The GCI Tradition (Myths, Slangs, Nicknames, Anecdotes, Euphemisms, Jokes & General Trivia)


The School/House Family
It is an ancient GCI tradition designed to promote camaraderie and a sense of belonging among the students. In 1968, there were 4 Houses Carr (Orange), Swanston (Blue), Field (Green) and Grier (Maroon). A 5th House Powell (Purple) was added in 1973.

Upon admission into the boarding house, each first form “Boy” was assigned a school Mentor/Teacher (called “Tior”) who was usually in the fourth form. The “Tior” was expected to inculcate in his “Boy” the rules, traditions and conventions of the House in particular, and GCI in general.

Before the end of the first term, each House would conduct a House Test with which new boys were assessed on their proficiency in learning and imbibing house rules, traditions and the general history of the school. The results were announced at a general House Assembly the following Sunday, starting with the “first from the rear” and progressing on to the student who had scored the highest marks.

On the whole, the school/house family system was a tradition that usually comprised a family member or more in each Form. It engendered lasting friendship among boys of different classes and even generations, as some boys were able to trace their Family Trees across many generations

Individual Houses had their House Magazines, and also organized annual House Dinners at the end of the school year (December).

Abala - A general coinage referring to girls or the female sex.

Aiye - A two-faced conniving student. Derived from the Yoruba word meaning “world”

Alansaka Long serving school bus driver who endeared himself to the boys particularly for his driving skills. Whenever the bus was loaded with contingent of girls from Queens School on joint outings with GCI boys, Alansaka regularly applied his breaks suddenly such that the girls often found themselves falling into the willing embrace of the boys.

Anze St. Annes College, Molete, one of the girls schools in the city where many GCI boys were to be found on Saturday outings.

Aro Black - Mr. Arodudu, fiery Science teacher who never took any nonsense from his students

Ashipa- Dozy History teacher of the 70s who only awoke from his sweet slumber during class sessions to cane boys who were making noise and thus disturbing his sleep

A-zabe - A selfish, tight-fisted, grub hugging type. Derived from an Agricultural science term.

Agbe A local yokel both unsophisticated and uncool. Derived from the Yoruba word meaning “farmer”. Also term used for many Agric Science masters, Mr. Komolafe, Mr. Popoola etc.

Atiray - Attire, the trendiest clothes in fashion. In the mid 70s these were “bell bottoms”, “Oxford bags”, platform shoes etc.

Atombay Rotund French Language master, Mr. Adeyemo whose command of French was
almost as hilarious as his pot belly.

Aburi A secret pact or a mediated settlement or agreement over differences. This slang has its origins in the 1967 Aburi Peace Talks held in Ghana between General Yakubu Gowon, Nigerian head of state (1966 - 75) and Colonel Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Military governor of the Eastern Region (1966 - 67) aimed at forestalling outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War. As with its historical antecedent most of such mediated settlements over differences broke down and failed.

Ako-Miler Nickname of early 60s student, Adelakun who returned in the 70s as a teacher and Grier House master.

Ayo A reference to boys “not fortunate enough to have begun in the great school from the first form” who joined in the latter classes especially in the lower sixth form but also in the earlier classes. Derived from IONIAN an acronym for a group of high schools in the old Western Region.

Ase - Stocky, heavy-set Technical drawing master, Mr. Emordi whose motto was ’ I willy embellish ya bottom wit’ my cane”

Attack - Mammary glands of the opposite sex - the bigger the more appropriate the term

Awon -A spectacular soccer goal scored with all dexterity and skill

Afro - The nearby African Church Grammar School, the butt of many condescending jokes and the site of many victorious games for the GCI soccer teams.

Baze: — successful amorous overtures to the opposite sex.

BenjaBenja: -Comical absent-minded school master of the mid 70s who was often made a fool of by the boys

Black Maria - The old Bedford school truck.

Bushy - the bush (pit) lavatories, constructed with corrugated aluminum sheets and conveniently situated behind the house grounds close to the bushes. These were more often used by GCI boys than the flush systems due to frequent lack of running water

Bowl - To answer the call of nature (not the pee variety but the big job!)
Demon bowler A fast cricket bowler or a notorious bowler of the bush lavatory variety

Blues - Close-up slow dancing: The height of most parties for most boys. Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” a particularly favourite blues tune of the 70s no boy wanted to miss.

Butu - same as bedu above

Buffo — Nickname of Onayinka (1962) who returned to teach Biology in the school in the mid 70s.

Beboje - (BBJ) — an acronym for boys/girls regarded as undesirables at parties.

Butter - a softy usually incapable of holding his own against other boys

Bus Stop - the choreographed popular group dance of the mid 70s that many wannabe “cool guys” spent days rehearsing before parties, often their feet failed them when D day arrived.

Baluba - A viciously played hockey game with hockey sticks turned into weapons!

Bolt - Leaving the school premises without an Exeat

Café - The lukewarm drink served at breakfast which no one could ever determine whether it was cocoa, tea, coffee or just plain dish water

Chiefy. Chief J.B. Ojo - Prominent old boy (‘40 -45) and much respected GCI Principal (68-74)

Chrisbo_ A notorious nightclub/brothel which many incorrigible boys patronised at the peril of expulsion

Cubes - sugar.

Chew dust - Going to a party and having the girls reject all your dance invitations or love advances

Dete — School Detention (the most severe form of punishments)

Di’gbe - An attack from the rear designed to keep one’s bowels from moving

Dormay - A slow witted dull type, slow on the uptake and snail like in character.

Despy (Desperate Dan) Much feared Geography teacher, Mr. Ojo who bore a remarkable resemblance to the comic character of same name in his macho image and readiness to take on tough boys.

Dombraye - Pongy sweat-stained underarm area of a school shirt.

Dry Short for Dry Clean. The rinsing of the face, neck and armpits as an alternative to having a bath, in times of acute water scarcity.

Ducky - An embarrassing cricket batsman who is bowled out without scoring any runs.

Dudule - Particularly dark skinned boys usually invisible in the dark. Useful camouflage for sneaking out at night.

Egbe - A stupendously dry joke

Elegbe - An infamously known purveyor of dry jokes

Ebo - Party or any social event

Elle - A beautiful chick much sought after by the boys. This slang has its origin in the French language

ENDO - End of year party

Ega -A blatant lie or liar (refer to Otuyalo ‘72 —‘76)

Expo - A carelessly seated skirt exposing underwear

Fure- An undisciplined uncaring attitude towards studying and academics (see N FA)

Fabu - A fantastic and incredible tale only the marines would believe

Falakpa- A loose girl known for never saying No

Fireman - Dreaded chain-smoking Physics teacher Mr.

Gba’gi - to flee away in fear

GariumSulphate - The local gari (ground cassava grains) often drank with water and sugar

Ghosting - reading late into the night in contravention of the “lights out” rule

Gramma - Ibadan Grammar School

Groo - Popular night club in the city often “bolted’ to by daring boys

Grub - Food, especially the type brought from home by the butter types, corn flakes, Kellogs variety packs etc

Gbegbagi - To fail (an exam) woefully

House Duties - All form 1 to 3 boys were assigned house duties they were to perform each morning. The most coveted duty as the mess boys’ (see below) while the most despised was the lavatory scrubbei-s’.

House Inspection: Every Saturday there was a general inspection of the grounds of the school houses by the school authorities represented by the respective house masters and house tutors, the head of house and the house prefects.

Igbinachor — Micro sized loaf of bread

Inter - Unconscious gesticulations by spectators during games. Many boys played the game off the field!

Isho (Nail) - to have your amorous advances to a girl rejected unceremoniously. Could be very embarrassing if made public

Ilosho - Irony

Ishu(yams) - Muscles, also lovey dovey banter between boy and girl

Izeb — Stinginess or Hoarding

Jabber - To make embarrassing grammatical errors in a discussion or speech

Iaminttete- No nonsense vice principal of the early 70s, Mr. Oyetunji whose lashes of the cane were legendary.

Je’shu- To engage in banter with the opposite sex, sweet nothings, pillow talk etc

Iogor - Dull and generally slow on the uptake

Josie - An inept goalkeeper notorious for conceding too many goals (reference Walker 68)

Junkay.. A very funky, hip dressing, high stepping fellow: an infamous party goer

Kere - A shy boy who can’t hold his own with the girls

Koko - A particularly difficult spin service in table tennis

Kori - To “curry favor”, or other forms of sycophancy

Kponfro - a nickname usually reserved for fair skinned boys

Koom or Kum - The official rice and beans meal much coveted by many students

KolateEwari- Nick name of Olatubosun (72) who in his five years in the school was reputed to have never been once late to the dining hall for beans

Kujo - A boldfaced misappropriation of some one else’s article usually a junior boys’. GCI mythology has it that the term originated from the amalgamation of the first two letters of Kumolu-Johnson a student in the school in the early 60s.

Kpe (Call it a day) — to Skip classes (truancy)

Kpaki - A hardened tough rugged type opposite to “Butter”

Kpari (Finish) - to successfully baze a girl

Kpari - Protruding jaw bone, a physical feature which inspired much derision

Loafie - A indolent boy or a loafer notorious for shirking his duties

Loafy — Standard size loaf of bread served in the Dining Hall

Lover’s Lane — the log stretch of road Linking GCI to Queens School where many a heart was broken

Loyo Loyola College Ibadan, the main rival school in Ibadan that competed against GCI boys in sports as well as for the hearts of the local school girls

M’be - Food kiosk of the labourers that built the Powell house, and other new school buildings in the early/mid 70s. It was illegal for GCI boys to patronize them but often many did, savouring the menus comprising dodo, dundun, Eba and Amala (cassava and yam flour meals) of the caterers (lya M’be). Off and on the kiosks were raided by the school authorities and many of the boys would then be taxed with doing the 100 meter dash, while holding their bowls of food secure in their arm pits!

Mechano - A robotic type who does everything as if mechanically controlled

Messboy - The most sought-after house duty by the boys in forms two and three -serving out food prior to official meal times. Invariably the messboy was always well fed and buoyant

Marvin Gaye - Wool cap fashionable in the early/mid 70s and named after the popular singer who wore it on the cover of his platinum hit album ”Let’s Get it on”

Makossa Popular dance of the 70s named after Manu Dibango’s hit song of same era

Mutaba A notorious smoker

Morocco Illegal smoke also “Sly”

NFA - Acronym for No Future Association, a corruption of the Nigerian Football Association applied to boys who took sporting activities more seriously than academic work

Oba Fabu - A fellow notorious for telling fantastic and incredible tales of his exploits

Oba Ragging - See Ragging below

Ojaj- English master, Mr. Ojajuni whose impeccable command of the language was matched only by his love for ridiculing his students

Ope - See Dry above

Oba-ope - A pretty lousy bowler in cricket

Orje - To speak the English language with a distinct local accent or upcountry intonation

Oje - A lie, though not as sensational as Fabu

Oloko - the home kiosk of the school dispenser, Mr. Oloko who sold provisions of all sorts. Junior boys were often sent by seniors to buy “loafie” and “geisha’ from here, sometimes as late as after prep and going into the midnight hour when ’Paddyman Joe” was on the loose

Oloje A liar

Orjegi (wood Pecker) - A boy who speaks the English language with a distinct local accent or upcountry intonation

Oba Fure - A boy who couldn’t care less about his studies and is apparently headed for failure

Omo - Ebo A notoriously known party animal present, invited or not at all parties and social functions

Onibeji — the dichotomous 6 pence loaf of bread often served at breakfast. Also refers to a vicious soccer tackle which though hardly discernable to the spectators, left many of its recipients badly incapacitated. This tackle was perfected by school goal keeper Jala in 1972 disabling many strikers from rival schools.

Ope (1) See Dry above - the fine art of dry cleaning oneself without actually having a shower or a full bath. Some boys were notorious for their ability to look squeaky clean despite having only “bathed” with a bowl of water.

Ope (2) - A lousy ball bowled in cricket from which a good batsman could score a six

Orisha- French/languages female teacher of the early/mid 70s and the object of the fantasy of some boys

Other region - Depending in which house you were in. There were two regions separated by the formal classrooms. The first from the school gates comprised Carr and Swanston houses and the second Region comprised Field and Grier. Later on Powell House was built situated in between the two but closer to the first.

Owala - nick name of Mr. Okunola, Geography master of the 70s in reference to the prominent tribal marks on his face

Paddyman Joe - A mythical figure (bogeyman) said to haunt the school grounds at night probably originated to frighten junior boys from wandering about at night.

Pappy Parrot - Loquacious Metal/Wood Work teacher of the 60s and early 70s, Mr. Olusanya

Platty - Platform shoes highly fashionable from the mid to late 70s: the higher the funkier. Some junkays developed the dexterity of doing the 100 metres dash on six inch heels to escape been caught at parties they had bolted away from school to gatecrash

Play Rough or Gba Rough- Cleverly absconding with someone else’s meal upon the grand entrance into the dining hall at meal times. Some boys turned this act into an art form evading the eagle eyes of both the school prefects and the mess boys while snatching other boy’s meals.

Papa de Bull - Dreaded Principal, Mr. S.F. Olafimihan 1974-76

Personals: The dress code was always formal six days a week, Mondays to Saturdays, Khaki shorts, white shirts, white and blue striped school shirts etc. On Sundays however boys were allowed to wear their personal clothes

QSI - Queens School Ibadan - GCI’s sister school linked in more ways than merely the Lover’s lane, the higher school certificate (HSC) classes (lower and upper sixth forms) of both schools had joint classes for several years.

Rahray- See Junkay above

Rag/Ragging - This term is best understood from a scenario of a hundred boys set to board a school bus that seats a maximum of only 50, the intense struggle to be among the 50 requires the special skills and dexterity of “ragging”

Roddie - The male genitalia

Rough Packing or Wronpa/Rumpa - Transparent betrayal of a prominent bulge in the genital area of shorts or trousers

Reke - To be on the watch out for a junior boy misbehaving so as to deal with him, often a not-so- subtle process of victimization or ambush

Romeh - Romance: to make out with your chic.

Shamu - Swanston House

Soupie - the soup served at breakfast with either a loaf of bread or yams. For most boys it was never enough

Superfly - Another popular hat of the early 70s made fashionable by Ron O’neal in the Black American film of same name

Sagalo - an overhead soccer bicycle kick made famous by the Brazilian football star Ernesto Zagalo

Safari - Another popular nite club in the city where it was cool to be sighted but dangerous to be caught

Safey - An incorrigible chain-smoking lonian student of the early 70s

Saku - See Chiefy above

Satina — Dark skinned, beautiful female teacher of the mid 70s ironically named after the skin toning cream

SPD: Special diet: enjoyed only by school athletes and greedy messboys

Sunmi - A handsome boy

Shakara. Braggadocio or empty boast. Coinage from a song of the same name by the late great Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

swegbe Another slow docile type often taken advantage of by other boys. Another coinage from another song by Fela “Swegbe & Pako”.

S.I. - The famously multi-talented GCI school band Sound Incorporated

‘TABLE-UP!” - Most common form of punishment during the daily prep periods i.e “get on your table”. Depending on the severity of your crime you may also have to raise up your hands and close your eyes

Taba - Cigarettes

Tan - a general coinage for getting caned by a teacher

Toro — Grey Trousers (as distinct from the regular khaki shorts which senior boys looked ridiculous in with their isu and hairy legs)

Umpunk - Left overs after meal time. Some boys were notorious for being scavengers of unfinished meals

Tino - Tin of milk

Winter— Same as “Dust” above

Yams - Muscles, especially of the legs aka Ishu

Yesmina - Another cool night club of the early 70s where the heavy guys boogied at the great risk suspension or expulsion

Culled from various sources

The shortest nickname in GCI was “S” (for all SOREMEKUNs)
‘- The longest nickname in GCI was *BALINGER MUCAFE” (Balogun ‘66)
The most durable nickname in GCI was ’SAKU” (belonging to Chief JBO Ojo first Nigerian/Old Boy Principal, when he was a student/sprinter)
- The largest GCI (biological) family was most probably KOYA, with at least 7 brothers passing through within a decade

In every generation, virtually all GCI Teachers had nicknames. Notable ones in the 1968- 1974 era include:
1. Mr Aluko - Mango
2. Mr Arodudu -- Aroblack
3. Mr Komolafe - Agbe
4. Mr Emordi - ASE Pako
5. Mr Oyetunji - Jamint
6. Mrs Orisasanpe - Orisha
7. Mrs Oluwole Satina
8. Mr Oyekan - TehTeh
9. Mr Olusanya - Pappy Parrot
10. Chief JBO Ojo -Chiefy or Saku
11. Mr. Adeyeye - En Retard
12. Mr. Adelakun -Ako Miler
13. Mr. Fayomi - Fireman
14. Mr. Dada - ecce
15. Mrs Latunji - Scottie
16. Mr Stonehocker - - “Norin Your Hands” _
17. Mr Ojo - Despe
18. Mr Ogunjobi Ebora
19. Mrs Ogunode Mummy
20. *Mr ?* - Atombe

Questions remain:
1. What subjects did they teach?
2. What is the origin of each nickname?

Have fun decoding!!

Extracted from 'Camaraderie' - A 1968 Set's Golden Anniversary Publication.

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