MURIC: A Tale OF Two Teachers By Sola Shittu

 

Back in my Secondary School days at Islamic High School, Orita Bashorun Ibadan in the early 80s, I can remember two prominent teachers notorious for instilling positive and negative elements in our young minds; Mr. Ogunwusi and Akintola. Ogunwusi was our government teacher, (Oguns we used to call him) he was such a brilliant man with larger than life image before us his students. He was ranked higher in the class of the Ghanians and Indian teachers in my school. He was a grammarian who speaks English even more than Mr. Mensha our English teacher. As a matter of fact whenever it was time for government subject period, the class was always full to the brim, 45 of us in the class, that was the standard policy of the UPN government in my state then. It was 45 students per teacher against the 25 per teacher we had in my elementary school in the 70s. The reason was very clear, there was upsurge in students population as a result of the free Education policy of the UPN government of which late Bola Ige, the Cicero of Esa Oke was my governor in the old Oyo State.

My usual seat in the class on my OYSG metal locker and chair was angle 90 ( Ha the story of angle 90 is a tale for another day). It was in the class of Mr. Ogunwusi as a form 3 students that I was moulded for journalism profession. Ogunwusi painted a glowing picture of journalists/nationalists like Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Olabisi Onabanjo (aka Aiyekooto who was the governor of Ogun state then) and Segun Osoba another journalist and former Governor of Ogun state, who used their pen fighting for Nigeria. I can still remember the larger than life image of Mr. Ogunwusi standing before a bustling class of 45 students with chalk in his hand in front of the blackboard. He taught us the simple principle of government, democracy, the rule of law, separation of power, the Federal system of government and others. That was the generation that spurred my generation in the battle against military junta from late 80s to the 90s when Babangida was forced to step aside. One day, Ogunwusi gave us an essay to write on what we want to be in the future and I wrote I wanted to be a journalist, he was very happy when he read it. I was one of the youngest in the class but also the tallest. It was in the time that Tokyo was a notorious bus driver and Chairman of the NURTW in Ibadan. As a student, you will always have an encounter with him on your way to Bashorun or Agodi Gate because somehow you have to take his Danfo kombi bus back home.
I can proudly say today that I am a product of Mr. Ogunwusi even though I don’t know where he is today. He was my teacher and I am proud of him.

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On the other hand was Mr. Akintola, our IRK/ Arabic teacher who was notorious for his big cane and horse whip he used to bring to the class for Arabic and IRK lessons. He was my teacher in form two. I developed a disdain and deep hatred for these subjects and vowed never to choose any of them as my WAEC subject when I get to form four because of his attitude towards work and students. Sometimes in protest I will often join CRK class to take their lessons and listen to the smooth almost quiet voice of the CRK teacher (can’t remember her name) who was a Deeper Life Church member. Her trade mark was a long gown and headtie that often covered her ears.

Akintola’s nickname then was “Alhaji Cairo” and his usual attire was always a JB bell bottom trouser and jacket with the Middle East/Arab flowing headtie on it that makes him looks more like a foreigner than a Nigerian. He has nothing to offer us in the class other than talking religious antagonism and his deep hatred for Christianity. His class lessons were always boring and unchallenging to our young minds and of course we are usually scanty in the class because he weeps students at will even without provocation but sadly I have no choice than to stay for his lesson because I was the Class Captain (a title I held throughout my secondary school days). He denied me the opportunity to learn Arabic language because it was convenient for him to whip students than to teach. This Akintola once led a protest against our school principal, Mr. Fagbemi who was the then chairman of ANCOSSP (All Nigerian Conference of Secondary School Principals) and later the state Commissioner for Education. Fagbemi was eventually transferred but soon became the Commissioner for Education in Oyo State. Today while I can not trace Mr. Ogunwusi but the impact of his good works lingers in my memory and those of other students of his.

However, that same Akintola is today the head of MURIC and a professor in LASU. Akintola and his MURIC has always been rebellious to sense of reason, he feeds on religious sycophancy and allegiance to foreign and external religious concepts that is anti development and of no relevance to the spirit and truth of Nigeria and indeed Africa. While Ogunwusi was busy instilling in our young minds the spirit of nationalism and progressive thinking, Akintola was the other way round leading a bunch of rebels who later end up in life as school drop outs and religious renegades with absolutely nothing to contribute to the society. So, to someone like me when we see Akintola trying to steal the show by infusing religious sentiment into national discourse, we know it is his stock in trade. His arguments which are always clouded in religious sentiment makes a mess of his professorial gown. The question is, on which side his Akintola or Alhaji Cairo? On Nigeria side or Egypt where he studied or middle East or Saudi Arabia? Oh for God be a Nigerian for once.

 

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