Fashola Hands Over Block Of 21 Classrooms To Alma Mater, Birch Freeman High School
…Issues quit notice to squatters on school land
Nov 29, 2011 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday returned to his alma mater, Birch Freeman High School, Surulere to hand over a new block of 21 classrooms, acknowledging that his character was formed at the school.
The Governor who spoke at the School premises in Akobi Crescent, Surulere before a gathering which included Old boys and present students, said, "This was where I was made. My character was formed here. I learnt leadership and punctuality here as a school prefect".
Governor Fashola recalled with nostalgia that in the course of his schooling years at Birch Freeman High School, he met a lot of good people and made lifelong friends many of whom he still keeps today.
"I was also privileged to have met great teachers; humanists, who were absolutely committed to the development of young people and enriching the human capital of this country.
"The school blocks and buildings were largely made of concrete foundation and wooden walls except the dining hall, the Principal's block which contained the science laboratories and the new block behind it that later became the seniors block", the Governor recalled.
The Lagos State Governor however stated that nothing could prepare him for what he met, when he visited the site of his alma mater sometime in 2007 after assuming office as the Governor.
"Not only had the classroom blocks made of wood walls disappeared, the dining room, the Principal's block and the Seniors Block were shadows of themselves. My treasured memories were shattered. A shocking and painful reality had supplanted it".
"It seemed that everything that I could point to as references of who I was had evaporated. All of it almost, except for one thing, the Old Boys. Some were my classmates, some my juniors and some my seniors".
He said even in that broken environment, the presence of the Old Boys was a huge comfort because there was stil a past made by boys who had become men, who refused to surrender their dream.
Governor Fashola stated that, the credit for the new building should go to them because they kept hope alive and lived the motto of the school, "they were trained for duty and for God. And in serving God they promote the fortunes of the present generation so that we can achieve the torch passing moment of today".
"So it comes to be that with the inspiration of dedicated Old Boys and a concertion of efforts, Government is driven to act in areas of compelling need such as infrastructure".
The Governor noted that the work is not yet finished because there are still drainage issues to resolve which will require the recovery of every inch of land that belonged to the school.
He notified all squatters or occupiers of land that belong to Birch Freeman that their trespass has ended while directing they start relocating henceforth adding that he intends working with the Old Boys Association to reclaim and return back to the school every inch of land that used to belong to her.
The Governor who said no honour can be too much as a gesture of appreciation for the men and women who led the Old Boys while they were students and thereafter dedicated the block of classroom to the memory and honour of a former Principal, Reverend T.A. Ojo.
Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye said the present administration remains committed to the provision of qualitative education to the people.
She said the new block of classrooms is one of the policies of the State Government to enhance teaching and learning in public schools and also address the issue of over population in classrooms.
Mrs Oladunjoye who stated that enrolment will increase with the new block of classrooms which has been facilitated by the Governor who has not forgotten his roots also appealed to the school authorities to take proper care of the facilities in the school.
She also appealed to parents and guardians of pupils to take more than a passing interest in the school activities of their children and wards to make them good children.
Also speaking the President of the Birch Freeman High School Old Boys Association, Mr Temi Diyan commended the Governor for fulfilling his promise to his school to do something about its present state.
He stated that Governor Babatunde Fashola is an inspiration to all the Old Boys whom they are all extremely proud of.
He gave a commitment that the Old Boys are committed to work with the State Government in developing the school, stating that the Old Boys will also build a school hall that everyone can point to.
Mr Diyan sought the Governor's intervention in addressing the issue of encroachment of the school's property as well as fencing the round the structure to secure the environment.
Prominent among those who witnessed the ceremony were members of the State Executive Council including a classmate of the Governor and Special Adviser on Revenue and Taxation, Mr Abimbola Shodipo, Onitire of Itire, Oba Lateef Dauda and several Old Boys, pupils and teaching staff of the school.
The Governor later handed over the building which is made up of 21 classrooms with a capacity for 1050 students, a hall with a capacity for 450 students, state of the art laboratory, two staff rooms, a Vice Principal's office, a modernized Principal's Office, borehole for water supply, toilet at all floors, janitors room at all floors, landscaping with walk ways, gate house with fence and student furniture while being assisted by the Onitire of Itire.