Gov. Babatunde Fashola’s Golden Jubilee Speech.
Golden Jubilee Anniversary Of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos
Feb 6, 2010 – Let me start my remarks by making references to some quotations that set the tone for our event today. Someone says “Train everyone lavishly, you can’t overspend on training” and of course the holy book says “train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will not depart from it”. Obviously, the founding fathers of this great school must have been motivated by some of those timeless truths. For those who have passed through Birch Freeman High School, the tradition of excellent training, and training in excellence has always been the core value of this great School. I will always trace the foundation for whatever successes or achievements I have recorded in life to my formative period as a student in Birch Freeman High School. It is, therefore, my pleasure to welcome you all to the golden jubilee celebration of our alma mater “Birch Freeman High School” where we were nurtured in the highest standards of social responsibility and dignity of labour according to the school’s valued motto “Trained for Duty and for Thee”.
I am very happy to see in our midst, many of our “Old Boys” who have contributed immensely to the development of our Country in diverse ways, in the Academia, Government, Business & Finance, Healthcare, Armed Forces, Law Enforcement, Agriculture and in other human endeavours. What gladdens my heart most is seeing the shining faces of our “Young Boys” who are being motivated by what we have been able to do for our community and for ourselves. I am sure that this is a challenge and a tradition that they have to uphold in the future.
Oh, how time flies; just a few years ago, we were all students in this same institution imbibing the tradition and culture that has nurtured us into who and what we are today. The call to reflect and look back on the journey so far has been captured in the theme for this celebration “Trained for Duty and for Thee. How well?”. This is another opportunity for us to look inwards and think of ways by which we can add value to our community and people.”
I am happy to observe that activities slated for the week-long celebration are anchored on community service and good neighbourliness which are hallmarks of tradition in” the Birch Freeman High School.
At this period in our lives, we should reach out to the less privileged and the needy in our community and put smiles on their faces. We should look beyond the events slated for the week-long celebration and adopt a personal commitment to the theme adopted for this occasion. Let us reach out to people in our neighbourhood and assist indigent families, by sponsoring their children through school or by donating much needed school furniture to schools in our locality. We have come a long way from when we were young and impressionable students moving from one classroom to the other under the watchful tutelage of our teachers then. And I am personally gratified with the smiles of happiness and contentment dancing on the faces of those of our “Old Principals and Teachers” who have come to celebrate with us. I am sure that they must be having that sense of fulfilment we have all turned out as good ambassadors of the “Birch Freeman High School”.
I will, therefore, urge the present crop of “Young Boys” to imbibe the tradition of service and excellence for which Birch Freeman High School is noted. In fact, I will not only challenge you to emulate them but also surpass, the “achievements of your predecessors. You are the future of our Nation and it is your responsibility to keep the flag aloft.
Today, also, marks the flag-off ceremony for the next fifty years of development in the history of Birch Freeman High School and I urge all “Old Boys” present at this occasion to contribute to the development of our Alma Mater by endowing academic and non-academic awards in various subjects. By that demonstration of good sense social responsibility we shall further motivate our young students to continue in the best tradition of our School.
At this juncture I will commend the efforts of the Executive Committee of the Birch Freeman High School Old Boys Association (BIFOBA), especially Members of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee for sacrificing their time to package a week-long ceremony with events that reflect the time-honoured tradition of Birch Freeman High School. Also, I am grateful to our former Principals, Teachers and Non-Academic Staff who are present to celebrate with us. I thank you for your efforts invested in us years ago and which has contributed into what we are today.
I thank all “Old Boys” and their Family Members for finding time to partake in the events slated for the 50th Anniversary celebration of our Alma Mater. And to the “Young Boys”, I urge you to stand firm and be good ambassadors of your families and Birch Freeman High School.
I thank you all for your attention and God bless.
Eko o Ni Baje o!
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Executive Governor, Lagos state
Gov. Fashola Building Hand-over News Story
Birch Freeman High School
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.
BFHS’ Land Encroachment News Stories
“Nobody encroached on Birch Freeman school land”
LAGOS — The Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu Family in conjunction with Ewe Agbigbo Community, Idi-Oro, Agege Motor Road, Mushin, Lagos have denied any encroachment on Birch Freeman High School land/premises.
This was in reaction to Governor Babatunde Fashola’s statement last week while handing over a block of 21 classrooms to the authority of Birch Freeman High School that part of the school premises was being encroached upon.
Fashola had stated that drainage work for the school would require a recovery of every inch of land belonging to the school from squatters or occupiers.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, Secretary to Tinubu family, Mr. Tajudeen Tinubu, said there was no encroachment of any kind on the school, adding that it was the school that was encroaching on other people’s landed property and using government apparatus and officials to harass and intimidate the people without regard for equity and fairness.
He explained that it was the school that had exceeded its boundary by shifting its main gate from where it was originally constructed, thereby blocking road to Akobi Crescent and creating untold hardship for the residents in the area.
He said ordinarily, Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu became the titular customary owner under Native Law and Customs of Ewe Agbigbo Farmland within which the school land fell in 1834 by grant from Oloto Chieftaincy Family as represented by Oloto Baalo Oriagbaya who was the sixth Oloto of Oto, Lagos Mainland.
A portion of Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu Family land was acquired by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the purpose of building Birch Freeman High School in 1958 vide Government Notice No. 290 published in the Official Gazette No. 10 of 13th February 1958.
According to Tinubu family’s secretary, by the Federal Government acquisition notice No 290 dated 6th February 1958 and published in Gazette No 10 Vol 45 page 200 of February 13, 1958, the school’s land measured 4;841 acres but recently, the authority of the school put into circulation, an unsigned, undated and unregistered survey plan blowing the originally acquired size of 4.841 acres to 5.373 acres and made barefaced attempts to shift the pillars erected since 1958 in daylight from their original position in an adventurous and expansionist manner.
With Mr. Tajudeen Tinubu were the secretary of Ewe Agbigbo Community, Pastor Olatunji and other top officers. He told newsmen that the authority of the school, was deliberately misinforming Governor Raji Fashola on the situation of the school land. He added that all the structures being referred to as encroachments were all outside the demarcating boundaries of Birch Freeman High School as confirmed by a composite survey plan jointly prepared by Lagos State Survey Department as represented by one Mrs. Tejuosho and Tinubu Family’s surveyor, R.O.S Alabi in April 2009.
Mr. Tinubu added that the instrument of acquisition referred to in 1958 was registered at the lands registry Lagos as No 1 page 1 volume 7 by the Chief Land Officer on 30th day of July 958.
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Fashola Orders Demolition Of Churches, Houses Inside Birch Freeman School
No fewer than three churches and some houses that are illegally erected inside Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos, have been marked for demolition by the state government, while occupants have been served with a quit notice.
The state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave the directive on Tuesday, while presenting a new block of 21 classrooms to the school.
Fashola, who was angry to see his alma mater disfigured with illegal structures, said that the development would see the demolition of the Peace of God Mission Church building, as well as houses which had sprung up within the premises of the school.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to notify all squatters or occupiers of the land that belongs to Birth Freeman High School that the trespass ends today and your relocation must start henceforth, as I intend working with the Old Boys Association to reclaim and return back to the school every inch of land that used to belong to her.”
He said he would stop at nothing to ensure that every inch of land belonging to the school and lost to encroachers would be recovered.
According to him, the drainage work required to solve the constant flood encroachment during rainy seasons would necessitate the need to recover the land initially owned by the school.
Speaking on the new classrooms, Fashola said it was borne out of the infrastructure decay that had hit the school, which formed his character as well as the leadership and punctuality values he exhibits today.