Adeola Odutola College 9th Ramadan Lecture: A Reminiscence By Abdur-Rahman Balogun (ARAB)

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When I was invited by my alumni Adeola Odutola College Muslim Community Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state through the Imam of the school, Mr Raheem Toyin Kamilu , to come and chair the 9th Ramadan Lecture on March 12, 2024 (2nd Ramadan 1445 A.H) I never thought i would make it considering the distance of my base in Abuja but on the second thought, I said my attendance will shore up support and serve as a moral booster not only for the students but also the staff alike. Also, it will be an opportunity for me to be at my 76- year old alma mater having left the school in 1984, 40 years ago by June in which my set 1979-1984 are preparing for its celebration. Alas, death struck on idea of March, Friday March 15, when the Head Girl of our set and the Chairperson of our 40th anniversary, Professor Aminat Bello-Adelekan passed on. It was a rude shock to all of us and the reason why i suspended this write up till now. May Allah forgive all her shortcomings and reward her with al-janah firdaus. Aamin.

So, attending the lecture entitled: ” Hypocrisy and its effects on the growth of a nation” was however a big relief for me as it afforded me the opportunity of being warmly welcomed to the prestigious Adeola Odutola College again especially the Adeola Hall, where I sat for my WAEC 40 years ago and have not been privileged to be there since then.

It also afforded me the opportunity to reunite with the students and staff of the college bringing to me memory our unique maroon school uniform adorned by both male and female students as well as my class rooms in form 3, 4 and 5 while my form 1 and 2 classroms are in a separate place called Owo-jona Hall some few meters away, which i was told has transformed to a private school. It was at this Owo-jona Hall under a tree that as Muslim Community we used to pray Jumat every Friday and I was made the first Imam of Adeola Muslim Community in 1979, 45 years ago till 1984 when i left. With the support of my mates and seniors then like Mr Tajudeen Oduwoga, Lateef Ibirogba, Abdulfatai Adeyemi, AbdulAzeez Balogun, Morufu Kukoyi, the Badmus, Bakares, the Kakos and Sisters Mutiat Alade (late), Anota Shittu, Ganiat Gafari, Funmilayo Quadri, Aminat Bello (Late), and others too numerous to mention, the Muslim community was bonded and had effective Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) that took part in any quiz, Qur’anic and sing song competitions in any part of Ogun state with many prizes won for the College. There was a lot of goodwill then to the extent that the then Principal and Management, Revd. T. Oba Ogunfuye granted the Muslim Community a land to build a Mosque on campus and a Servant of Allah promised to donate a mosque to the college but Allah took her before she could fulfilled her promise.
As the chairman of the 9th Ramadan lecture, I was impressed because there was nothing like that during our time and i vowed to assist the Muslim Community to regain the lost glory and opportunity to have a befitting Mosque where hundreds of Muslims can fulfil their obligatory duties to their Creator, just as there is a big Church edifice on campus for the Christian community. Accompanied by Imam Raheem , I visited the corridor of a class where the Muslim Community prays only Jumat service on Fridays. I was so ashame of myself that my school, one of the oldest in Nigeria with a huge population of Muslim students and teachers do not have a place of worship at Adeola Odutola College. Still, the Imam said the 9th lecture was to raise funds to buy a rechargeable public address system of not more than N500,000 as his voice no longer audible to the large congregation during the sermon (khutbat) every Friday. I promised to assist them to raise funds for that purpose, hence my appeal here to all my friends to at least donate a minimum of N1000 to the purse of the Muslim Community (
Adeola Odutola College Muslim Community
FCMB
9373389012.) And i assure you that it will be accounted for and judiciously used for what it was meant for. May Allah bless you all as you contribute to this initiative.

Permit me here to appreciate the Principals, the Vice Principals of both the Senior and Junior schools, though, they were Christians but very supportive to the Muslim Community and took active part in the Ramadan lecture programme with mobilisation and attendance.
Also, representative of the Grand Chief Imam of Ijebu-Ode was in attendance, Sheikh Abdulwahab Oleolo, the Eketa Adinni of Ijebuland as well as the Guest Lecturer, Ustaz Ibrahim Abdullahi, who delivered a wonderful lecture not forgeting the chairperson of AOC Muslim Community, Alhaja Bilkis Arowosafe and my brother and mate, Engr. Abdulazeez Wale Balogun, who gave me necessary support throughout my stay in Ijebu-Ode for the lecture, may Allah reward all of you abundantly and may AOC, Up School, continue to grow from strength to strength. Aamin.


Abdur-Rahman Balogun, President, Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) contribute this piece from Abuja. 24-03-2024.

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