The Place of GSS Ilorin 1950 Alumni In History

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By Abubakar Imam

The principal objective of every educational institution, including Government Secondary School (GSS), Ilorin, which was at a time in its chequered history known as Ilorin Middle School, is the production of well trained and responsible individuals. These individuals are expected to be well equipped with necessary knowledge and skills required for self-development and self-actualisation. The beneficiaries are also expected to be empowered with every other thing they would need to contribute to the peace, progress, unity and development of their communities and to human society at large.

From records, it is apparent that the School, which was established in 1914, has been quite successful in the achievement of this core objective through the impacts of many of its highly distinguished alumni at local, national and global levels. It is important to say that each of the sets of graduates of the 110 years old school parades truly and thoroughly outstanding alumni. Quite a number of the products of this School have not only positively dominated their environments, but they have also brought remarkable glory to the name and reputation of the school and to the ancient city of Ilorin, just as they have equally raised the status of their individual families.

This piece is, however, focused at discussing the careers and contributions of students of the 1950 set of the great and famous GSS, Ilorin.

Why this? The piece is inspired by the need to encourage alumni and most especially current generations of students of the School to emulate their illustrious predecessors for it to remain great and for them to be great as well.

In terms of academic status, the school was like a present-day junior secondary school as it essentially served as a link between primary schools (then known as Elementary Schools) and the Secondary Schools and Elementary Teachers Training Colleges and similar educational institutions available particularly in the old Northern Region.

It was also the highest government-owned educational institution in the defunct Ilorin Province, which covered the entire present-day Kwara State and the Borgu segment of contemporary Niger State.

It must be stated that, like most of his previous contributions, the effort of this author shall be limited to only Ilorin indigenes of the 1950 set of Ilorin Middle School.

These gentlemen as young boys were admitted into the School in 1945. They completed their studies in December, 1950.

Available evidence shows that they were enrolled principally from four Elementary Schools existing in Ilorin Emirate of that time. The schools were those located at Okesuna, Pakata and Malete, which were founded in 1915, 1934 and 1936, respectively. Another school, which fed the Ilorin Middle School, was St. Barnabas School, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin, which was established about 1940.

Two common peculiarities observed among these individuals were that most of them were born around the same year.Most of them also adopted the names of the Compounds, Quarters or Villages they hailed from or were sojourning as their surnames. Some of the students also got enrolled with their panegyric or praise poetry name known as “oriki” in Yoruba Language.

It is, however, important to say that some of these individuals later changed their adopted names to their proper surnames after leaving the school.

The total number of those admitted into the School in 1945 as earlier stated was 54 out of which 33 hailed from Ilorin Emirate. A member of the set, Alhaji Safi’i Adebayo Usuf, joined the school at Middle II as he had started his education in Onitsha in the present-day Anambra State.

The 1950 set was preceded immediately by those who graduated in 1949. They included Alhaji Akanbi Mahmud Oniyangi (1930-2006), the first Wali of Ilorin and second republic Minister of Communication, Defence and Industries at various times under President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari between 1979 and 1983; Alhaji Yusuf Amuda Gobir, OFR, (1934-1975), a super federal Permanent Secretary who manned the Ministry of Defence during the Nigeria Civil War and was not only the first to attain the enviable position but also the youngest so far in the history of Ilorin Emirate and Kwara State; Alhaji Yakubu Amori Gobir (1931-2012), who was one of the pioneer Permanent Secretaries in Kwara State; Alhaji Amuda Ahmadu Gobir, aka Amuda Agba (1930-1980), who was a teacher and later a prominent senior civil servant; Ambassador Abdulkadir Muhammad Sambo Imam (1932-2022), a one-time Nigeria’s envoy to Egypt; and the current Wali of Ilorin and second republic Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State, Alhaji Shehu Usman Mustapha (b.1930), among others.

The 1950 set was closely followed by that of the 1951 set comprising its Head-Boy, Justice Saka Yusuf, OFR (d. 2018), the third Chief Judge of Kwara State and former National President of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU); Justice Abdulkadir Orire, CON (1934-2021), the pioneer Grand Kadi of Kwara State, who was also a former National Vice President of IEDPU; and Alhaji Saidu Ajao Gomih (1934-2011), the third republic Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly and quite a number of others.

Before I proceed with the discussion on the members of the 1950 set, I must thank my consistent positive collaborator, Dr Yusuf Bolakale Lawal of the University of Abuja, who availed me the list. He too got it from a friend of his, who incidentally was also my mentor in the course of my very brief sojourn as a student of the Kwara State College of Education, Oro, between 1991 and 1992; Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulsalam. Alhaji Abdulsalam was the Director, Legal Affairs Unit, Department of State Services (DSS). The fathers of the two gentlemen are on the list.

The 1950 graduates of the School were taught by renowned educationists such as Mukadam Sule Olohuntele of Okesuna, who was the Headmaster; Imam Abdulhameed Abdulkadir, who later served as the Imam Imale of Ilorin from 1961 to 1964 and was the father of the current Imam Imale of Ilorin, Shaykh Abdullahi Abdulhameed; Alhaji Abdulsalami Olomoda, the father of Senator Ayinla Olomoda, OON; Mallam AbdulRaheem Okekere; Mallam Saidu Kawu, who later served as the pioneer Chief Judge of Kwara State and subsequently as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria; and Alhaji Yusuf Idiaro, among others that included expatriates.

Now to the members of the 1950 set, who shall be taken as arranged by the original compiler of the list. Alhaji Saka Aremu Yahaya Alesinloye, who was enrolled as Saka Idi-Ape at the School, was the number one on the list prepared in 1966. Alhaji Alesinloye, a veteran journalist and public servant, whose journalistic experience crisscrossed all forms of media practice, embraced fame as the only Chief Press Secretary who served two Nigerian Heads of State consecutively. He was appointed by General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, who ruled between 1975 and 1976. Following the unfortunate assassination of General Muhammed, Alhaji Alesinloye was retained by General Olusegun Obasanjo, whose tenure lasted between 1976 and 1979. Alhaji Alesinloye eventually left the services of the Federal Government in September, 1977. He was also the media professional who pioneered private public relations practice in Nigeria. He eventually emerged as the 17th Baba Isale of Ilorin in 1983. He was the Chairman of the Board of the Kwara State Printing and Publishing Corporation between 1999 and 2003 and before then a member of the Board of Directors of Daily Times, the oldest surviving Nigeria’s newspaper, where he cut his teeth as a young journalist. He bequeathed to humanity a book titled “Serving The Nation”, which is his autobiography. Alhaji Alesinloye was born on August 21, 1933. He died on May 4, 2007 and was survived by many children including Dr Suleiman Alesinloye, Engr AbdulRahman Alesinloye and Engr Folajinmi Alesinloye, who is currently the Director of Works, Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin.

The second person on the list is Alhaji Ibrahiim Ade Yusuf, who was enrolled as Adelodun Idi-Ape. Like Alhaji Alesinloye, Alhaji Ade Yusuf as he became popularly known in his adulthood, was also a member of the Baba Isale traditional chieftaincy family of Ilorin and, also a veteran journalist who retired from public service as the Chief Information Officer in the Sokoto State civil service. He was subsequently appointed by the administration of the first Civilian Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Adamu Atta, as the General Manager of the Kwara Hotel, Ilorin. He was the Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation between 1984 and 1985. This outstanding journalist was also the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin and a member of the Board of Directors of the defunct Trade Bank, during the administration of Rear Admiral Mohammed Lawal, MBA, mni; as the Executive Governor of Kwara State from 1999 to 2003. Alhaji Ade Yusuf died on Monday, September 8, 2008. He was born in 1933. His children include a Pilot, Captain Kayode Yusuf; Mr Tunde Yusuf, a chartered accountant; Tokunbo Yusuf, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who is currently serving with the Lagos State Police Command and Mrs Tinuke Razaq Lawal.

The third on the list was Ambassador Abubakar Garba Gobir. One of the sons of Mallam Muhammadu Ajeigbe Gobir, the first Waziri of Ilorin and a pioneer graduate of the famous Katsina Training College (now Barewa College, Zaria), Ambassador Gobir was born on June 16, 1934 and died on November 11, 1996. He was a teacher, administrator and diplomat of repute who headed Nigeria foreign missions in different countries before his appointment as a Permanent Secretary in the federal civil service. He was the third indigene of Ilorin to attain the position of a federal Permanent Secretary coming after his younger brother, Alhaji Yusuf Amuda Gobir and Alhaji Abdulkadir Oba (Oba Agbaji), who also graduated from the Ilorin Middle School earlier. Prior to his retirement in 1988, Ambassador Gobir served as Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministries of Mines, Steel and Power, Federal Capital Territory and Agriculture. One of his several successful children is Alhaji Yakubu Garba Gobir, a prominent business mogul, influential philanthropist and outstanding politician, who is also the Madawaki of Ilorin and Waziri Kasar Hausa.

Next on the list is Alhaji Mosadi Umar, who was enrolled as MosadiOlorun Eri-Oko. He was a teacher, administrator and a member of the pioneer set of Permanent Secretaries in the Kwara State civil service. He was also the Chairman of the Union Bank of Nigeria PLC from 1984 to 1985. Alhaji Mosadi Umar died in February 1995.

Another member of the set was Alhaji Omomeji Agbaji. Alhaji Agbaji was a teacher who taught in a number of schools across the Ilorin Emirate before rising to the rank of Headmaster. In 1970, Alhaji Agbaji transferred his services to the National Provident Fund (now Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF). In 1988, he was deployed to Akwa Ibom State as the State Controller. He subsequently retired in 1989. He also served as the Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP).He died on July 21, 2007. Alhaji Agbaji was survived by many children including a retired seasoned financial technocrat, Alhaji Salihu T. Hussain; a former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof.Abdulkabir Hussain Soliu; Dr Sherifat Hussain-Abubakar, a renowned scholar of Islamic Studies and Head, Department of Religions, History and Cultural Heritage, Kwara State University, Malete, who is also a spouse of Prof. Abdullahi S.Abubakar, a former Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin; and Mrs Fatima Hussain Aliyu of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, among others.

Mallam Yakubu Alore was also a member of the 1950 set of the School. He was an administrator who rose to the status of the Secretary of the defunct Ilorin Native Authority.

Next on the list was the Honourable Justice Mahmud Babatunde Belgore (1936-2011). Justice Belgore, who was enrolled as Baba Ajanaku at the School, left the Ilorin Middle School for Offa Grammar School, Offa, for his School Certificate programme. He eventually qualified as a legal practitioner in 1960 and emerged as the second indigene of Ilorin Emirate to become a lawyer after the pioneer Mutawali of Ilorin, Alhaji AbdulGaniyu Folorunsho AbdulRazaq, OFR, SAN. Justice Belgore was the Ag. Solicitor-General of the defunct Northern Region. He was also a member of the first generation of Permanent Secretaries in the Kwara State civil service. He left the state civil service to join the federal judiciary in 1973. This outstanding patriot was the first indigene of the defunct Northern Region to sit on the bench of a federal court. He rose through the ranks to become the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria in 1987. He remains the longest serving holder of the position. He retired in 2001 at the age of 65. He was honoured with the titles of Magayaki of Gwandu and Wali of Ilorin. Among his children is Alhaji Mohammed Dele Belgore, a seasoned legal practitioner and the third indigene of Ilorin Emirate to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

This list also includes Alhaji Musa Nuhu, who was enrolled as Musa Gada. He was a Health and Sanitary Inspector in the Northern Region and he retired in 1978. He later became the leader of the Ahmadiyyah Muslim Jamaa in Ilorin prior to his death on November 1, 2015.

The 1950 list also comprised Alhaji Sani Adebayo Lawal (1933-2011) who was enrolled as Akan’o Agor. Alhaji Lawal, a seasoned public servant, broadcaster, politician and community leader, served as the Commissioner for Industry and later Chieftaincy Affairs under Governor Adamu Atta of Kwara State in the second republic. He held the position between 1979 and 1982. He was popularly known as “Lawani Akowe Oba” as he served as the Principal Private Secretary to the 9th and penultimate Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, CFR. In 1976, he transferred his services to the Kwara State Government. Alhaji Lawal was a prominent politician, opinion moulder and community leader, who served as the National Publicity Secretary of Ilorin Divisional Progressive Union (now Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union). He was the father of an erstwhile Director at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and currently the Director, University Advancement, University of Abuja, Dr Yusuf Bolakale Lawal, fsi. Other children of Alhaji S.A. Lawal are Mallam AbdulRazaq Lawal,a Banker with WEMA Bank; Hajiya Hafast Lawal of the Ministry of Defence; Barrister Hafsat Lawal ,the Head of Human Resources of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Barrister Abdulfatai Lawal, a Director with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and my own schoolmate, Alhaji Hassan Lawal, the Coordinator of the Kwara State Office of JAMB, among many others.

Next on the list is Alhaji Ahmad-Hambali Olanrewaju Abdulsalam who was enrolled as Ambali Pakata. He was a veterinary expert who rose to the rank of Chief Veterinary Officer in the Kano State Ministry of Agriculture. He was the father of Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Abdulsalam, who rose to become a Director at the Department of State Services; Alhaji Suleiman Kola Abdulsalam, a Deputy Director at the University of Ilorin; and Hajiya Raliat Bodunrin Saleeman, a retired Chief Lecturer, Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, among several others. A younger brother of Alhaji Amori Gidado, the first Secretary of Ilorin General Hospital; Alhaji Abdulsalam was born on October 13, 1933. He died on August 17, 1983, which was about two months to the anniversary of his golden birthday.

Equally on the list is Alhaji Aremu Sidiq Mannah who was enrolled as Aremu Ajikobi. He was one of the youngest members of the set. Alhaji Aremu Sidiq Mannah hails from Ile Mannah, Ajikobi Quarters, Ilorin. He was one of the children of a very rich Ilorin merchant, Alhaji Sidiku Mannah. Alhaji Mannah, who was born on March 21, 1936, recalled that he left the Ilorin Middle School for Barewa College, Zaria, along with the Ilorin Emirate’s first Professor, Prof. Saka Nuru; Senator Ayinla Olomoda, OON; and Dr Abdulkadir Babatunde Suleiman, who was a member of the first generation of Medical Doctors produced by Ilorin Emirate. Alhaji Mannah was, thereafter, trained at the Technical Institute (now Kaduna Polytechnic), Kaduna, from 1957 to 1960. He subsequently joined the services of the Ilorin Native Authority as an Engineering Assistant. In 1964, he transferred his services to the Federal Government and eventually retired as a Principal Technical Officer, Federal Ministry of Works in 1980. He subsequently served as Special Adviser (Security Matters) to the first elected Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Adamu Atta, between February and September, 1980. He also served as the National Vice President of IEDPU. Alhaji Mannah, who hosted this researcher at his residence in Ilorin on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, is still alive as at the date of this publication.His children include Engr Abdulmumeen Sidiq, Engr AbdulGaniy Sidiq and Mrs Falilat Basambo, among others.

The immediate past Baba Isale of Ilorin, Alhaji Baba K. Bello, who was enrolled as Baba Kekere was also a member of the 1950 set. He started out as a Livestock Superintendent before transferring his services to the National Leather Research Institute, Zaria. He was born in 1932 and died as the Baba Isale of Ilorin and a member of the Ilorin Emirate Council on November 17, 2017. He was survived by many children including Barrister Abass B.K. Bello, Hajiya Fatima Giwa and Hajiya Khadija Isah Babaita.

Alhaji Safi’i Adebayo Usuf, who died on February 26, 2021, was also a member of the set. He was enrolled as Safi Pakata. He started his career as an administrative officer in the services of the Northern Regional Government. He later joined the services of the Nigerian Airways as one of its pioneer staff members. He was also at a time the Public Relations Officer of the defunct Ilorin Agricultural Development Project (IADP) before relocating to the United States of America. He died as the Magaji Olodo family of Oke-Ikoyi Quarters in the Adeta area of Ilorin. He was survived by many children including Mr AbdulAzeez Yusuf,who is a publisher based in the Republic of the Gambia; Alhaja Salimota Saka Yusuf; a business tycoon and Alhaja Bolanle Yusuf, who is a Lagos-Based business magnate.

In the1950 set was also Alhaji AbdulRahman Lagbe. He was enrolled as Lagbe Eri-Oko. He started his career as a teacher and taught in a number of schools. He later joined the Nigeria Immigration Service from where he retired in 1992 as a Chief Superintendent of Immigration (CSI).

Alhaji Ishaq Ajadi Apalando, who lived between 1930 and 1992, was also a member of the set. He was a member of the famous Apalando family of Ilorin, who was enrolled as Ajadi Apalando. He served in the judiciary and rose to the rank of President of Ilorin Upper Area Court and retired in 1990. He died in 1992. Alhaji Apalando was survived by many outstanding children including Hajiya Hafsat Issa, a Deputy Director at the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Commission; Alhaji Abdulmumeen Isiaq Apalando, a retired senior staff of the Court of Appeal, Ekiti Division; Alhaji Ismail Taiye Ajadi Apalando, a building contractor and Alhaji Abdullahi Isiaq, who is self-employed.

The list equally comprises Alhaji Musa Muhammad Alakoso. He was a member of the popular Alakoso family of Ajikobi Quarters, Ilorin. He was enrolled in Ilorin Middle School as Musa Alakoso. He worked with the Ilorin Town Council in the 1960s. After further studies at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Alhaji Alakoso was appointed as a member of the Area Court. He sat on the Area Court Panel in Kiama, Ajase-Ipo, Iponrin and Ilorin. He retired from the judiciary in 1993. He died in September, 1999. Among his children is Lt.Col. Ibrahim Alakoso of the Nigerian Army.

The 1950 set also included Alhaji Musa Ayinde Adebayo. Alhaji Adebayo was enrolled as Musa Malete. He was born on January 2,1928. He was initially in the Forestry Department before joining the financial sector after graduating from the London School of Commerce in 1953. He was again trained at the Institute of Administration, Zaria in 1959 and eventually at the London School of Accountancy in 1959. He was a staff of the Treasury Division, Kwara State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development who served in Lokoja and Kabba, among other places. Alhaji Adebayo was the National Treasurer of the Ilorin Divisional Progressive Union (now Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union) in the late 1960s. He eventually retired from the services of the Kwara State Government in 1984. He was survived by wives and children including Alhaji Murtala Adebayo, Alhaji Abdulmutalub Adebayo, Alhaji Usman Adebayo, Alhaji Kamaldeen Adebayo,Mrs Rabiat Adebayo and Mrs Mulikat Abolore Adebayo.

Mallam Katsina Aluko, who later became Abubakar Katsina was also in the set. He was an Assistant Chief Clerk in the Northern Nigeria Ministry of Education. He was said to have died young at Bukuru in the present-day Plateau State.

Mallam Jimoh Gegele (not Jimoh Gegele who was a contemporary of the Sarduana of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello at the Katsina Training College) who was also from the Gegele area of Ilorin, was a fascinating sprinter and athlete during his days at the School. He was a clerical officer as at 1966 and died in Kano where he eventually lived his adult years.

Alhaji Hamidu Eyitayo Aluko, the current Imam of the ancient Ikokoro Mosque, Oke-Aluko, Ilorin, was also a member of the set. He was a grandson of the famous author of the pioneer work on the history of Ilorin, Shaykh Ahmad ibn Abubakar Omo-Ikokoro and an elder brother of the Member representing Ilorin East/Ilorin South Federal Constituency and Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation in the House of Representatives, Dr Ahmed Yinka Aluko. Alhaji Aluko is a trained teacher who served in several primary schools before his retirement as a Headmaster. He attended both the Keffi Teachers Training College and Lokoja Teachers Training College, where he earned his Grade III and Grade II Teacher Certificates, respectively. This cleric-teacher is one of the surviving members from Ilorin Emirate of the 1950 set as at the date of this publication (April, 2024) as he granted this researcher an interview on Monday, March 11, 2024. One of his children is Hajiya Asiata Bola Eletu, a seasoned Nursing Officer and wife of a retired Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Yinusa Saka Eletu.

Also on the list of the 1950 graduates of the Ilorin Middle School was Alhaji Mahmoud Kawu Aluko, who lived between 1930 and 1995. He was enrolled as Kawukah Aluko. Alhaji Aluko, who was also a member of the scholarly Alikali Ikokoro family of Oke-Aluko, Ilorin, trained as a Nurse after leaving the school. He worked for many years in the Ilorin Native Authority before transferring his services to the Kwara State Government. Among the children of this patriot is the pioneer General Manager/Chief Executive of the Kwara State Television Service and the penultimate Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Dr Is-haq Modibbo Kawu, FNGE.

The 1950 set also includes Alhaji Salihu Akanbi Elelu who was enrolled as Salihu Elelu. He was born in 1934 and became an Health Inspector with the Northern Regional Government in Kaduna. He later transferred his services to the Kwara State Government and worked at the State Ministry of Health where he retired in 1990. Alhaji Salihu Akanbi Elelu died in August,1990. One of his children, Rafiu Bolaji Elelu, is an accomplished banker and financial expert who has been appointed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to serve on the Board of Directors of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI).

Also on the list is another Elelu. Alhaji Aliyu Baba Elelu, who was enrolled as Baba Elelu. He was trained in Veterinary Studies in Vom near Jos in today’s Plateau State in 1960s. He worked and retired from the Veterinary Department of the Ilorin West Local Government . Alhaji Aliyu Baba Elelu was born on December 23, 1932. He died on February 28, 2009. He was survived by children including Hajiya Iyabo Elelu Okanlawon, who is a trader and Mrs Bola Elelu-Jimada, who is a Lecturer at the Federal Training Centre, Ilorin and a widow of the late Dr Ali Jimada.

Another famous member of the set was Alhaji Muhammad Raji Babatunde Alanamu. Alhaji Alanamu was a politician, business mogul and socialite. He worked briefly at the Forestry Department of the Ilorin Native Authority before venturing into private business. He died on Monday, November 17, 1997. He was the father of Honourable Aisha Tundun Alanamu, the current member representing Ilorin North-West (Ajikobi/Alanamu) Constituency at the Kwara State House of Assembly.

Alhaji Hamidu Gambari Erubu, MFR, CON,(1931-2024) was another member of the 1950 set. He was a teacher, administrator and financial technocrat. He was the Director, Adult Education Centre of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was also the Chairman of the Kwara State Civil Service Commission from 1980 to 1983. He equally served as the pioneer Registrar/Head of Administration, Open University (now National Open University of Nigeria) towards the end of the tenure of President Shehu Usman Shagari. He later served as the Head of Administration, National Universities Commission (NUC) during the Buhari- Idiagbon military regime. He equally served at the presidency during the tenure of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida before retiring home. Among his children are Prof. Binta Sulyman of the Kwara State University, Malete, a retired Diplomat, Ambassador Ahmed Bashar Erubu, Mrs Maimuna Joko Folami and Mr Abdul Erubu, who works with the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC); and Hajiya Aishat Peju Alaya,a retired Director, Kwara State House of Assembly,whose daughter, Risikat Nike Ahmed, was recently elevated to the rank of Professor at the Department of Microbiology by the authorities of the University of Ilorin.

Also on the list of the 1950 graduates is Alhaji Suleiman Okandeji Akanbi. He was enrolled as Okandeji Eri-Oko. He was a Press Engineer who retired as a senior official of the Government Printers, Ilorin. He was the father of Hajiya Aminat Ibrahim, the wife of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim, GCON; and Alhaji Muhammad Tunde Akanbi, the Chairman of the Kwara State chapter of the League of Veteran Journalists of Nigeria, who also served as the Chairman of the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in the early 2000s. Alhaji S.O. Akanbi died in 2010.

Mallam Layinka Arogunmasa, who was enrolled at the School as Layinka Eri-Oko, was an elder brother of Alhaji Mosadi Umar, who was also a member of the set. Their father was Alhaji Jimoh Arogunmosa. Layinka died shortly after the completion of his education at the Ilorin Middle School.

Mallam Adisa Aluko, who later became known as Alhaji Garba Adisa Mustapha, was from Isale Aluko area of Ilorin. He was a younger brother of Alhaji Shehu Usman Mustapha. Alhaji Garba Adisa was a Works Superintendent in 1966. He later served as a Vehicle Inspector Officer. He was popularly known as Adisa V.I.O. He was survived by Alhaji Adam Mustapha, who retired from the Supreme Court of Nigeria; Alhaji Tajudeen Mustapha, a Commander of Narcotics with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Alhaji Taofeeq Mustapha, a Regional Manager with JAIZ Bank; Alhaji AbdulHakeem Mustapha, Chairman, Dan Alikali Transport Service and Alhaji Taiye Mustapha of NIMASA, among others. Alhaji Mustapha, who retired from active service in 1984, died on October 9, 1999.

Alhaji Adebayo Mape, who was enrolled as Adebayo Idi-Ape, became a teacher before venturing into the business of petroleum products and later became a big-time palm oil dealer. He was quite close to the family of the third Military Governor of Kwara State, the then Colonel George Agbazikah Innih. This was because Adebayo Mape’s father, who was also a business tycoon, used to ply his business between Agenebode in the present-day Edo State, the hometown of Innih, and Ilorin. The former Military Governor and his mother were said to frequently visit the Mape House at Idi-Ape. Alhaji Adebayo Mape died in November, 2002. Alhaji Adebayo Mape’s son, Alhaji Taofiq Mape is the current Chairman of Dealers of palm oil products in Kwara State.

Mallam Issa Arufu Malete who was also a member of the 1950 set died shortly after School.

Alhaji Dasuki Malete was also a member of this fascinating set of graduates of the erstwhile Ilorin Middle School. He was a member of the Daudu Isale-Oja family of Ilorin. The family also produces the District Head (Daudu) of the University town of Malete in the Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State. He was born on January 1,1932. Upon his graduation from the Ilorin Middle School, he was trained as a teacher. He subsequently taught in a number of primary schools across the defunct Ilorin Province. He rose to become an Headmaster prior to his retirement. Alhaji Dasuki, who died on February 1,1992, was survived by children including Mr Aliyu Ibrahim and Mr Sulaiman Ibrahim as well as Mr Ladi Ibrahim, among others.

Mallam Aliyu Baba Pupa is another member of the set who hailed from Ilorin. He served as a Road Overseer shortly after living school.

Last but not the least was Alhaji Yakubu Suleiman. Alhaji Suleiman was not captured on the list. However, information obtained from my late father, Mallam Jimoh Imam Pakata (d. 2012), who graduated from the School in 1952 and also from Alhaji Safi’i Adebayo Usuf pointed to the fact that Alhaji Suleiman was indeed a member of the set who must have been unintentionally omitted in the course of the compilation by the author. This much was confirmed from Alhaji Suleiman’s personal records as jealously preserved by his children and which was made available to this researcher. His records showed that he was trained at the School from 1945 to 1950 like those earlier discussed. He proceeded to the School of Hygiene, Kano, in January 1951 after gaining employment into the Ilorin Native Authority. He was enrolled at the Middle School as Yakubu Pakata. Alhaji Suleiman retired as an Assistant Chief Health Superintendent in the Kwara State Local Government Commission in 1987. He was born in 1934 and passed away in January, 1999. Among his children are Hajiya Selimi Yakub, who retired as a Chief Nursing Officer from the services of the Kwara State Ministry of Health; Alhaji Abdullahi Afolabi Yakub, who is a senior staff of the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Commission and Mallam Ahmed Yakubu, a Senior Quantity Surveyor at the Works Department of the University of Ilorin.

It is important to say that nearly all the gentlemen profiled here, particularly those who lived and worked within and around Ilorin, could also boast of the fact that one or more of their children passed through the institution as students. This is not so among the grandchildren of these distinguished alumni as a result of a number of factors, particularly the declining quality of services and infrastructures available in most public schools across the nation.

These inadequacies can, however, be ameliorated by the government with the support of several successful alumni of the school through the leadership of its Alumni Association. This envisaged cooperation and collaboration would surely restore the glory of the School and make it the most sought-after post-primary educational institution in Kwara State as it was decades back.

Imam is National Secretary, Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union.

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