Interview with Jide Bademosi (1953)


Government College Ibadan Museum Team interviewed Prof. Jide Bademosi (an acclaimed Neurologist and former Captain of Nigerian and West African Cricket Teams. In the interview, the Abeokuta born and Kano bred GCI Legend recounted his life at GCI with relish, and advocated for more measures to revive and preserve the legacy and past traditions of the School.

Can we meet you sir?
Yes definitely. I am Olajide Feyisara Bademosi, a Grierson and Member of the 1953 Class Set. Sometimes informally known as addressed/called as ‘Skipper, ‘Ajyde’.

How was your first day at GCI like?
My first day at Government College Ibadan was at the Admission Interview at GCI I had travelled from Ondo and arrived around 4:30pm at the Onajins (my relation) in Moor Plantation bout 2km from GCI) to prepare for the Interview. Fortuitously, Late Bunmi Onajin (1949 Set) and Toye Ogunbode (1950 Set, my brother’s childhood friend in Kano) were among the ‘Chaperons’ for the Boys posted to Grier House for the Admission Interview.

I was allocated a room by one of the Chaperons, after which I moved in alongside my baggage. I later came out to find other boys playing Table Tennis and Football outside. I opted for Table Tennis players where the rule of ‘The more you win, the longer you stay’ was operating. The rule was in my favour and kept me playing.

At 6:00pm, the new boys were directed to Deko (name for the Dining Hall in Grier House). I was unaware of this while was still playing. I had a gentle reminder which I promptly responded to and luckily was there for the Dinner scheduled for 6:30pm. We were seated and shown how to use the cutlery. I already knew how to use it but some of us had difficulty. After the Dinner we gathered in the ‘Prep Room’ and were told that the Interview would start by 9:00am the following day but should be ready by 8:30am.

On the following day, we were woken up at 6:15am to get ready for Breakfast at 7:00am. At 8:15am, we were already set for the interview at the School Grounds. We were told that after facing the Panel of Interviewers, we would be allowed to play Football (now Soccer) on the House Grounds. I was more mindful of the Soccer than the Interview. The Interview was followed by Lunch; and those of us interested in playing football went to the field to play as long as you could until 6:00pm. We had to have our baths thereafter and prepare for Supper/Dinner.

The last day of the Interview was on a Sunday. We were all chaperoned to the Chapel for the Service. We were all expected to vacate the School Compound after the three-day interview by 4:30pm on Sunday.

By 4:15pm, I had already returned to Moor Plantation where my dad picked me up for the long journey back to Ondo.

Apparently, a Teacher/Master at GCI was expected to visit prospective GCI students at their different Primary Schools before subsequent admission, nothing of such happened during my time to my knowledge. I only received a Letter of Admission through my Headmaster in Ondo few weeks after the Interview. In the letter, we were requested to report at the School Grounds before 6:00pm on Friday, September 18, 1953.

After your admission, what was the school life in the First Generation of GCI like?
School life generally followed a similar pattern and occasionally had minor variations within the various Houses. You were advised to resume at School on a Friday before 4:30pm to prepare for Saturday Inspection and get ready for Classes on Monday. It was fun, interesting and pleasurable laced with academic School work, and rough or boring periods such as Messing, cutting grass, picking leaves falling off our Iroko tree in Grier House during dry months of Harmattan in January & February, and serving Detention, Sketches of some aspects are described for completeness and subsequent comparison if required. It might be best to give you an insight to start from initial introduction into Grier House general life pattern template, and thereafter provide clips of subsequent outlook of what ‘School life’ was like.

I arrived at School at about 4:30pm, was assigned to Grier House, shown my Room where the Head of Room introduced my Room-mates, shown my Locker and how to arrange my personals and other items, and informed of immediate House and School Schedules. At the Prep Room (Adeniran), the Head of House introduced me to my Teacher (Tior, Teur), and informed me and my colleagues briefly of what the House and School stood for and their expectations of us as GCI Boys.

The baseline House Schedule was:
a. 6:15 -7:15am: Wake up time, House Ground work, grass cutting, practices, having bath, breakfast, and preparation for Classes
b. 8:00am -1:30pm: Classes and return to House Grounds
c. 1:45 -2:00pm: Lunch Period including Messing
d. 2:15 – 3:00pm: Siesta, Swimming Period, Serving punishments,
e. 3:15 -4:15pm: Prep Time
f. 4:30 – 6:15pm: Games Period during which Rooms were ‘Out of Bounds’ and everybody was supposed to be on the Playing Fields
g. 6:30 -7:15pm: Bath, Dinner /Supper
h. 7:30 – 9:15pm: Prep for Junior Boys (Senior Boys extended Prep Time to 10:00/10:30pm
i. 9:15 -9:30pm: House Assembly after which Junior Boys (Forms I -III) retire to sleep
9:30/10:00pm: Lights Out by which time Senior Boys (Forms IV, V & HSC Boys) retire to sleep
Weekdays (8:00 – 1:30pm): Classes for the entire School.

The Time Table and Room/Laboratory Schedules were provided and strictly adhered to for each Form. Boys who were ill, going ‘On Games Tours’ to Christ School, Ado Ekiti, Kings/Igbobi/St. Gregory’s College, Lagos, Eastern Tour of Benin, Ughelli, Owerri, Umuahia & Afikpo were allowed Friday afternoon Classes.

Saturdays: regarded as a free day after Inspection and you are left on your own although statutory activities such as Siesta and Meal Times were observed.

Mornings (9:00am – 12:00noon): reserved for House Inspection by the House Master and House Tutor with the House Prefects in attendance: entails finicky inspection of the Rooms, Lavatories, House Ground with its environs (Lawns, Box Rooms, Dining Room, etc),
Evenings in Grier House were reserved for Social Gathering for the whole House either limited to the House or combined with another (Boys dressed in ‘personals’ for impromptu songs, plays, recitation, ‘Treasure Hunt’), You were given ‘Leave Permit’ to go to Town for shopping and visits up to 6:15pm. You were expected to be at all School Matches taking place at School. There used to be a combined night, whereby two or more Houses usually Grier and Field Houses (because of their closeness) would come together to have impromptu recitations, presentations, sing songs, recitals etc.

On a Saturday moon-lit night, everyone gathered sitting in no formal pattern on the lawns for impromptu stories. Treasure Hunt was organized on such night once in the Term. This was an exciting, brain-storming and action exercise during which Boys (under a Group Leader) sought solutions to Clues and break Codes all over the School compound.

Sundays were reserved for Chapel Service for all Boys (Forms 1-IV in white shirt, white shorts and Form V, HSC Boys in white pair of trousers) in the mornings (9:00 -10:30am), Exeat thereafter up to 6:15pm to visit relations, “Rest” on the House Grounds although you were allowed to visit friends in other Houses, no official activities apart from School Matches.

During the Games Period (4:15 - 6:15pm), everybody was out for organized games on the House grounds or School Main Field, all Rooms were deemed Out of Bounds. Improvized, fun-filled, and interesting modifications of various Games such as Tip & Run for Cricket, Baluba (no holds barred or recognized rules, ‘personal scores settled’) for Hockey & Soccer took place.

Forms I -IV Boys were responsible for getting the Fields ready for competitions and matches (marking, lining, rolling) with assistance from the manual workers available at School, and Forms I – III Boys to bring and return chairs and benches from House grounds.
The Head of House and House Prefects conducted the House Assembly, after which Junior Boys leave for their rooms to sleep or gist without making noise or being caught before Lights-Out at 9:30pm.

Dress Code for School activities were White Shirt over Khakki Shorts, Classes, Exeats, Hospital attendance, Outside Visits; Khakki Shirts over ‘Baft’ Shorts, ‘Fatigue’ (grass cutting, etc) and Compound work; White – White, Chapel Services and Sunday Visits; House Colours T-Shirts over Baft Shorts, Games in general, and White Vests with School Crest in red over White Shorts, School Athletes; Shirts quartered in Maroon and Blue over White Shorts, School Football Soccer) Teams; White Shirts over White Shorts/Trousers, Cricket.

Leave Permit: The Permits were signed by either the House Master or Tutor after Saturday Inspection. Boys were allowed out of the School on Saturdays after Inspection, and Sundays after Chapel Service. We used this opportunity to go shopping in town, visit relations or sightseeing properly dressed. I can vividly recall visits to University College, Ibadan (UCI), now UI with a few close friends to spend time with brothers/sisters or Old Boys hoping from Queen Hall to Mellamby/Kuti/Tedder Halls.

We dared not return to School late, because lateness attracted potential forfeiture of subsequent Leave Permits, and/or punishment by the House Prefect on Duty.

How can you describe your first impression about GCI?
GCI loomed large and intimidating with its expanse and different faces even though I had experienced staying away from home: had been exposed to Scout Camps and travel to other cities with my father. The low, wooden hard bed (later discovered to harbor bed bugs) and the grass-cutting wielding an Ojigbe were difficult to handle! Luckily, the presence of relations (Late Bunmi Onajin I and Late Kehinde Onajin II), my Tior (Familusi Please, now Prof J. B. Familusi), and Latoye Ogunbode Please (now Prof. Olatoye Ogunbode, my friend of my late elder brother, Kadejo) made GCI less daunting and made Grier House ‘home away from home’.

Where were you born sir?
I was born in Abeokuta and need to explain how I got admitted into GCI. . I grew up together with my parents and two brothers (Late Kadejo & Dr. Fadejimi Bademosi formerly of NNPS & Gas) in Kano. We left Kano to Lagos when my late father was invited home to represent NCNC. However, my dad had to relocate to Ikoyi, Lagos to live in Ikoyi as a member of the Federal House of Assembly. Thus, I was in Ondo for about 3 years before coming to GCI, and resided in Lagos while at School..

When you were at GCI, was there any unforgettable memory or experience? Either the good, bad or ugly?
Yes, there were numerous exciting experiences. During the short Easter-Break Holidays (Reigning Period) of 10 days, Boys who were unable to travel to their respective homes stayed back at School as a Group and lived looking after each other in one House or more under the care and supervision of Senior Boys. The Boys had the entire day to themselves with no Classes or formalized activities. We used to use this period to sleep late, eat at times agreed upon by the Group, go into Town for shopping and visits, and learnt leadership and group preservation qualities. Such experiences are not readily forgotten particularly when you were the Senior Boy handling the April Reigners.

An educating and unforgettable experience resulted from an incident when I had chaperoned some Boys to watch a film (cinema in those days) unofficially Breaking Bounds. Some of the junior boys were caught getting back to School after 10:00pm by the House Master and were to be punished. I informed the Housemaster that I took them out and responsible for the infringement. The Housemaster gently reminded me of my responsibilities, and did not punish the Boys. I was lucky to escape being caned by either the Principal, DJ Bullock or the House Master (Mr. Evans or Mr. Ogundipe), and allowed to remain a Powellite. .
Tough Lesson learnt !!

It is impossible not to learn from School Football and Cricket Tours including the Easter Tour as a member of the Mosquito Football player, a Junior or Senior First XI Player. The Senior Boys looked after the Juniors as regards safety, comfort, feeding and even providing allowances or spending funds for extra meals, presents and ‘souvenirs’ for friends & relations. Travelling allowances for the touring Teams, funds for fueling the School Truck and incidental expenditure were disbursed and properly accounted for by the School Captains, Seniors Boys or Prefects usually. Similarly, it was not unusual for parents or relations to entrust Pocket Money to Tiors, House Prefects identified by them to look after their children.

Eastern tour: This 10-14 day long journey took us through Benin to Umuahia and back for Soccer, Cricket, sometimes Hockey and Chess. The Senior Boys ensured that the driver stopped at regular intervals for breathers, nature calls, feeding. They went out of their way to provide refreshments particularly for the Junior Boys and the driver, Mr. Aremu (aka ‘Allah Saka’).

The Team arrived at Edo College, Benin to be welcomed by a bowl of Dodo (usually bigger than our large one at School) to be supplemented by our own tins of corned beef and sardines. After the Soccer Match at Edo College, we travel to Govt. College, Ughelli for Football, Cricket, and sometimes Chess. From Ughelli to Owerri Govt. College for Football, and thereafter to Govt. College, Umuahia for Football and Cricket. Govt. College, Afikpo Boys travel down to meet us at Umuahia for the Cricket Match.

The House Rules
In Form I, you learnt the School Rules, and House Rules with its Traditions from your Tior and other Senior Boys and reading the School Rules Booklet (more likely handwritten copies). Infringements including being caught reading at unofficial times (Wakating) or in irregular places earned punishments by Teachers including House Masters and House Tutors, School or House Prefects: punishments imposed by Teachers and School Prefects were documented in the School Detention Book (served on Saturdays after Inspection), and served in formats ranging from grass cutting on the Main Field or School Compound, Gating (not granted Leave Permit)), confiscation of items and payment of Fines.
Expulsion results from serious misdemeanor such as stealing, and social or examination malpractices.

Sick Bay: Boys that are ill are evaluated and appropriately treated by the School Nurse, admitted to the Sick Bay if deemed necessary. More serious cases or those beyond the capability of the Nurse were taken to Adeoyo Hospital for assessment and admission if necessary.
Laundry: The Washerman assigned to each House took care of dirty linen. Boys submitted their items on Saturdays against the coming week, and ensured adequate labelling (Names inscribed using indelible ink, Name tags, etc) to prevent mix-up with uniforms and personals.

The Swimming Pool
The School Swimming Pool was available for the Boys, and a Cup was provided for the Annual Inter-House Competition. Houses were assigned specific days and swimming had to be supervised by a teacher and House Prefect. Swimming took place during Siesta and could extend to start of the Games Period at 4:15pm.

The School Orchard, located on the other side of the road by the Pool to the Main Field was Out of Bounds for all members of Staff and Boys except the designated/assigned manual workers. However, each House was permitted to harvest fruits (Oranges, Mangoes, Avocado Pear, Grape fruit, Oranges, Guava) for subsequent distribution to the Boys in their respective Houses.

Some Senior Boys would go ‘Swimming‘ in the Orchard instead of the Swimming Pool, could be punished if caught by a Master/Teacher or a more senior person. These excursion were considered as pranks by those involved.

What were the things that you liked most or least about GCI?
The most detested things included:
a. Saturday morning Breakfast of beetle-infested Beans was the most detested especially in my Form-IV years.
b. Thursday Evening meal of dark-coloured Amala was also repulsive in spite of the pieces of fish that came with it.
Our best meal then was arguably the Friday afternoon fresh hot Dodo of Friday although Sunday Morning of Bread with butter and fish /egg and piping hot cups of Cocoa.
Saturday Mornings after Inspection, Games tours, and the last week of Term with expectation of vacation (Holidays) would constitute my favourite events or times at School.

If I could digress a little bit, I was particularly distressed that the School Administration long after leaving GCI was unable to preserve or keep iconic House Relics and Memorabilia such as handwritten and painted House Magazines such as The Mustard Seed of Grier, Swan Echo (Swanston), House Plaques of Honours Board, List of Heads of Houses and their respective Prefects, OLD House Trophies and hand-carved House Crests. These were lost most likely during the phases of scrapping Boarding Houses and ‘invasion’ of the School by other Institutions. Grier House for example had the Mustard Seed which was first published in 1934 (first Editor, Aluko 1933 Set, Abiodun Aloba, Editor 1938); Swanston House had Swan Echo with Cyprian Ekwensi,1935 Set as an Editor: Some of these individuals were later acknowledged as acclaimed Novelist and Writers!!.

On this note, we must applaud the efforts of the Global and Ibadan Branch GCIOBA Museum Teams to collate our past history and archive lost items, photographs and traditions for posterity. Our heritage needs to be protected, and preserved for the educations of the Present and Future Generations of GCI Boys.

What were your favourite subjects?
By the time I was writing my Higher School Exams, I had not decided what discipline to pursue and was admitted to study both Engineering and Medicine Classes.

Various Teachers at School by the commitment and enthusiasm prompted and encouraged excellent performances in the Subjects they taught. Miss T. Amao later Mrs Oderinde for Botany and Zoology, Mr. Ugot (King’s College), Mr. (later Dr) Abel Guobadia and Ogundipe Physics; Mr. J. A. Banjoko breathed Chemistry into you to augment our earlier admiration of Mr. S. O. Temietan (GCI School No. 6, Grier, 1929 Set), a non-graduate Chemistry Teacher who could quote verbatim the then accepted Textbook for Chemistry by Holmyard for School Certificate These teachers were very passionate about teaching and made us not only willing to learn but love these subjects with the desire to excel. However, I dropped Further Maths III by the 3rd Term of 1st year HSC to concentrate on Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, Botany and General Paper. Luckily. I was relatively strong across board including Latin and Geography.

I and my friend like Wole Ogunsola (aka Oguns of Glasgow) were nursing the idea to study Medicine in UK particularly Glasgow and Edinburgh after School Certificate. Luckily for me, Latin was needed to study Medicine at both places.
These were the advantages I had, which put me in the Sciences over Humanities.

Did you have any of your Seniors or Teachers who influenced you?
Quite a lot. Interestingly, I got to interact with Dr Salawu (1930 Set and the first Head of Swanston House) as a child in Kano. He was my father’s friend since their association in 1930 (Salawu in GCI, and my father at the School of Agric, Moor Plantation). Others would at various times enhance my interest in Medicine.

Quite many: my Tior, Prof Familusi, GCI Old Boys like Profs Lawani and Bankole, and even old Boys from Edo & Umuahia like Prof Anah were already in UCI for Medicine and Old Boys who were always joy to watch at Annual Reunion Cricket Matches or Sing Song such as impeachable Dr. S.A. Afolabi George in his Cricket attire and diction at the Sing Song (later Dr. Ogunlusi) of St. George’s Hospital, American-trained Dr. Christopher Okogie from Ekpoma,/Irua charmed us with his long-based American Commuter vehicle, Dr. Justin Uku as a pioneer Forensic Pathologist, Dr later Prof. J. Mabayoje Cricketer & Physician in Lagos to mention a few. Late Bisi Adesina (Grier, 1952Set, School Cricket Captain) augmented my Tior’s duties to keep me out of mischief, teach me School and House Rules and in general ensured I behaved properly!
GCI with its life style, traditions and discipline on and off the Sports Fields provided a positive impact for survival in most decent and stable environs, Dictates of which are reflected in the School and House Songs!

Did any of your children attend GCI?

Did any of them study Medicine?
No, Both Boys chose professional paths by themselves: the elder studied Economics and thereafter did a Master’s Degree in Business Management, the younger a Mechanical Engineer,

What do you consider as your personal definition of happiness?
My personal definition of happiness is the ability to do the thing you want and when appropriate and with God’s blessing. I believe God has permitted me to do the best I could to achieve most, if not all the things I think I could achieve within the sphere of academics, sports in general and Cricket in particular, and general life style. Hopefully, one has learnt to live within one’s limitations without losing track of my lineage, cultural background and ability.

What is that thing that you could enjoy doing from dawn till dusk?
For me, Reading.

What is your philosophy of life?
Be contented with what you have, enjoy whatever you have, and thank the Lord for everything.

Thank you very much for your time sir.

Professor Jide Bademosi is a retired Physician Professor of Neurology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria and King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia. He is a Fellow of the Nigeria College of Physicians, West African College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Physicians, London. He has published over one hundred scientific papers in peer-reviewed International and Local Journals, and has contributed to Chapters in Neurology Textbooks and Monographs in areas such as The Epilepsies, Clinical Neurophysiology, Neuroepidemiology, Headache Syndromes and Parkinson's disease. He has been inducted into University of Ibadan Sports’ Hall of Fame, and he is both GCIOBA Ibadan Branch and National Merit Award Winner.
August, 2017.




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