REPORT OF BIFOBA’S ACTIVITIES (YEAR 2013) FROM THE GLOBAL PRESIDENT
Fellow Old Boys
All too quickly, my 2-year tenor as Global President, as well as for my Colleagues in BIFOBA Nigeria’s Executive Council (Exco) ended on Sunday, 8th December, 2013. Time, people say (literally) flies when you have so much to do. On the said day, Exco members presented our Score cards to BIFOBA members in Nigeria and it is gratifying that members felt we had done well and consequently returned (virtually all) un-opposed for another Term of 2 years each.
We consider the return of all Exco members, a vote of confidence in the Team and a strong belief in our vision for the growth of BIFOBA & the development of our Alma Mater. We do assure that we would uphold the confidence reposed in us and strive to leave BIFOBA and BFHS much better than we met them.
BIRCH FREEMAN HIGH SCHOOL (BFHS)
Consistent with BIFOBA’s Constitution, the development of BFHS remains a major focus of the current Exco. All Exco’s efforts are therefore directed towards the School’s development through consistent pressure on the Lagos State Government. I am therefore glad to inform as follows:
- SCHOOL’S DE-FLOODING
(a) The De-flooding of BFHS by the Ministry of Environment through construction of drainages around the School to prevent in-flow of flood water from the neighbourhood has been completed.
(b) Construction of a Drainage Gutter from the Mushin end to the Surulere End of the School to effectively drain rain-water from the School into the Canal was also completed.
(c) Sand-filling of the School premises to raise its level above the road to prevent inflow of water to the School’s premises is on-going.
The effect of all of the above I am glad to report, is that our School is No longer flooded when it rains. The “jinx” of a flooded Birch Freeman that has persisted since the School’s inception has finally been removed.
Related to the above and in line with Exco’s recommendation, the Old Administrative/ Classroom Block was finally pulled down to give way for the School’s future development. The building became un-viable considering the new (high) level of the School premises occasioned by the sand-filling and more importantly it was considered unsafe because of its observed Foundation cracks. The demolition also gave way for the Drainage-Gutter constructed in the School premises.
With the Block’s demolition, a better and more efficient planning of the School’s land area consistent with Exco’s initiated new Master Plan for BFHS can now take place.
- SCHOOL’S FENCING
Top level discussions regarding fencing of the School are on-going. Exco recommended fencing the undisputed portion of the School land however, Lagos State’s Ministry of Education Officials think otherwise. Feelers reaching Exco is that some kind of amicable settlement/arrangement is being pursued by Government to enable BFHS acquire the disputed portion.
Exco is constantly in touch with Ministry Officials regarding the land fencing issue and will keep Old Boys abreast of developments in this regard as they occur.
- BIFOBA PROJECTS
(a) MULTI PURPOSE HALL
This Administration’s N120.0 Million Flagship Multi Purpose Hall Project finally kicked-off in November, 2013.
The Contract was signed in October, 2013 (Photographs of Signing ceremony available on BIFOBA’s Website). The Contractor, Messrs Extended Global System Ltd are currently at the Foundation construction stage (where the bulk of the job and major part of the cost is being expended given the poor soil nature of our School). The Contractor is looking at a completion period and handover date of September, 2014 given availability of funds. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, it is hoped that the Hall will be commissioned in Year 2015. Hopefully, BIFOBA Nigeria’s Year 2015 Homecoming should hold in the Multi Purpose Hall.
It is noteworthy that the Managing Director of the Contracting Company Engr. Obafemi Ojo is an Old Boy of BFHS of the 1983 Class Set.
The Hall, when completed will be the largest and the best Hall any Secondary School can boast of in Nigeria. Completion of the Hall will be a major achievement for Old Boys, Donors/Well-Wishers who have contributed one way or another towards the take-off of the Project. I implore Old Boys who are yet to contribute towards this laudable Project to do so as opportunities in the form of donation of Equipments such as Air Conditioners, Sounds & Musical Equipments, Video Recording, & Screen Equipment, Exquisite Lightings etc. still abound.
I wish to reiterate Exco’s recommendation and the consensus acceptance of the generality of Old Boys that the Hall will be made available for 3rd Party Users for token payments to enable BIFOBA generate funds to maintain the Hall itself and fund other on-going/future developmental Projects for the School; since Government alone cannot meet all the School’s needs.
(b) ENHANCEMENT OF BIFOBA WEBSITE
Upgrading and Enhancement of BIFOBA’s Website is another Project all BIFOBA Excos (Globally) are working on. The Website require modifications to reflect other aspects of what a truly modern Website should look like, aside of the Social Network type function the Website currently undertakes. It is hoped that at the end of the upgrade/enhancement process, BIFOBA will have a Website that is not-only interactive, it will be devoid of abuses that the existing Website is subjected to while portraying to the outside world (not only to BIFOBA Members) the true image of BIFOBA and BFHS that our Association will want to project.
Work on this Project from the Headquarters in Nigeria has reached an advanced stage and will be forwarded to the Chapters’ Exco for their inputs before the upgraded Website is finally adopted.
During the year, a 10-man Constitution Review Committee (CRC) comprising Old Boys from Nigeria, N.A. and U.K Chapters, headed by Barr. Kingsley Essien (1st Vice President, Nigeria) was inaugurated to review BIFOBA’s Constitution. The inauguration Ceremony which was witnessed by Old Boys world over on Skype however has not produced the expected results as Old Boys are yet to submit Memoranda for the Committee to work on. Aside of 2 Memoranda submitted from the N.A. Chapter’s CRC members, the only other Memoranda submitted was from me and form other Nigeria’s Exco members. Exco do not want to appear to foist its ideas and personal agenda on members, and have consequently given more time to the CRC to enable members submit more Memoranda. While the CRC awaits more Memoranda, Exco will continue to run the affairs of the Association using the amended Constitution until such a time when the CRC comes up with a reviewed Constitution for the Association to adopt.
- BIFOBA (HEADQUARTERS) NIGERIA
As part of efforts to continuously bring Old Boys together, BIFOBA Nigeria’s Exco introduced in 2013, the new “Thanksgiving” concept.
I am glad to inform that the Pioneer Class Sets Celebrated their Thanksgiving during BIFOBA Nigeria’s Homecoming in April, 2013 and the Programme recorded a huge success. Kudos go to 1988, 1983 and 1978 Sets who celebrated leaving BFHS 25, 30 and 35 years ago respectively. The Thanksgiving Programme/Package of the 1978 Set (“the Ambassadors”) was particularly impressive.
Given the success recorded in the Thanksgiving Programme, Exco is making the concept a permanent feature of BIFOBA Nigeria’s Homecoming annually. It is our hope that the Programme will get bigger and better over the years and more Old Boys in Diaspora will plan ahead and join their Classmates in Nigeria during their Set’s Thanksgiving Programmes.
During BIFOBA Nigeria’s Homecoming in 2013, 4 eminent Old Boys (listed below) were honoured and admitted into the prestigious BIFOBA Guild of Awardees.
|Hon. Bola Sodipo
(SA to Government on Taxation/Revenue Generation)
|Prof. Godwin Azenabor
University of Lagos
|Dr. Tobi Majoroh
|Dr. Kayode Oloruntola
|Commitment to BIFOBA
We must particularly place on record, and acknowledge the support of Hon. Bola Sodipo’s contribution towards fundraising for our Hall through huge donations from his Invited Guests who came to felicitate with him on his Award conferment and subsequent admittance to the BIFOBA Guild.
The North America Chapter continues to grow its membership’s strength as more Old Boys living in America continue to join the Chapter. The Chapter’s 2013 Annual Re-union which took place in Dallas went fairly well but not without some hitches. The hitches I am aware has been addressed. One major event of the 2013 Re-union was the change of baton in the Chapter’s Exco which Elections I oversaw as an “Observer”.
The Pioneer President and the General Secretary of the Chapter’s Exco, Messrs Femi Morgan and Folusho Adeyemi respectively, having served in those capacities for several years stepped aside for Mr. Niyi Fagbamiye and Barry Adebowale respectively. Other reshufflements took place in the Chapter’s Exco. The list of the Chapter’s new Exco members is available on the Website. It is hoped that President Fagbamiye (of a younger Set) should be able to attract younger Old Boys living in North America to join the Association and be part of the good work being done by the Chapte
I did express the Association’s gratitutde to Messrs Morgan and Adeyemi for their contributions to the development of N.A. Chapter and BIFOBA generally.
During the year, the Chapter lost one of its dedicated members & the Exco’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Igbuan Oyakhire who passed-on after a brief illness. May His soul rest in peace.
Discussions on the Chapter’s proposed Projects for the development of BFHS and BIFOBA (listed below) are still on-going.
(a) Installation of a Solar Powered Inverter for the lighting-up of certain essential service areas of the School.
(b) The provision of a broad band Wi Fi Internet Hotspot to enable access by Students of BFHS to Internet facilities to enhance their studies.
(c) Proposed stocking of the School’s Library with Books.
(d) Proposed procurement of a School Bus for use by Birch Freeman Junior School.
The above and other possible prospective projects are being considered some of which I have assurances that will be implemented this year (2014).
The U.K. Chapter led by Mr. Theo Odulami and his Colleagues did not particularly fare well in 2013 as the Exco spent a large part of the year trying to resolve internal wranglings within its Exco which almost divided the Chapter along 2 Groups resulting in the Chapter’s dismal performance and stunted growth. BIFOBA Headquarters in Nigeria has had to send in several Old Boys/Exco members from Lagos to settle one rift or the other which plagued the Chapter’s Exco.
The Chapter’s organized Dinner, planned to be the Grand Finale of their 2013 Re-union for which I was invited as the Guest of Honour (after a successful outing in the Nigerian Schools Sporting Federation Competition in London) was a complete failure, again because of internal wranglings for which I reprimanded (in plain terms) the Exco and the Chapter’s membership.
I have been assured and indications are that the Exco members have addressed whatever issues plaguing the Exco and the Chapter is proceeding normally and appropriately.
A few projects, which include provision of some Science Education materials and Sports Equipment to BFHS are being considered by the Chapter. BIFOBA Nigeria is waiting patiently for definite moves from the Chapter while assuring of Nigeria’s support whenever the Chapter is set to embark on its intended projects.
One major achievement of BIFOBA Nigeria’s Exco, (given the strategic importance of Nigeria and its large membership is the development and encouragement of Class Set meetings. This Administration has created serious awareness of BIFOBA to Old Boys which has led to a tremendous increase in Class Set meetings. The development of Class Set meetings has reached an unprecedented level with the ultimate aim of dissemination of information/ideas faster to Old Boys through their Class Sets. The receipt of feedback/ response from the Class Sets is extremely helpful to Exco in planning and managing the affairs of the Association.
The Class Sets have also become a veritable tool by Exco to reach those Old Boys who cannot attend the General meetings.
Finances of each BIFOBA Group, whether Main Body, Chapter or Set remains the exclusive preserve of the Group. To the extent that each Group accounts for its finances/expenditure in a manner satisfactory to members of the Group, BIFOBA Headquarters do not get involved with each Group’s Finances. However, where a Complaint/Petition is received in connection which any untowards activities within a Group’s finances, an appropriate Committee Constituted by BIFOBA Headquarters is deployed to investigate such cases.
All Groups are encouraged to publish summaries of their audited Finances on the Website for use by its Members.
The above, Gentlemen Old Boys is a summary of the Report of our Associations activities for 2013. Should any member require additional information or clarification on any part of the Report, please feel free to call the undersigned on +234 8034029800 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and God bless us all in 2014