Dr Adeola Olatunji Popoola - a Physical Therapy Specialist in New Jersey and Executive Chairman of GCIOBA-North America Branch discusses with Mrs Joy Adedeji of New African Broadcasting Network TV Station.
In the Video Interview transcribed by the GCI Museum Team, the 1971 Set Old Boy of Government College Ibadan related how the Branch's forthcoming grand breaking ENDO at Las Vegas, Nevada would be a panacea for the dismal abysmal state of education in not only his Alma Mater - GCI, but also in Nigerian Secondary Schools at large.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station

Education in Nigeria is certainly not where it used to be. Education as we all know is the key to success, growth & way out of poverty in many civilised countries.
In Nigeria, somehow, Nigeria Educational System seems to lag behind, why is that!
Today is all about education, we wanna get to the bottom of it. we have today, Dr Popoola who was a beneficial of Nigeria Education System. He attended Government College Ibadan, GCI. He is also a Professor, he was a Lecturer in Nigeria in many Western Universities in Western States. Today, he is going to give us his view.

Dr Popoola, welcome to our show.

Dr Adeola Popoola
Thank you so much Miss Joy, Am sure I can say Mrs Joy Adedeji. Am so happy, hopefully, we can talk about Nigeria and Education, because it's something that I am very passionate as well.
One, being a beneficiary of that, and two, also knowing that Nigeria gave a lot to many people.
We have to see from that point of view. Giving back to the society via committment to our own humble beginning is the most important thing a human being can do irrespective of where you are and somehow this has been lacking among Nigerians.
If we could throw a limelight into what education was, the culture of education in Nigeria at respective times, we can now see how things have been going. Instead of 'up', it is already going 'down hill' and one must not just despair or give up.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
In the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, Education in Nigeria was much more better than what it is today, take us down memory lane when you attended Government College Ibadan. Give us a little bit of an overview of what life was there and the comparison to now.

Dr Adeola Popoola
My GCI days! Am very happy to talk about that anytime. When I entered the School in 1971 at a very relatively small age of 11 years old.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Cuts-in Wow!

Dr Adeola Popoola
I was yet to become 12 years old and from my Elementary School, The "Headmaster" as we used to call them, always told us our school was the best and that any school that outperformed us, would make king on us, that he taught us to be the best.
So when I was admitted to GCI, I was the only student from my School admitted to GCI.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Cuts-in Wow!

Dr Adeola Popoola
So they made me understood that the best from each school was picked to be in GCI so I was going to GCI, with the mind that I have to show that I was going to to be a capable representative of my school. GCI was a school that already have a culture, this was a school that already had a way to deal with every single student that comes in. This was a school that was used to the multi-ethnicity all over Nigeria. It's a 'Boys-only' School. However, the distribution, its discipline was just so different. GCI ethos is a different story.
When the school was created, it was created in a little bit on a military style of running, because the first Principal, H.T.C. Field (who was a lieutenant Colonel) was a Military Officer of the then Colonial Government. He was also a Senior Educational Officer, and he was actually in the level of Minister of Education with military background, administrative background and academic background. He actually must have said in his mind that he was gonna make the best out of the school and he did really produce, but he came with about 6 other expatriates who were all ex-Militia, ex-Administrators and astute Academicians.
So the Boys developed not just the academic prowess, they developed excellently in sports, also they developed to be a very civilised people. That was the first thing.
When a new boy gets into GCI, the first thing, whatever your background whether you are from a rural area, you 've never seen street lights before or you 've been sitting in the palace, when you get to GCI, It's like they first take off your robe, and you come down to the level.
We entered well into the culture of that great school - a great citadel. And we have every thanks to our Lord for that privilege. We can't wish it better, I do not think any GCI Boy would say he wished something better, because they had the privilege that they got a kind of an all-round education.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
What are some of the current success stories of GCI?

Dr Adeola Popoola
From every Set, the number of highly dignified, very successful professionals and entrepreneurs came out of GCI, in what we call the 'School - Tior, School - Boy System' which means he protects you, he guides you, he supports you, and all through your years in GCI which in actual sense, all through your years of life, your Tior remains your tior.
We were giving a culture that the community is actually more important to the person & contribution to our community, making our community the best.
It was a huge concept of the founding fathers of GCI, the counsel behind GCI and how it was operated and what invariably led the boys to excel in their various aspects of life.
My objective today is to say that GCI experiment, the GCI mode; will work with any group of students to create a better society.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Sir, I heard that you have an Old Boys Association for GCI in North America. What is your numerical strength?

Dr Adeola Popoola
GCI Old Boys Association North America, GCIOBANA; though looks like a convoluted name, but it depicts the uniqueness of the school. Unlike other schools where there alumni chants 'Up SChool!', GCI uses 'Up GCI'. It's about us, It' all about GCI. Am privileges to be the Chairman of GCIOBA-North America which comprises USA & Canada, and that is a big umbrella.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Cuts-in Wow!

Dr Adeola Popoola
Having all these big people with you is a big challenge and a humble service which I really cherish and on this point, I feel obliged to tell my colleagues, that thank you for giving me the privilege to come and be of a little service for a little time and I hope it works.
GCI Old Boys Association interestingly was formed in 1934, the first set of graduate from GCI began GCIOBA. There is no other school that has a commitment of such. Since that time, that Association has remained and lasted.
The National Headquarters, of course is in Nigeria; and in North America, we are a Branch of National GCIOBA. North America Branch in particular was formed just to make sure that GCI Old Boys in North America are harnessed together for (i) reminiscences - so important to us, we love ourselves, we like to hang out with one another, so we normally call ourselves 'Old Boys' and our ladies are called 'Young Girls'. So every Old Boys has his Young Girl, who usually attend all our functions.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
What is the date for the ENDO?

Dr Adeola Popoola
The ENDO (i.e. End of the year party) for this year, is going to be from August 31st to September 3rd. In America here, that is the Labour Day's weekend, and because we are going to Las Vegas, we want to make sure that our Young Girls have the best of fun.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Cuts-in That's great!

Dr Adeola Popoola
It's our tradition anyway to make sure that GCI is a very interesting concept and experiment.
This year, we want the Principal to come over. The Principal is relatively a new Principal to the School, he is an Old Boy. He was a former Director of Education of the Ministry, well grounded and of course, a typical GCI Old Boy himself. So, it's obvious that we are confluence of history, I want to make the best out of it.
When the Principal comes over, he is going to be coming in the full regalia of that beautiful culture called GCI and of the new experiment the Oyo State Government is doing, to provisionally allow Governing Councils to run some of her schools.
Interestingly, the GCI Governing Council is the first one the Government is trying to put in place. So, the success of this possibly will influence others to want to take over their schools as well partially. However, the GCI Governing Council means that GCI Old Boys who are about 80% of that council as of now will have to do more in running the school.
So, there is something at stake. We want to do what we 've been doing, better; because as I said before, we now have a legal constitutional, legislative muscle. we have a voice in how the school should be run. Even this year, the entrance examination is coming back to GCI, also the Boarding Houses - the Dormitories are coming back this September.
It's a very big thing, and to do this, there is a lot of money that is needed.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Cuts-in That's right!

Dr Adeola Popoola
This ENDO is different. This ENDO is also different because when the Principal comes, he is going to talk to Principals of excellent High Schools in the Las Vegas area and rub minds, ideas; per chance, there could be a collaborative relationship between our school and some of these schools. We think we might benefit from this cross cultural experience.
The third thing which is very important is that, here in America, several Institutions - Princeton, Harvard, Yale etc normally have a programme for High School Students, their geniuses in particular to visit their school during the Summer Holidays for a 6-weeks or 8-weeks kind of mentorship, whereby they come to the institution and see how the University environment is, they attend classes with the students, they go to the Laboratories of researchers, and they are motivated.
We think if we could let that experience be extended to GCI and Nigerian students, most of these students will be very motivated. So when the Principal comes, we plan that he will meet some of the University Administrators and Professors. Luckily, we have some of GCI Old Boys in some of these notable places such as Prof. Akinwande in MIT, Prof. Ogunfunmi in Stanford University, Prof. Oguntimehin and Prof. Adeboye who are legends in their Universities, Prof. Olopade in Chicago University etc
All these schools run these programmes, when the Principal comes, he is going to meet with this group of people and other Administrators in the spheres of education and hopefully, we can see some of the excellent programmes that are available to High School students here and see whether we can take advantage of them as International students.
Whether we succeed so well, so easily, so quickly or not, we want to replicate them in Nigerian Universities and as of now, we have about 5 Old Boys who are current Vice Chancellors in both Public and Private Universities in Nigeria, and we think we can tell them to at least bring in about 5 students to their campus to see what University system is, let them see different disciplines, let them get motivated.
These are the kind of things that going forward, would impact on these young minds and can actually feel challenged to accomplish their individual goals.
It has been working so well in Europe and America; and unfortunately as easy as it looks, it has never been done in Nigeria. So whether we are able to bring the students from GCI to America, to some of these Universities - Princeton, Harvard, MIT etc is one thing.
To run the same programme in Nigeria, that means the Old Boys must have some money to be able to run the program; so the Principal's visit is not just a jamboree of excitement. We think we have to open this vista so that the current students and future students would have an avenue to get more challenged, especially the very brilliant ones and the ones that can be motivated so that they can be the best they want to be.
So we are really looking forward to having this ENDO, and am sure that by the time we have this programme, and reach to the world, they will understand what we are saying. we might be able to go to charitable organisations and other Foundations of education, and we want them to see what we are up to.
It's about giving back, it's about supporting an already structures institution.
We don't want it to disintegrate further, we want to rebuild it back in the new perspective of what the world now offers.
Up GCI as we say.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Thank you so much, we also want to use this opportunity to congratulate you and to thank the GCI Old BOys Association, because it's not easy. A lot of these legendary schools back in Nigeria may not be emulating what you are doing, so this would be another way for us to appeal to all the Old Boys and Girls' Association to be able to give back, not to forget where they came from.

Dr Adeola Popoola
Just to carry our words to them, In those days, these legacy schools competed against one another but as Old Boys and Old Girls, we should now collaborate with one another and form a cohesive group that the culture that bred us is returned back and improved upon to have a better current Generation and the future Generation to get better even more than the current Generation.

New Africa Broadcasting Network TV Station
Thank you so much.

Transcription done by the GCI Museum Team.

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