for admission into the college, the monarch said: “They must come from a public school. They must come from poor families. They must be indigent children.”
He disclosed that though the college was in Yoruba land, admission of students was not limited to Yoruba indigenes as students could come from any part of Nigeria, regardless of tribe or gender.
“Our children are from all over Nigeria.
We have Hausa students from Borno, we have them from Igede and Tiv (in Benue State), we have Ibo students from Imo, we have them Edo, we have them from Kwara, we have them from Niger Delta. We do not discriminate because we are building Nigerians today that will build Nigeria
tomorrow and any tribe can do this if given the right education. This is what we are busy doing at Abolarin College.”
“It’s not right to profess unity in diversity with words of mouth alone. We must demonstrate it. At Abolarin College, we teach our children to see humanity as one. Our leaders don’t allow us to see beauty in diversity. If all the 135 students that we have were from Oke-Ila Orangun or were Yoruba, it would be monotonous and anti-unity. Let’s celebrate diversity. Let’s harness the talents all over Nigeria and educate them because they are not peculiar to a particular tribe or race.
Oba Abolarin expressed delight that the college had been able to train and still trains students in special skills and talents which they would use to support academic knowledge to be job creators and self-reliant in future.
“Our students are not only into academic, they are also into skilful ventures. They use their hands to produce what they enjoy. They cook for themselves, they clean their environments, they farm and produce what they eat. We have yams, we have maize barn, we have animal husbandry and raise goats and sheep. We have actors and actresses. We have dancers and singers,. We have talking drummers. We have farmers and agriculturists. They love agriculture and practice it. Our students are very creative, talented and skillful. The bible says, a man’s gift maketh way for him and bringeth him before great men.”
When Abolarin College was founded about nine years ago, the pioneer students’ dreams of becoming university students seemed to be too long. But just like yesterday, 42 of them are in different universities across the country. The founder, Oba Abolarin, disclosed that about 10 of them have been admitted into some universities in the 2022/2023 academic session. He said that in the next two years, some of them will become university graduates.
The school’s hostel ambience is reminiscent of the convenience structure that existed in the good days of boarding system in public schools in Nigeria as the students (of Abolarin College) observe one hour siesta after school, go for evening prep, play, take their dinner, listen to network news and CNN, pray and go to bed. They also enjoy their three square meals.
Oba Abolarin said he had great expectations from the children in future just like other Nigerians who are conscious of the impacts of the school on them.
“I have implicit faith in the future of the children and Nigeria as our country. Despite the myriads of challenges we are having as a people,
if all hands are on deck, Nigeria can be made a better place, but government alone can not do it. We must jettison incompetence and corruption. If we have the brightest and best hands in all human endeavours in Nigeria can become a better place. We are building these children to make meaningful impacts in the foreseeable future.
The principal, Mr Omidun Olanrewaju and some teachers also bared their minds on the school, the academic standard and other activities: “The students are highly disciplined and committed. They show commitment to studies whether their teachers are with them or not. At Abolarin College, we insist on discipline and commitment on the part of the teachers too. We make sure that they sign lesson attendance to enforce commitment.
The Physics teacher, Mr Adigun Adewale, said: “We are working on electromagnet. This has to do with production of charges and currents through the widening of coils. They can be used for fans.
The students are being taught how to do this.”
Biology teacher, Adeyemi Mary, said: “The students are passionate about reproduction topic because we use it to expose them, especially the females, to sex education and the dangers of premarital sex.”
The Chemistry teacher, Peter Pelumi Adeosun, said: “We teach them saponification which is how to use chemicals to make soap, either hard or liquid soap as well as soapy and soapless detergent. We have done electrolysis. We are hoping to produce oxygen and hydrogen in the lab.”
Makinde Emmanuel, one of the students picked from a correctional centre by Oba Abolarin said: “I was a rascal. I used to be a very stubborn boy and a problem to my father. So, he took me to a correctional centre in Osogbo in 2019. I spent one year there until kabiyesi came and picked me and enrolled me into Abolarin College. When I came, they started teaching me good morals. Kabiyesi took me like his biological son and counselled me a lot. I am now in S.S I and I have been reformed. My ambition is to become a governor of Osun State and make the state and Nigeria better.”