Abeokuta — It is no longer news that Ogun State is not only the educational capital of Nigeria, but also the intellectual melting pot in the country.
The rare feats displayed by some outstanding teachers and learners who are of Ogun State stocks, displayed their intellectual prowess at various examinations, lent credence to the fact that, education remains one of the biggest industries and one of the greatest legacies bequeathed by the founding fathers of the state.
Premier of the defunct Western region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, once noted a connection between education and development. However, development is measured in terms of human development.
By and large, while speaking at the presentation of outstanding teachers and learners in various competitions, held on April 22, 2021, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, noted that his administration declared a state of emergency on education, immediately after he assumed office on May 29, 2019.
According to him, "it was a methodical and calculated approach to rescue the education sector from the dwindling fortunes inflicted on it by the indifference of the past.
What could have happened to the education of the state that produced the likes of Prof. Wole Soyinka, the first Nigerian and African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; Prof Thomas Adeoye Lambo, the first professor of Psychiatric medicine in Nigeria; Prof. Biyi Afonja, professor of Statistics; Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a renowned Paediatrician; Emeritus Professor Theophilus Ogunlesi, the first Professor of Medicine in Nigeria; Prof. Oyinade Olurin, the first female Professor of Medicine; Professor Anthony Asiwaju, foremost Historian? Papa Awolowo's foresight was instrumental to the making of many greats the nation has had and but for him, the likes of Chief Moshood Abiola and many in that generation whose parents were not rich would have passed this clime, like the snake passes through the rock un-noticed and probably as harmful and endangered species.
"Our approach, therefore, was multi-dimensional. We focused on infrastructural development; human capital development; provision of conducive environment, among many others to redeem the sector and restore the lost glory.
"I am happy to report that our commitments within the last one year and 11 months have continued to bring bountiful harvests. We are here today, because our learners at different levels of education did us proud in Mathematics, Sciences, JETS competitions, projects and overall best performance within two years, back to back-2020 and 2021. These are no small mean achievements from our studious students who brought us these honours by dint of their hard work, perseverance and diligence. We are celebrating awards in projects, quiz in Mathematics, basic science, basic technology, agricultural science, physics and biology. We are the best state and we have overall best students for both male and female students in JETS. We are champion! The icing on the cake is that of Miss Odunsi Faith, the global winner of Open Mathematics Tournament (GOMT). The story of the deluge of awards we are witnessing today can not be completed without the teachers and school administrators who are also champions in their own rights.
It is not a flash in the pan to have Award of Excellence in leadership and productivity won by five schools in the state; 2020 African Writer's Award; 2020 President's Teachers and School Excellence Award. I am proud of you all," declared the governor.
However, it was a day of joy that the awardees would never forget in a hurry as they went home with cash gifts, while one of them received a key to a two-bedroomed bungalow at an elaborate event tagged: 'Celebration of Ogun Laureates 2021', held at the Obas Complex, Okemosan, Abeokuta.
Mr Oladimeji Sotunde, the overall best graduating student from the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, who is an indigene of Ogun state, received the sum of N2 million and a two-bedroomed bungalow, while Miss Faith Odunsi, student of Ambassadors College, Ota, who emerged winner in the Global Open Mathematics Tournament, the Governor seized the occasion to set up an education endowment fund with a seed money of N5 million in honour of the wizkid.
Other awardees feted include Miss Fatimoh Tijani, from Abeokuta Grammar School (first position in Mathematics Olympiad); Miss Treasure Oguntade, from Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo (second position in Mathematics Olympiad); Miss Jesutofunmi Okusanya, from Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode (second position in Mathematics Olympiad); Master Akinfoluhan Akinleye, from The Ambassadors College, Ota (senior category, first position in 2020 JETS competition, and 21 others.
Ezekiel writes from Abeokuta