Osinulu: Living up to 100 is my best birthday gift


Centenarian who taught Mobolaji Johnson, Rasheed Gbadamosi, Segun Osoba and many others
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Metro Editor
Teaching, the age-long noble profession is like a book, with each day a new page. Tomorrow, April Fools’ Day – April 1, 2016, former Principal of Methodist Boys High School (MBHS), Lagos and former Registrar of the University of Lagos, Revd. Samuel Adeoye Osinulu, will turn a new page. He would step into the very rare club of centenarians, as he turns 100 years old.
An appreciative student once made a solemn prayer to his teacher thus: “May our teachers’ pages be bestsellers with adventures to tell, lessons to learn and tales of good deeds to remember.”
For Osinulu, his pages have turned out to be a classic blockbuster, leaving his immutable imprints in the lives of the pupils, many of whom had gone on to become the architects of modern Nigeria.

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Among an insignificant percentage of his students who are old boys of MBHS are the first military governor of Lagos State, Brig. General Mobolaji Johnson; second military governor of Lagos, Commodore Adekunle Lawal; former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba; Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, and Senator Muniru Muse.

The centenarian is a living marvel. With no hearing aids, he listens attentively to you, repeats the questions aloud to himself, and doesn’t take a few seconds to process it before giving his succinct answers in impeccable English language.

Only a few times does he switches to Yoruba language when he needs to interject his response with some wisecracks or chant his Oriki and other folklores.

He spends his day in his living quarters, a large bedroom equipped with everything he needs to be comfortable. There are two reclining chairs, one for shop naps and the other to catch up with the world when he needs to watch television. He is fascinated by pictures and images and the reason is because his hobby as a young man was photography.

Osinulu receiving an old boy of Methodist Boys High School and former President, late Nnamdi Azikiwe during his visit to his alma mater

Osinulu receiving an old boy of Methodist Boys High School and former President, late Nnamdi Azikiwe during his visit to his alma mater

He eats very little, twice a day and mostly liquid. When The Guardian visited, he was just about to take his breakfast at about 4p.m. He spends most of his waking moments in prayers – for himself, family members, the nation and its leaders and for world peace. He ends the day by blessing each child by name, before praying for his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Life at 100, Pa Osinulu said, has been a marvelous journey. “I have enjoyed every bit of it. God has been gracious to me. My life is a gift from God. I don’t need any other special gift to mark my centenary. I have been extremely lucky to have attained all what God has plotted for me in my life’s graph. This is why I have dedicated the rest of my life for God’s service or what is referred to in Christendom as Tent-making Ministry.”

Pa Osinulu during an interview with The Guardian proved that once a teacher, you would always remain one. He had been asked if his life’s story had debunked the myth that teachers reward are in heaven by living to a ripe old age to enjoy the reward of his hard work.

In his measured response, he took the reporter back to the classroom. “Teachers getting their reward in heaven and comparing it to my longevity to mean I have gotten my reward here on earth are not totally the same thing,” he said.

“It does not mean that God is not merciful to teachers; rather the saying explains the norm, which exists till date that the employers of teachers don’t value them. However, I would be ungrateful to say I have not seen some of my rewards here with some of my students becoming heads of state, governors, permanent secretaries, ministers, etc. I have lived a fulfilled life.”

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For his wife and caregiver, Deaconess Clara Osinulu, “Baba is a great link between the past, the present and possibly the future. From his early days at Agbeni and elekuro Wesley primary schools of the Methodist Church, to getting a scholarship to study at King’s College and getting admitted to the University College, Ibadan, now University of Ibadan (UI) to study Classics, it has been God’s grace combined with intelligence, diligence and hard work.”

Remembering their growing up years, children of Osinulu are grateful to their father for the discipline he instilled in them. “In those days, we thought you were too strict; we were not allowed to read publications like the Lagos Weekend or play Ludo on Sundays. But now that we are parents and grandparents, we know better, that daddy wanted the best for us, which was why he shielded us from the outside world,” the eldest son said.

Former Ogun State governor and student of MBHS when Baba was the school principal, Chief Olusegun Osoba, in a congratulation letter wrote: “Papa, I am grateful for your life and the knowledge and discipline you imparted in us your children during our student days at the Methodist Boys High School when you were our father, guardian and principal all rolled into one. The training you have kindly given us during our formative stage in those days have greatly influenced us and prepared us for the challenging tasks we later faced in life.

“It is to the glory of God and to your eternal satisfaction that because we have drunk from your fountain of knowledge, most of us have today become eminent Nigerians, who hold responsible positions. I am happy that you are alive to witness the goodness and upward movement of we your children. On this historic occasion, it is my prayer that you live long in good health to reap abundantly the fruit of your labour.”

As a foundation student of the University of Ibadan in 1948, his peers fondly remember him as the ‘Flying President’ of the Students’ Union. Among his contemporaries were Ambassadors Joe Iyalla, Olujinmi Jolaoso, Bola Ige, and Samuel Edgal.

To many of his students, the will remember their former principal tomorrow for his fatherly care and unmatched discipline. As the celebrant would be treated to a lavish narration of his rich legacies, his high spirit would no doubt be enamored by the inner euphoria derived from the guiding principle of the Methodist Boys old school’s motto in Latin: “Non Sibi Sed Aliis” which translates to ‘Not for them, but for others.’

 

Osinulu: living up to 100 is my best birthday gift

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MIT Students Engage Nigerian Kids With Robotics

By Tope Templer Olaiya

It’s a changing world; from chanting ‘Who is in the garden’ to ‘Bojuboju, o loro bo’ to playing ludo game, snake and ladder and recently computer games and play stations, today’s kids are now learning to have fun and outsmart each other with robots.
This much was put to test last weekend at the Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA) grand finale, after 45 secondary school kids had spent five weeks in the summer academy at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja.
The programme, which is in its second year is being taught by five instructors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and three teaching assistants from Columbia University and the University of Ibadan.
Robotics, a branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots is a combination of hard science, mathematics, computer programming, and mechanical engineering, among others.
Students, representing 14 different states across Nigeria participated in the programme, which organizers say was aimed at teaching kids how to think creatively and apply theoretical knowledge to practical life situations. At the grand finale, the students competed against one another in groups of three to demonstrate the skills they had acquired during the programme.
This was witnessed by representatives of the programme sponsors, which included Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isa, chairman, Katchey Company Limited; Mrs. Kate Isa, CEO, Katchey Company Limited; Akeeb Akinola, Regional IM&T Manager, Shell Upstream Africa; and Enyioma Anaba, Head of Marketing, Interswitch.

Exposure Robotics Academy class of 2013 at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos

Exposure Robotics Academy class of 2013 at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos

The theme of the contest was Robotics Assisting Surgery and the winning team, Team Dbig, comprising Madukwe Chidozie, SS 2 student of Government College, Ughelli; Onyeahialam Gregory, SS 3 student of Kings College, Lagos; and Bio-Ibogomo Ebi, SS 3 student of New Total Child Academy, Bayelsa, used their robots to demonstrate how nano technology can be used carry out bone transplant, by sending nano robots into the body of human beings to perform the surgery.
For Obinna Okwodu, president of XRA and a student at MIT, it was pure joy for him watching some of the kids grow from never having used a computer to writing intelligent codes in the space of five weeks and making robots do complex tasks.
“We saw the need for Nigerian students to be taught how to think critically. Much of that is not going on in our educational system, which this programme aims to achieve because robotics teaches children to solve problems on their own by thinking their way through complex situations,” he said.
Noting that not all the kids would become robotics engineer in future, Okwodu said the skills learnt, which emphasizes three important things: problem solving, creative thinking and teamwork, are qualities that will go with them through life.
“I attended Grange School for my primary education and Olashore International School, so I have pass through the educational system here and have seen the things that need to be fixed. The XRA team put heads together and decided to fill this need through the six weeks training and we are happy with the outcome.
Obinna’s verdict after the curtain fell on this year’s summer programme was that the kids in America are not smarter than Nigerians. “Our kids are smarter because this programme they have learnt in five weeks is what students use a whole year to learn, but they mastered the use of robots in five weeks.”

The robotics instructors

The robotics instructors

Beckley Emmanuella, student of Holy-child College, Ikoyi, was short of words to describe her experience. “There is just not one way to describe my experience at the programme. At first when we came, we were all wondering what it was all about and when we got introduced to coding, we were all frustrated with our first attempt at writing programs.
“Sometimes, we just run the code and the robots, which do not have emotions, just decide to do something different. We were all getting frustrated but it was part of the lessons we were being taught, especially on the way we approach problems and apply it to our everyday life. We were taught to think well and fast of ways to solve problems.
“This was completely different to the learning style we are used to, which is spending a lot of time copying notes and memorizing them few days before exams. The robots’ experience was a practical one. The robots also taught us their lessons, to keep trying and never give up, that failure is the route to success. When you fail, you keep trying at it until you succeed.”

At 50, the Jahman Anikulapo I Know

By ‘Fisayo Soyombo
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It was nearly a decade ago. I was only a 100-level student of Agriculture but I had suddenly been thrust into The Guardian’s newsroom on a two-month internship.
“This small man with big tie, I just hope you can write,” a middle-aged man addressed me smilingly on one of my first days. “I hope your writing ability is half as good as the quality of your tie. In fact, I cannot wait to read your first story.”
“It would be such a big disaster if after harassing me with all your big ties, you cannot write,” he said to me another time, wearing a wide grin.
Mr. Jahman Oladejo Anikulapo, as I soon found his name to be, was Editor of The Guardian on Sunday — the desk to which I had been deployed. (And as events eventually played out, this was the man I would later owe my media career to.) But he was more than an editor.
He not only edited your works, he called you into his office to dutifully point out your errors to you. That, I suppose, is the hallmark of a teacher. Every Friday, from his pocket, he gave all interns, male or female — whom he knew were only remunerated with a transport allowance — some money for the weekend; that’s a father. (In the end, it wasn’t the worth of the cash that mattered but the beauty and sincerity of the underlying intention.) There were times he called interns into his office to advise them on personal matters; that’s an uncle. And occasionally, he took time off his constricted work schedule to — like a friend would — exchange banters with interns and other staff.
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With a full page story and several news clippings in my file, I ended my internship two months later a very grateful boy — grateful to Jahman Anikulapo. But I never knew the extent of gratitude I would exude towards him until the following year, when the Group News Editor of the defunct Comet Newspaper denied me just four weeks in the newsroom. The Guardian had, in actual fact, approved my second internship stint, but it would not take off until another four weeks. That was too long a break for me, so I tried Comet. Its management approved the training but a defiant Group News Editor would have none of it. My offence: I was attempting to “cut corners” and enter the media through the “backdoor” because journalism was not my academic discipline. A letter of introduction from a campus press organisation made no difference, too. “Well, everyone cannot be a Jahman,” I consoled myself. “Not everyone gives a young knowledge-thirsty boy a chance at life!”
I was back again at The Guardian for my National Youth Service. That one full year under Jahman’s supervision formed the foundation of my career, as my boss was the quintessential editor. Day and night he worked and toiled, and many times I wondered if he was human or machine, if he was mortal or immortal. He read nearly every word that graced the paper, and he was the only editor in the newsroom who always literally jumped from his office to the graphics room to personally design the newspaper’s pages. He didn’t need to preach hard work to me or anyone else; he simply exemplified and embodied it.
Jahman was that editor who motivated all his staff, even in the littlest manners. One of such examples: on one of the many occasions when I passed the night inside The Guardian newsroom just to beat the deadline for submission of stories, my editor was exiting the newsroom when he sighted me at a far corner and walked up to me. It was some minutes after 11pm.
“You don’t have to sleep inside the newsroom, Soyombo,” he said, his right arm nestling on my left shoulder. “Here, have the key to my office. When you’re tired, you can go in, switch on the air conditioner and sleep on the sofa. My fridge is not locked and there are drinks in it.”
As Editor of The Guardian on Sunday — a post he willfully relinquished (just a day before his 50th birthday) after 10 years in the saddle and 26 years in the newsroom — he was loved by all standards of the word; beyond the usual workplace mutual respect or camaraderie, or subordinate sycophancy. And that was because he earned it, because he maintained a bond with his people — the lowliest of them, even. The security men could enter his office, the women at the canteen, the typists, and the lower-cadre staff. And on Saturdays, the busiest days for the Sunday desk, a visitor would think a party was ongoing, because Jahman ensured that there were drinks and chops for everyone to thaw production-day tensions.
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All these qualities helped him to raise a fairly stable editorial team. In mid-2009, some seven or eight months after the advent of the now-rested NEXT Newspapers, I asked Tope Templer Olaiya, a senior back at the University of Ibadan whom I came to know during our internship days, why he was not ditching The Guardian where he was only a stringer at the time for a better earning at NEXT.
“You see, Soyombo, I am not freaked by the rush to NEXT,” he answered calmly, assuredly. “To have Jahman Anikulapo as Editor is the best that can happen to a young man’s career. I want to continue working under his supervision, so I’m staying.” Less than two years after, Templer would go on to become one of the mainstays of the Sunday desk of The Guardian.
As Jahman was good to Templer and me, so he was to everyone he encountered. And Armsfree Ajanaku Onomo, unarguably one of the cleverest writers in The Guardian’s employ, would readily agree with this. Of his Editor, he once told me: “One can never fault Jahman on fairness. Never!”
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On and on, anyone could write on him, and even the smartest, most concise raconteur would have the trouble of his life winding down a novel on this talented and most multi-faceted consummate professional. So how do I summarise the Jahman who’s celebrating the golden jubilee of his birth as I write these words? A tireless, indefatigable hard worker who’s striven all his life to be the best there is to be; a graceful soul with a large heart for everyone around him, his subordinates especially; a boss who will not, in anyway, muffle a subordinate’s progress — one quality I find so utterly un-Nigerian; and a man who has achieved all the successes anyone anywhere in the world could ever hope to achieve, for the simple reason that through his painstaking contributions to the careers of several young people, he has succeeded in replicating and reproducing himself, in following up his own modest successes with worthy successors.
The only danger for such successors is that having worked with Jahman, they must now have to deal with the catastrophic temptation of benchmarking future bosses against his standards. Yet, there can only be very few people like Jahman. And I know so: in my still-fledgling but fatefully itinerant media career, I am yet to meet another!

Bakare Becomes First Distinction MSc Graduate Of Computing In UK

By Tope Templer Olaiya
A Nigerian, Nurudeen Bakare, has become the first Masters Degree student to graduate with distinction in Computing with e-Business Technology at the University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. He was also presented with the prestigious AGD award on last Thursday as the best overall research student in the School of Computing and Technology at the university.
Nurudeen, who hails from Belemure Compound, Isale-Ijebu in Ibadan, Oyo State, is a graduate of Computer Science from the University of Ibadan. Before the commencement of his Masters programme, Nurudeen was a business software developer with three years working experience in business computing industry in Nigeria. He has been actively involved in business software development for some top-rated firms in the country.

Nurudeen Bakare (right); Director of Studies, School of Computing and Technology, Dr. Vicky Bush; and another graduate of the School of Computing after convocation ceremony of the University of Gloucestershire, UK, which held on Thursday.


Encomiums have, however, continued to be showered on Nurudeen from various quarters on his achievement. According to the Director of Studies of the School of Computing and Technology, Dr. Vicky Bush, “Bakare was not only a committed student but he also played an important role within his course by acting as a student representative. He contributed in class, worked hard and was a pleasure to have on the course.”
Nurudeen had his primary school education at Public Day School, Elekuro, Ibadan, between 1986 and 1992. He later attended Adekile Goodwill Grammar School, Ibadan for his secondary school education between 1992 and 1998. He had a National Diploma from Federal Polytechnic Ede, Osun State in 2003, and his bachelor degree from the University of Ibadan in 2007.
In an online chat with The Guardian, Nurudeen mentioned that his role model in the computing industry is the late co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc, Steve Jobs. On his future plans, he hopes to continue to develop his career in e-business and business computing with focus on e-Banking, ERP and CRM.

UI Students Remember Slain Adepeju

By Hammed Hamzat

Kunle Adepeju


February 1, 1971 will forever remain fresh in the memories of University of Ibadan (UI) students. It was the day the supreme price was paid for unity and welfare of UI students by Adekunle Ademuyiwa Adepeju, the first student martyr gunned down by the Nigerian Police.
In acknowledgement of the incident’s importance in history, the institution’s Students’ Union executives, led by Edosa Raymond Ekhator, recently held the maiden edition of Kunle Adepeju Memorial Lecture tagged The Role of Students in Fostering National Unity and Integration.
Ekhator said Adepeju died in the struggle for better welfare services to students. His death was a shock to many, which was why over 50,000 students witnessed his burial ceremony.
Chief (Dr.) Gbolade Osinowo, who was Adepeju’s roommate, chaired the memorial lecture. He described Adekunle as a thoroughbred gentleman and a man of noble character, amiable, kind, hardworking, intelligent and God-fearing.
He said at 23, Adekunle had exhibited characteristics of leadership and his death highlighted the problems faced by Nigerian students in tertiary institutions. “What Adekunle fought for is like paradise in the minds of students today.”
The Dean of Student Affairs, Prof. A.R.A Alada, who represented the Vice Chancellor, said Adekunle represents many things to different people. He described his remembrance as a call for freedom against oppression, victimisation and injustice of students.
Alada added that in recognition of what Adekunle fought for, the Students’ Union Building (SUB) was named after him. He commended the Students’ Union executives for organising the intellectual discourse in memory of Adekunle Adepeju.
The guest lecturer, Dr. Wale Okediran, spoke on the challenges facing the nation, such as youth unemployment, avarice, corruption, weak political structure, ethnic and religious intolerance, and insecurity. To overcome these problems, Okediran recommended true democratic values for the leadership and citizens, public service reforms, and involvement of the civil societies in governance.
Chief Segun Okeowo, former National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) president, commended the university management for lifting the ban on Students’ Union activities in the premier university.
A Kunle Adepeju Students Aid fund was inaugurated to cater for indigent students and donations were received from invited dignitaries. Family members of the late Adekunle were also present at the event.