MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Thirty years after she had taught a set of students English language at Oshodi Secondary School, Olodi Apapa Lagos, it was a great joy for Mrs. Philipa Okonji; to re-unite with old her students at the weekend in Lagos. She was excited and full of praises for the achievements so far in life.
Speaking on Saturday at the 30th anniversary/re-union of the college’s old student association at Leila’s Place Hotel, Okota Lagos, Okonji who hails from Ibusa, Delta State told journalists that she was overwhelmed seeing how grown, mature and professionally qualified students she taught three decades ago have become.
She added that it was quite interesting that she could be remembered and invited to the re-union party. On a lighter note she said: “when I told my son that I was invited to the event by my old students, he screamed saying that these students must be wonderful to have remembered me when himself could not remember the name of any of his college teachers.
“So, it is a remarkable day for me because these students of 1992 set were the very first set of secondary students I taught English language in my teaching career. I taught in six secondary schools but I later discovered that those I taught at Oshodi Secondary School were the most intelligent.
“I feel so overwhelmed to know that some of them are now doctors, engineers, businessmen, journalists, teachers and so on. It is my prayer that they keep the flag flying because it has always been the prayer of parents and teachers that their children would be greater than them. That has always been my prayer.”
The former English teacher who retired from service in 2021 would also like her former students to take life easy wherever they find themselves as life itself is full of ups and downs.
The Vice President of the Old Student Association, Mrs. Evelyn Usman; currently a senior journalist with VANGUARD newspaper described Mrs. Okonji as a highly disciplined teacher who inculcated in them not only discipline but other virtues which have contributed in making them who they are, in the society currently.
In her words, “I could remember one day something happened in the class and our teacher; Mrs. Okonji wanted an explanation from us. I stood up to speak. That was my first time to stand in the class to actually express myself in English language not in pidgin English we were used to, in our local environment. She was highly impressed that I could express myself without any grammatical blunder.
“I am so overwhelmed that this 30th anniversary and re-union has afforded us opportunity see our former teacher and old classmates again. I am personally overwhelmed.”
Earlier in his address President of the Association which is christened Oshodi Royal Eminent Old Student Association Class of ’92, Mr. Egbedi Greg Irikefe said within the 30 years they left the college, many dreams may have been accomplished, many dashed while many are still on the road to achieving their dreams, but above, the old students have every reason to thank God.
Speaking to journalists on the sideline at the event, Secretary of the Association Mr. Abimbola Akindolire said he was excited that the anniversary had afforded the old students opportunity to meet once again and share their happiness and celebrate one another.
He explained further that the occasion was also an opportunity for them to give account of their activities in the past years emphasising that in 2021 the Association upgraded the library at their Alma mater by equipping it with new books and chairs. He hinted that the old students have put plan in place to organise seminars for the students particularly for Senior Secondary Three students who would soon enter the world.
“We need to sensitize them on the challenges they might encounter. We also plan to assist members of the Association with soft loans.”
The old students numbering no fewer than forty seven, reside in different parts of Nigeria and engaged in different professions. Many of them were in attendance at the one day colourful event.