Interview with Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi (1937)

Interview with Engr Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi


Chief S.O. Fadahunsi (1937) in the interview explained the three core values GCI deposited in his life, which helped him to become who he is, Included in the interview is also his abridged autobiography.

It is no longer strange 17-year Old Boy (a young man you may say) to be in his penultimate level in a university in Nigeria barring ASUU strikes. This was not the case some 52 years ago when a “little boy” was admitted to the school of his dream at the right age of 17 years when young men were boys.

Engr. Chief Samuel Olatunde Fadahunsi, (OFR) born on 17 March 1920, a native of Ilesa in Osun State, gained entrance into the prestigious Government College, Ibadan in 1937 after his elementary school. There were just 26 in the class. His school number which he still recalls without hesitation is 246 and he was in Grier House. There were only two Houses then; Swanston House and Grier House.

Left to his father, a trader, he would have proceeded to St. Andrews Teachers’ Training College so he would become a Priest but his classmate and friend in Standard IV – late Professor John Mabayoje (1933) School No. 161 influenced Fadahunsi’s decision to attend GCI.

What was your first day in school like?
GCI was not strange to me at all. I had been looking forward to studying there and I was constantly visiting “Olu” (i.e. late Prof. Maboyeje)

Who was your school Principal?
Capt. HTC Field (2nd Principal, 1932 - 1944)

Some of your Teachers then?
Barton – History, Brown – Mathematics, Smile – Sciences, Sarge – Biology, Awosika – Mathematics, Powell/Field – English Language, Biobaku – English Literature, Okafor – Mathematics, AkinDeko – Physics.

What were your favourite subjects?
Mathematics and Sciences.

Are there some of your classmates that are still alive and you are still in touch with?
Yes, S.B. Audifferen (1937) School Number 243 & O.A. Apara (1937) School Number 259.

What Sport were you engaged in at GCI?
I was a footballer among the 2nd eleven reserve of the school team. I played right out wing (now No. 7 in Premiership). I ran the 80 by 80 yards and also 40 by 40 yards. I was a wicket keeper in Cricket and I also did some bowling and batting. I, however, was not very good in swimming but one can still say that I was an all-round athlete because I won House Colours.

How did GCI guide your life?
Apart from the subjects taught then in class, GCI taught us to be:
1) very humble as it says in the Swanston song “and when you win, be not proud or conceited but rest conceited with work well done.”
2) Hard working as every moment was occupied with some activity even if it was sleep. There was no idle period. That culture encouraged us to be independent and search things out-re-search. Notebooks were given to each boy to take adequate notes while teachers were teaching. The notes would later be properly composed and submitted for the teachers’ assessment. This prepared us for life in the University.
3) Cordiality in personal and interpersonal relationships with seniors and juniors. Some of these relationships developed into long-term friendships later in life.

What was the boarding house like?
Life in the boarding house was simple and nice. All students were boarders. You woke up to cut grass, play games and wait for teachers to come for inspections. The windows and doors were all open at night such that anybody could walk in.

Student/Housemaster relationship?
Mr Brown was our Housemaster (Grier). He worked through the prefects. Occasionally, he came to check things up for himself. He was indeed nice.

Your words to the Boys in school?
I enjoin them to forget the disabilities which the current system has brought on them. They should know that they can still succeed by putting their nose to the grinding stone. They must not give up but maintain the dogged spirit with which the school impacted us all.

Your words to the younger Old Boys?
They have been trying and they should continue to appeal to the authorities (i.e. Government) to do something about the present state of the School. The GCIOBA should continue to strive to change the situation of our Alma mater for better because that is the school of our pride.

Engr. Chief S.O. Fadahunsi attended Yaba Higher College before proceeding to Battersea College, London University where he obtained a BSc in Civil Engineering in 1951. Between 1957 and 1958, he did a postgraduate programme at the Road Research Institute, Harmondsworth, London.

Between 1947 and 1948, Engr. Fadahunsi served in the Public Works Department as Engr. Grade IV and from 1951 – 1954, he was an Engineer with Messrs Holland Hanen and Cubills of London. He returned to Nigeria in 1954 and joined the Civil Service where he gathered extensive experience in all aspects of Civil Engineering. Between 1960 and 1963, he was Chief Water Engineer and Chief Adviser on Water Supply to the defunct Government of Western Nigeria. He later became the Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB). From 1971, he has been the Principal Partner and Managing Director of Comprehensive Engineering Consultants, a consulting engineering firm with expertise in water supply, drainage roads, town planning and town development projects.

Engr. Fadahunsi served in various capacities on the boards of several engineering institutions and establishments such as Chairman, Industrial Research Council of Nigeria; Wemabod Estate Ltd., Federal Housing Estates, Oshogbo Steel Manufacturing Company, etc

He has published several articles in learned journals and contributed to some books. He is a past President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, past President, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Waste and Environmental
Management (FIWEM), Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.

Engr. Fadahunsi was decorated as an Officer of the Federal Republic, OFR. He was a patron of the GCIOBA.




Interviewer: GCIOBA-Lagos Branch

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