The bond that holds us together
At the end of primary school in 1980, the Lagos State government led by Alhaji Lateef Jakande posted students leaving the primary school system to different secondary schools across the state. The criteria used for the posting, while not explicit, appears to have been based on the zone in which each student lived.
By some stroke of fate, a bunch of us ended up at Ilamoye Grammer school, which was initially on Ilamoye Street in Ijeshatedo. However, after a few days or weeks, the school moved to Okota. On the day of the move, we carried desks on our heads, crossed the expressway, and re-assembled at the new location. The Okota site quickly became the new abode of our school, and we adapted to the long commute.
Many students had to cross the expressway each way every day, and some students died in the process. The government helped at the beginning by providing LMTS buses, but those were eventually phased out. Eventually, the government built an overhead bridge at the Cele junction. However, those of us who finished secondary school alive can be called survivors; we were the fortunate ones.
Some started with us in September 1980, while others joined us along the way. A few who started with us transferred to other schools before we graduated in 1985; nevertheless, we all graduated and went our different ways. However, we remain the pioneer students of Ilamoye Grammar School, and it remains our Alma Mater. If anyone of us has to write a detailed curriculum vitae today, Ilamoye will feature as the school we attended between 1980 and 1985.
While we all went our different ways after the WAEC/WSCE exams in 1985, fate has once more brought us together, albeit virtually. We have grown apart and gained different experiences, yet our joint experience as the first set of students at Ilamoye Grammar School remains a veritable bond that we cannot ignore. Although we no longer have to line up for the daily assembly, sing hymn 444 from the SOP or listen to the VP yell at us, we have an opportunity to write a new chapter and build on that common foundation that we share.
To all my friends and former classmates, I salute you!