Interview with Lasisi Lasupo Ali (285, Swanston, 1938)

The GCI Museum Team interviewed L.L. Ali (Swanston, 1938), on Thursday, 12th of April, 2018 at his residence in Ibadan. In the interview, the 97 years old alumnus disclosed how the regimented and regulated style of living at Government College Ibadan gave him a sense of discipline, which became the foundation of his success in life.

When did you gain admission to GCI?

What were your first few weeks at GCI like?
It was strange because the life at GCI was different from the life at home. The lifestyle was completely different. You had to abide by the rules and regulations which were completely different from the norms outside the school environment. For instance, you were allocated into your School House to commence a regimented style of living, there were Swanston and Grier Houses then. I was in Swanston House. The House rules and system were duly revered by the Boys.

Can you remember the first few friends you made during your first days at GCI?
I still remember my classmates, Ahimie, and Ibikunle.
It’s a pity I can’t readily remember all of them at the moment. Someone like J.W. Olatunbosun (1938) as you rightly mentioned ought to have come to mind immediately.
T.M. Aluko (1933) and Akinsehinwa Michael (1934) were my seniors, while Samuel Ogunjobi (1939) was a year junior to me.

Were you interested in Sports then?
We were forced to. We had no choice. We had to choose between Athletics, Cricket, Hockey and Soccer. In fact, at GCI then, you were expected to participate in all the school’s sporting activities. Sports were very important. The competition between Houses made it more attractive and interesting.

What were your own favourite sports?
I was not very keen on sports but I used to play football. You were forced to participate in at least one sport. Sports were well encouraged in the school.

What was your most difficult experience?
I really had no difficult times at GCI but what posed like a difficulty to me was the imposition of sporting activities on us not considering if we were genuinely interested or not.

Was there a subject that you did not like at all?
There was no subject I did not like because of the imminent school examinations. So, we had no other choice but love all the subjects, even the difficult ones. In Agriculture for instance, some portions of land were allocated to every one of us for farming, which later turned out to become the School Farm. The school authority ensured that we love Agriculture because it was hoped that we would all proceed to the Institute of Agriculture and Research Training, Moor Plantation for further studies upon graduation from GCI.

What was your most pleasant experience at GCI?
Unfortunately, I can’t really remember. But I think I later fell in love with the regulated life at GCI. I enjoyed it. The scheduled time to rise, time to relax, time to read, time to work, time to play and the likes made my stint at GCI quite interesting.
The regulated life shaped my style of living after leaving GCI, because it became part and parcel of me, even till this very old age. The regulated style of life disciplined you to be adaptable to all situations in future. You couldn’t have attended GCI without some experiences. One way or the other, you would benefit from your schooling at GCI later in life.

What is your profession sir?
Land Surveying.

How did GCI influence your career?
I don’t think GCI actually influenced my career to any extent. At GCI, you entered to learn something; and come out with the education. Whatever you did with that thereafter was rarely acquired from GCI.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to be a Surveyor?
It was at the point of entry into Yaba Higher College, which later turned into a Polytechnic. At that time you had to make a choice between Engineering, Surveying, both of which were only available at alternate years. I initially wanted Engineering, but it was not available as an option for the new intake of students at that particular year, and that is how I ended up studying Surveying.

Can you still remember your first job as a Surveyor? Where was it? How did you get it?
By the time you qualify as a Surveyor, job is already available for you. I got employed immediately I graduated from Yaba Higher College by the Federal Government in Lagos. I worked for the Federal Government at Lagos until 1963. After regionalization, I was transferred to Ibadan.

At what point in your career did you go into private practice?
After regionalization, there was an opportunity for me to travel abroad via a Federal Government scholarship, but the Government was too slow to award it. That made me to resign, and I went into private practice. I can’t really remember the exact year again. Maybe 1963.

In your own personal view of life, what would you consider as happiness?
Getting satisfaction from your profession will be my own definition of happiness.

Generally, what makes you happy?
What makes me happy generally is that whatever I need, I am able to get. I feel a sense of accomplishment because I lack nothing. I’m satisfied.

Can you give a summary of your experience at GCI?
I had many experiences at GCI, which raised me for the future life. The regulated life at GCI gave me discipline and direction. Life at GCI made discipline a hallmark of success in life. Life has to be disciplined. My experience at GCI was very beneficial to me in later life.

Note: This transcription of the interview has been edited for clarity.


Interviewer : Rotimi Ogunjobi

Assistant : Opeyemi Okeleke

The effort of Abiodun Ali (1967) in facilitating the 2-hour interview is well acknowledged.

The effort of Kola Yusuff (1974) in linking up the GCI Museum Team with Pa Ali (1938) is also acknowledged.

April, 2018.



GCI Museum Team

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